Thorn Valley keeps you in the know on Safer Driving! This month we highlight upcoming driving safety initiatives across the nation, current driver concerns, and FMCSA news & updates. In “Ask Thorn Valley” we discuss driver awards & recognition.

New Safety Initiatives

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
State Trucking Associations are joining together to promote a simple safe driving message – “Put the Phone Down.”

Read more from Indiana State Motor Truck Association »


International Roadcheck Is May 17-19 With a Focus on Wheel Ends
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced this year’s International Roadcheck dates as May 17-19, with a focus on wheel ends. International Roadcheck is a 72-hour high-visibility, high-volume commercial motor vehicle inspection and enforcement initiative. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct North American Standard Inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers at weigh and inspection stations, on roving patrols, and at temporary inspection sites.

Read full CVSA post »


Operation Safe Driver Week Is July 10-16, With Focus on Speeding
This year’s Operation Safe Driver Week is scheduled for July 10-16. Law enforcement personnel in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will be on roadways throughout that week issuing warnings and citations to commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers. Those engaging in unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane change, drunk or drugged driving, and etc will be issued warnings and citations.

Read full CVSA post »

Driver Coercion Concern

Truckers are filing coercion complaints with the feds at a record pace
FMCSA filings against employers, shippers and others could nearly double the previous high. The latest data compiled by the federal government reveals that complaints of coercion filed by truck drivers could easily break a record in 2022. As of (April 8th), there have been close to 500 such complaints against employers, shippers and others that truck drivers have filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Consumer Complaint Database, according to data provided by the agency. If the trend for the first 14 weeks of the year holds, 2022 will see the most coercion complaints since FMCSA began formally compiling them in 2016 — and close to double the previous high of 966 filed in 2019 (see chart via link).

Read full article from »


Top 5 Survey Questions to Ask Your CDL Drivers
As any competitive CDL driver recruiting team knows, a team’s current drivers are invaluable to the business’s ongoing success. While recruiting new drivers may be one of the biggest focuses for recruiters, ensuring current drivers are satisfied and valued is critical.

Read more from Driver Reach »

FMCSA News & Updates


FMCSA Eliminates Driver Record of Violations Rule
In March 2022, FMCSA issued a final rule eliminating the requirement that drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce prepare and submit a list of their convictions for traffic violations to their employers annually (49 CFR §391.27). The rule is effective on May 9, 2022.

Read more from Driver Reach »

*Please note that it is Thorn Valley’s opinion, provided undue financial burden is not placed upon the company, that they maintain the practice of documenting the annual driver certification of violations process.


FMCSA to Allow More Flexibility for Placement of Safety Devices
In a Final Rule expected to be published to the Federal Register on March 7, 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is amending certain provisions of its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to increase the area on the interior of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) windshields where certain “vehicle safety technology” devices may be mounted. In addition, the agency has added items to the list of qualifying vehicle safety technologies.

Read more from Trucksafe Consulting »


Fraudulent and Misleading Marketing to New FMCSA Applicants
FMCSA is aware that motor carrier officials and new entrant applicants often receive confusing or misleading solicitations from service providers or third-party administrators by telephone, e-mail, text and U.S. Mail. These businesses obtain your company’s information when you submit an application or update your information with FMCSA, because your basic carrier information is publicly available.

FMCSA does not:

  • Contact Carriers by Telemarketers or “robo-call” automated telephone solicitations
  • Request credit card numbers by telephone
  • Charge a fee for downloadable forms found at

Read full FMCSA post »


DOT Increases Penalties
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced a 6.22 percent increase in civil penalties for all modes, including the highway. The increase is permitted under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act and is intended to maintain the financial motivation for DOT-regulated employers to abide by federal regulations.

Read full JJ Keller post »

Ask Thorn Valley by Tom Flaten


Q: Does Thorn Valley have any recommended Safety Awards programs?

A: Recognition for a job well done can be a strong motivator. Thorn Valley recommends promoting safe driving, and regularly recognizing safe drivers for their accomplishments as follows.

Implement a recognition (awards) program for drivers that remain accident and violation-free. This program does not need to be monetary. The most important aspect of it will be to recognize the drivers amongst their peers as having driven 12 consecutive months accident and violation-free. This can be accomplished via normal methods of internal company communications such as a newsletter, posting in the driver’s room or announcing at a safety meeting. Consider a driver of the month/year program or nominating and supporting the best driver(s) for local and state trucking associations or industry recognition programs. A little bit of recognition can go a long way when drivers know the company appreciates them and values their safety.

All motor carriers are encouraged to support their state trucking association and consider becoming a member. Industry organizations can offer compliance and safety resources such as management and driver workshops, seminars, and conferences. To locate the contact for your state trucking association, visit the American Trucking Association website at 

Consider some of the following suggestions from Ryder. I was with them for 25 years, and they had a very sound safety program. A recipient of the National Safety Council’s Green Cross of Safety Medal, Ryder was the first company in the supply chain and transportation management industry to be so recognized (2001). Here are some suggestions for driver awards and recognition from a nationally recognized leader in transportation safety.

  • The driver of the Month – framed certificate, belt buckle, eligibility for District Driver of Year.
  • District DOY – framed certificate, DOY ring, spouse bracelet or necklace, eligibility for the region and national DOY
  • National DOY – Certificate, ring, watch, spouse jewelry, trip to Miami H.Q. for the awards presentation, Caribbean cruise.
  • Annual Safe Driver Award – patterned following ATA rules. Each 12-consecutive month period of accident-free driving earns a Safe Driver pin with # years (12-month periods). If a driver has a crash, they only lose # months from the last acc-free period to the date of the crash. They then restart the current 12-month period.
  • Ryder had a similar program for techs, but they were patches instead of pins for # years injury-free. That program was based on the anniversary year.
  • Districts could create their own incentive programs too. For example, we had one where the employee won a prize on the spot (drink mug, tee-shirt, etc.) for knowing the current safety message of the day on a random knowledge check by branch service managers.  
  • Million-mile award(s) – Framed certificate for # of million miles accident-free. Usually accompanied by a company-branded gift (jacket, satchel, denim shirt, etc.)

Other company programs I’m aware of are “clean roadside inspection” awards, generally of cash or gift card value in the amount of $25 – $250 based on inspection level. I’ve seen fleets use accident-free metrics as described above and combine them with other metrics (telematics, customer service, motorist/customer compliments, etc.) at an annual company awards banquet with service awards and prizes of all types, apparel/gift from the company store or vendor site, flat-screen T.V., iPad, hunting gear, motorcycle, you name it. If the family is in attendance, the motivation factor is all the more enhanced.

Whatever awards and incentive programs are utilized, the key is to effectively communicate and promote it on a regular basis. Acceptance and usage do not automatically happen – drivers must continually be reminded the safety program is there. If not, it can, by default, grow stale. Winners and eligibility should be announced in company newsletters, on social media, in driver communications, posted in break rooms, etc. Another method I’ve seen used by some fleets is communications to the home so the driver’s family can be aware of the program and help promote safety. As they say, home is where the heart is and should be the last place the driver wants to lease and the first place they wish to return to – safely!