UNITED STATES—Commercial trucking accidents can be devastating for everyone involved. In addition to causing irreparable harm to people traveling in passenger vehicles, these events can be traumatic and deadly for truckers, as well. Additionally, these can expose commercial trucking companies to costly lawsuits, diminish the overall goodwill of brands, and bring damage to business relationships.
Thus, not only are many trucking companies ramping up safety to protect private citizens on the roadways, but also to guard themselves. Following are seven strategies that these entities can use to prevent accidents and the resulting losses.
1. Create a Safe Driving Culture
Safety must be a primary focus in performance reviews and other ongoing performance assessments. Trucking companies should schedule regular meetings with their drivers to explore common hazards, current strategies for mitigating them, and ideas for improving how their operations are managed and implemented.
Given that truckers are the ones spending time on the road, they should feel empowered to offer regular feedback and make suggestions. Their hands-on experience allows for helpful insights about the tools, technologies, and general practices that will best support safe driving efforts.
2. Implement Pay Structures That Support Safe Driving
One of the biggest dangers in the commercial trucking industry is the elevated risk of having truckers fall asleep while on the road. Many receive compensation according to the number of miles they cover rather than the number of hours they drive. This can serve as an incentive to continue traveling even when they lack focus and are undeniably fatigued.
Implementing pay structures that prevent this is a crucial step towards creating a safety-oriented work culture.
3. Practice Diligence in Drug Testing
All new hires should be drug screened. Drivers already employed by a trucking company should expect both annual and random drug testing. Given the significant amount of stimulant use within the trucking industry, these measures are vital for ensuring that no one operates company vehicles while under the influence.
Another change trucking companies can make is to provide support for truckers who voluntarily seek therapy. Fear of being penalized for needing treatment and an inability to take time away from work often cause truckers to skip out on the rehab services they desperately require.
4. Invest in Cutting-Edge Technologies
Truck accident statistics show that the use of speed limiters in commercial trucks reduces the risk of both speeding and collisions. While speed limiters are currently required in certain areas, not all commercial vehicles and trucking companies must use them. Voluntarily investing in these tools is one of the most effective tactics for keeping company trucks at or below the speed limit.
The use of GPS tracking technologies instead of or along with speed limiters will allow employers to better monitor vehicles on the road.
5. Request Feedback From Other Motorists
Attaching signs to all commercial trucks that request feedback on driver performance is an efficient way for employers to know more about how truckers behave while hauling their loads. When people in passenger vehicles have a hotline that they can call to report unsafe driving, it helps identify, discourage, and penalize issues such as:
- Distracted driving
- Weaving in and out lanes
6. Perform Preventative Maintenance
When these massive and often fast-moving vehicles experience mechanical malfunctions, tire blowouts, and other problems on the road, the results can be devastating. All commercial fleets should be regularly investigated and well maintained. Truck accident investigations always include comprehensive reviews of recent maintenance records.
7. Schedule Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspections
All drivers should be instructed to delay their departures until their trucks have been duly inspected. This will allow them to identify issues like worn tires or improperly secured cargo before a disaster happens. Even with preventative maintenance regularly performed, the constant wear of heavy hauling and long-distance travels can cause seemingly minor problems to crop up overnight.
Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that neither their drivers nor vehicles are causing accidents that lead to major injuries and loss of life. The efforts made to improve safety are guaranteed to be beneficial all-around. Diligence in this area helps ensure timely deliveries, protects commercial reputations, and prevents costly lawsuits among many other things.