For businesses operating in the trucking industry, safety has always been a vital topic. As a matter of fact, the entire industry spends over $9 billion every year for safety. This investment covers different categories related to trucking safety including driver safety training, compliance with safety regulations, safety incentive pay, as well as onboard technology.
Prioritizing safety in a trucking business can immensely reduce trucking accidents, thus saving the lives of your drivers and others too. Plus, your drivers will also be able to have a better driving experience and more productive work without the stress and worry of any danger on the road. Let’s discuss the top things you need to carry out to improve the safety of your trucking operations.
- Practice defensive driving
Alertness is a critical quality that every truck driver should have. With that in mind, ensure your drivers know what defensive driving is. Basically, this is a way to encourage your staff to always have watchful eyes and complete attention while driving, helping them dodge various road conditions and potential hazards. Train them on how to anticipate road hazards and make smart and safe decisions when driving. Some of the key techniques for defensive driving include practicing the three-second rule, watching out for blind spots, proper signaling, slowing down during sudden road changes, and controlling their emotions while behind the wheel.
- Upgrade your fleet
Upgrading your business trucks is the next essential step you should plan for. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace every truck. One way is to improve technology and features by installing additional safety equipment such as airbags, hands-free smartphone connections, and rear-view cameras. If you have nighttime operations or deliveries, it’s best to invest in LED warning lights for the increased safety of your drivers. Lastly, you can also acquire advanced navigation systems to reduce the time spend on deliveries and service, which is also a great way to boosting employee and client satisfaction.
- Schedule preventive maintenance
Apart from upgrading your fleet, proper preventive maintenance is also necessary to ensure the safety of both your drivers and vehicles. In fact, tractor-trailers and trucks that are not receiving routine maintenance such as brake pad and oil changes can potentially break down on the road. If you have an in-house team of mechanics, have them create a strong preventive maintenance for your fleet. Be sure to provide the necessary records, such as previous breakdowns, to your mechanics so that they can find out what proactive repairs or upkeep should be done for your trucks.
- Plan meetings and training
Enforcing safety in a trucking business is not easy, especially if you operate on a large fleet. To ensure your drivers are practicing the necessary safety measures, you consider conducting a monthly safety meeting to check in with your fleet and team. This is a perfect time to discuss any safety concerns your people have and review the policies of your company regarding safety. If you can, a weekly check-in is advisable for your fleet. Ask them about safety-related recommendations and observations in the past few days.
You can also conduct safety training for your drivers so that they can be updated with the latest driving regulations and improve accident prevention. The training should tackle the top factors relating to trucking accidents such as non-performance and performance, decision, and recognition.
- Invest in fleet management platform
This is a convenient and effective way to watch over your fleet when they are on the road. There are various platforms out there are feature real-time GPS tracking, which is useful for truck breakdowns and other emergency situations wherein you need to know the exact location of the vehicle. Such software also allows your management and dispatchers to record data on all your vehicle operations. Aside from GPS tracking and scheduling, fleet management platforms also feature cargo optimization, route planning, and quote management.
- Promote proper breaks and rests
In case you are not aware, the HOS regulations specify that drivers should be given certain periods of rest so that they can replenish their energy to continue the drive. Following that rules, make sure to implement mandatory breaks for your drivers. Explain the importance of rests for their safety and the other motorists too. While this will need additional time cut off from their on-duty hours, this can greatly help in limiting the at-fault incidents and injuries due to fatigue.
Prioritizing safety on your truck business can provide you with tons of advantages more than preventing accidents and injuries. It’s also an excellent way to attract new drivers and improve retention on your current team. Plus, it saves you from huge fines for violations and medical expenses that can disrupt your business cash flow and reputation.