Preliminary statistics for 2016 indicated that there was a 7-8% increase in fatalities in crashes involving trucks and buses.
It’s easy to focus on the multitude of available safety systems for commercial truck fleets. But, there is much more to safe trucking than an electronic logging device and a crash mitigation system.
The key element of a safe fleet of commercial trucks is safe truck drivers.
Safe truck drivers are not an accident: they are the product of good training, and experience—and of a workplace culture emphasizing the importance of professional safety.
The trucker often takes the brunt of the responsibility for a truck crash. But I have found that the motor carrier shares a huge part of the blame.
Safety starts at the top
A motor carrier needs to send the message throughout the company that they are committed to safety and have expectations of safety for each and every one of their drivers.
- A well-trained and dedicated Safety Director;
- A safe driving program with periodic training sessions;
- Optimizing available safety technology;
- Regular reinforcement of law-abiding, safe driving; and
- Respect for the safety of truckers.
A safety culture must be developed within the fleet, in all areas of operation. Because when company management shows a commitment to safety, it permeates the organization.
If the company doesn’t take any shortcuts that shortchange safety, then its drivers probably won’t either.
But dangerous motor carriers are willing to put their own drivers at risk, pushing them into speeding, or through a snowstorm or heavy rain. Truckers get the message.
Too often, safety takes a back seat to profit.
That is scary in any workplace. Trucking is especially dangerous. To mitigate that risk, safety has to be the most important aspect of any motor carrier’s operation.
No short cuts. No excuses.
Truckers’ lives are at stake. So are ours.