Keeping your drivers safe on the road isn’t just essential for their health and well-being. Their safety directly impacts other motorists on the road, as well as your bottom line. The Department of Labor (DOL) singles out trucking as one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. In fact, transportation and logistics fleets have some of the highest numbers of injuries and fatalities on the job—and those numbers seem to only grow year over year. By improving the safety of your drivers, you not only ensure their protection, but you can also reduce costs associated with accidents, claim payouts, and rises in insurance premiums. The good news is that you can improve your truck drivers’ safety by creating a work culture that actively coaches, trains, and rewards the safest drivers. Here are 6 essential truck driver safety tips to keep your drivers protected on the road.
- Encourage your truckers to practice defensive driving. Drivers are encouraged to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries by anticipating potentially dangerous situations and making safe, well-informed decisions while behind the wheel. By using defensive driving techniques, drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents—so you can worry less about costly repairs, claim payouts, and insurance premiums increases.
- Develop preventative maintenance schedules. The safety of your drivers really starts with the safety of the vehicles they’re in. Trucks and tractor-trailers that aren’t up-to-date with their regular maintenance—like oil and brake pad changes—are more likely to break down on the road. Telematics devices offer real-time visibility into odometer and engine data, including fault codes.
- Ensure comprehensive pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Hand-in-hand with increasing driver safety through maintenance is using thorough vehicle inspections to ensure all trucks are safe before drivers start driving. While pre-trip and post-trip inspections are required by the DOT, not just any inspection will do. To protect the safety of your drivers, use tools that ensure all inspections are thorough and accurately documented.
- Coach drivers to avoid distractions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has identified distracted driving as the number one cause of accidents for truck drivers. Distracted driving is anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel. Distractions can range from eating lunch while driving to turning out the window to stare at a billboard. But the most common form of distracted driving is cellphone usage, in particular, texting while driving.
- Encourage proper rest and breaks. Under HOS regulations, all drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are required to take certain breaks before they can continue driving. For instance, under HOS truck driver limits, all CMV drivers must take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving and a 10 to 11 hour break before coming back on duty. Outside of taking these mandatory breaks, encourage drivers to always prioritize their safety and the safety of other motorists while on the road
- Build out coaching and rewards programs with dash cams. An important part of building a safety-first culture is incentivizing and rewarding drivers who embody good driving habits and practices. One of the easiest ways to ensure safety in your fleet is through building out coaching and rewards programs. By introducing dash cams to your fleet, you can use real footage to actually show drivers how to improve their safety on the road.
Nick Wichmanowski a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance who specializes in construction, landscaping, and the oil and petroleum industries. Comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.