Truck Driving & Fatalities: How to Encourage Your Drivers to be Safe

A recently released report by the Bureau of Statistics for the year 2015 shows that of the 4,836 fatal workplace accidents in that year, 745 were tractor-trailer drivers. That works out to more than fifteen percent of all work-related deaths. The report, called the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015, also indicates that truck driving is the deadliest occupation in the country.

Truck driver fatalities have risen more than 11% over the past five years. One reason for this is the sheer number of trucks on the road. There is an increasing reliance on trucks to transport the growing amount of goods that are purchased online. Another issue, many drivers are choosing to drive more hours, instead of resting, because their compensation is based on their productivity. Add to those the high turnover rate among truckers, which puts inexperienced drivers on the road and adds to the danger.

For these and many other reasons, it’s incumbent on those in the trucking industry to come up with ways of encouraging their truckers to drive safely. While admittedly being little more than a starting point, here are three recommendations that will help to mitigate the safety concerns of your trucking company:

Establish safe driving expectations from the beginning

You decide who drives for you, and it’s up to you to set the ground rules right from the start. After all, the driving habits of your team will be a reflection of your company.

Begin by requiring new hires to fully understand the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) system.
All drivers should also know what is expected of them in securing their load properly, maintenance on their truck, avoiding driver distractions, maintaining personal fitness, and the dangers of substance abuse before they make their first run.

Enforce your safety policy

Drivers who break the company’s safety rules must be disciplined. After all, these are rules, not suggestions. With today’s technology – GPS devices and tracking software – fleet managers have access to statistics on average speed, idle time, and acceleration/deceleration. In the event of an accident, the data will show who is at fault and if a penalty is required.

Give your truckers a reward for driving safely

Rather than merely punishing unsafe driving, giving awards for safe driving can motivate your team to follow your company’s safety agenda. The program can give drivers a goal to work toward and create a sense of accomplishment among them.

Your company can create its own program or follow one of the nationally recognized programs. It’s important to distinguish those drivers who have demonstrated the good driving habits that are helping to keep your organization safe and productive.

To learn more strategies for encouraging your team to drive safely, contact a CDS specialist today.

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