driver seat belt protection

Requiring driver seat belt detection isn’t just a matter of good business, it’s personal. The safety of your fleet affects so much more than the individual employees. Keep your drivers safe with a seat belt and get them home to their families. Everyone will sleep easier at night. 

While driver safety should always lead the conversation, driver seat belt detection is also good business. Whether it’s by preventing lawsuits or lost revenue, one small action can have huge benefits. Here are three reasons driver seat belt detection pays off. 

1. Increase driver safety

The drivers in your fleet are your company’s most valuable resource. Without a doubt, keeping those same drivers safe on the road should be a top priority. Seat belts are the single best way to increase truck driver safety. Study after study demonstrates this, and most truckers do buckle up. According to a 2015 CDC report on trucker driving habits, 5 in out of 6 drivers regularly click in before driving, but what about the last 16.6% percent? That’s approximately 583,000 drivers who aren’t protected by a seat belt on the road. 

We know you can’t be on the road with your drivers at all times, so consider a form of driver seat belt detection to motivate your drivers. As an employer, there are tools you can use to increase seat belt use in your fleet. Consider investing automatic safety procedures that alert your drivers by SMS if they are driving without being buckled up or prevent engine starts without seat belt usage. Looking for a lower tech option? Incentivize your employees to wear their belts. Remember, small rewards and perks or small financial bonuses can go a long way. Even something as simple as recognition or internal company awards can go along way toward encouraging safer driver behavior.

Driver safety is a top recruiting tool for bringing in quality drivers and retaining the good drivers you have.

Once you prioritize these efforts, don’t be shy in letting your drivers know!  Whether it comes through in your well-maintained fleet rigs or in the rewards you offer for good driving, you’re showing drivers you care. That goes a long way toward building a company culture where drivers want to be.

2. Reduce company liability

Everyone has heard accident horror stories. As you know, even if your drivers have met all their safety requirements and are driving cautiously, accidents happen. Unfortunately, some people may try to take advantage of a bad situation. An accident participant or lawyer may try to build a case for reckless driving based on evidence that your driver wasn’t wearing their seat belt. 

drive my way primary seat belt map

For more evidence, consider that as of June 2019, 34 states have primary seat belt laws for front seat occupants. Even if there are no other infractions, drivers can be pulled over by a law enforcement officer for not wearing a seat belt. If your company offers a ridealong program, make sure safety isn’t limited to drivers. Primary seat belt laws include passengers as well, and CMV drivers are held responsible for any other vehicle occupants. 

3. Safety affects your bottom line

While keeping your drivers safe should top the reasons to implement driver seat belt detection, there is also revenue at stake. Consider, a single truck accident costs an average of $148,279. That number skyrockets to $7,633,600 if there is a fatality. Keeping your drivers safe on the road is a good return on your investment.

In 2012, 700 truck drivers or their passengers died in accidents. 40% of the unbelted drivers could have been saved with a seat belt. Three seconds of clicking in could have saved lives and millions of dollars.

Perhaps not surprisingly, not wearing a seat belt is often just one of several unsafe practices that drivers engage in. There is a strong correlation that the drivers who do not wear a seat belt also are more likely to be found speeding and have received multiple moving violation tickets. As an employer, the best thing you can do is to build a culture of safety.

Driver safety programs often start at the managerial level. The National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence conducted a year long study with 9 carriers to improve their safety records. Top successful strategies included:

  • Develop a strong safety culture
  • Comprehensive Ongoing Driver Training programs
  • Collision Mitigation Technology such as Automatic Emergency Braking, lane departure warnings, and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems
  • Strict driver hiring criteria

For each of the companies studied, there was no single practice that brought improved safety metrics. Instead, a combination of the above practices led each fleet to experience decreases in the severity and number of crashes. This also improved their overall scores in FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

 

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equipment

Attracting and retaining the best truck drivers requires many things from trucking carriers. Carriers compete over providing better pay, greater benefits, and more home time. There may be one factor which carriers are forgetting: the quality of their equipment. Using the right equipment can increase driver satisfaction and improve your carrier’s efficiency. In fact, drivers routinely cite equipment quality as one of the top factors they look for in jobs, along with a top reason they decline jobs. If you’re keeping older model trucks around, drivers will be less likely to feel comfortable and safe in those rigs. Here are 3 ways in which your equipment can either help or hurt your truck drivers.

1. Safety

Safety is probably the way in which equipment can either help or hurt your drivers the most. Older model trucks will be more likely to be worn down and require more maintenance. They are also less likely to be enabled with the latest safety technologies to protect your drivers and freight. Safety is the biggest reason to invest in newer trucks.

All drivers want to feel safe in the equipment they are operating, but this is particularly true for newer recruits to the industry.

Investing in the late model trucks makes your carrier more attractive younger drivers and women drivers. Look for models with collision mitigation technology, which provides brake assistance and blind spot detection warnings. Another useful tool is lane departure warning systems, which warn the driver when their truck begins to move out of its lane unless a turn signal is on. Automatic braking can activate the vehicle’s brake system when sensors detect vehicles ahead in close proximity, or any other situation where a collision is imminent.

2. Comfort

You may have expected us to write about driver safety and driver efficiency only. The truth is that comfort is equally if not more important, from a driver’s perspective. Remember that truck drivers spend a majority of their time in the cab of their truck. It essentially functions as both their “office” and their “home”. Can we really blame drivers then for prioritizing comfort? Many manufacturers have taken this into account and allowed for more room in the cabin. Manufacturers are also using fleet amenities like foam mattresses, premium audio system, and extra storage drawers. Ergonomics has seen a large push in truck designs.

If you’re sitting in the same truck seat for hours and using the same controls, you’d want the interior to be as comfortable as possible.

Ergonomics allows for the seat cushions, gears, steering wheel, and driver controls to align optimally with the mechanics of the human body. This creates an intuitive and frustration-free experience for the driver, who is able to focus on the task instead of becoming distracted and uneasy. Invest in late model trucks to find these features and advertise your comfortable cabins to attract more drivers.

3. Efficiency

You may think of improved efficiency as a best reason to invest in good equipment. That’s strictly from a carrier’s perspective though. If you take a driver-centric approach, you’ll think about safety and comfort first. Nevertheless, in an industry where many drivers are paid by the mile, reducing unscheduled stops and downtime improves driver satisfaction. Late model equipment that is well maintained minimizes the chances of breakdowns and delays, increasing the efficiency of your drivers and your fleet.

You don’t want your carrier to gain the reputation of being frequently delayed because of mechanical issues.

This reputation will spread to shippers, receivers, and potential new drivers. Drivers also don’t want to stuck fixing mechanical issues on the road because the carrier didn’t take responsibility for it properly. Some manufacturers can provide drivers with a replacement truck, which puts driver back on the road faster. While this increases the chances of making an on-time delivery, it still isn’t ideal. The best solution is to upgrade your equipment to late model trucks and improve your fleet’s efficiency by minimizing maintenance issues.

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upgrading-fleet-amenitiesA great way for companies to stay competitive in today’s hiring market is to offer unique benefits that prove to drivers that they are willing to go above and beyond.

Companies can stand out from the competition by investing in fleet amenity upgrades in order to create a more comfortable, home-like atmosphere in the cab.

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