4 Reasons Verifiable Fleet Safety Needs to be a Top Priority

Fleet safety is one of the most important things for a trucking company to prioritize. One bad safety incident can cost thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can cause a ripple of damaging effects for years: in bad publicity, drivers turning down jobs, and overall a long recovery from the incident. Though not every accident is avoidable, most have causes that prove to be preventable. So here are 4 reasons verifiable fleet safety needs to be a top priority.

1. Mitigate Your Risk: Drivers

Your drivers are your most valuable assets. You put a lot of time and effort into hiring them, so be sure to put that same effort and time into keeping them. Driver health is one of the best ways to mitigate risk over the road. Healthy minds and bodies make for safer drivers. If you have drivers that are overly tired or stressed, they’re more likely to make mental errors that can cause safety issues. And drivers who are not trained well certainly won’t be set up to be safe and successful drivers. Think about what you can do to help support your drivers’ health and well-being. Put plans in place to start making driver health a priority. And share those plans to everyone in the company.

2. Mitigate Your Risk: Equipment

Put risk mitigation steps in place with your equipment as well to help with your overall fleet safety. Staying current with all the required service and safety checks required for your company’s equipment is especially important.

Keeping your fleet in good repair can keep your employees more engaged. The state of your equipment can have a big impact on your drivers and how attractive your company might be to new employees. Have a clear fleet maintenance policy in place.

3. Create a Culture of Fleet Safety

Who is responsible for fleet safety? Is it left up to the drivers behind the wheel? Does concern for safety come from the top of the organization down? Is everyone aware of your safety policies? If you’re not sure of these answers, one of the best things you can do at this time is get your safety policies written down. And then share them with everyone. This is the best way to get a culture of safety started. Bake safety into the foundation of the company and communicate it both internally and externally. If not, it will always fall to someone else to be responsible for fleet safety.

4. Document Emergency Procedures

As mentioned, not every incident is 100% avoidable, and it’s true that accidents will happen. Even when you take precautions, you and your drivers need to be ready to react in case of an emergency. Having solid, documented processes in place is very important when talking about overall fleet safety. Ensuring your drivers know what do to and who to contact when a problem arises can help lessen the impact of the damage and the time getting the situation resolved.

Document your processes and procedures for any type of emergency that might arise. Ensure that your drivers have quick access to clear emergency contact information and steps to take in case of an emergency.

Taking these steps to ensure you’ve got a good start to verifiable fleet safety is an important way to create a culture of safety in your company. Working to always communicate and share updates to any of these policies is something that should be built-in to decision making and change management throughout the organization. Making that everyone in the organization is responsible for safety can make your company an attractive option when hiring new drivers.

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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.

Become a Leader

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 trucking 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 trucking equipment can either help or hurt your truck drivers.

1. Safety

Safety is probably the way in which trucking 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 to 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 the 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 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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You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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fleet amenities

A great way for companies to stay competitive in today’s hiring market is to offer unique benefits and fleet amenities 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.

Upgrade your Fleet Amenities

  • Comfortable seating
  • Memory foam mattress
  • LED lighting with dimmer switches
  • Sound dampening
  • APU units
  • Refrigerators
  • Cabinets and/or built-in storage space
  • Premium audio and/or TV system, could even include a Sirius XM Radio subscription
  • Freightliner In-Cab Training (FIT) System

Before investing in these upgrades, companies should be sure to ask their drivers what matters most to them. Drivers want their voices to be heard and will share their feedback when asked. Companies can receive this feedback by sending out a survey asking drivers to rank upgrades that are most important to them. When sending out the survey, companies can explain the reasoning behind these upgrades—to help drivers be more comfortable on the road and increase their job satisfaction.

But what’s in it for the company?

Upgrading your fleet amenities can be a costly venture for organizations; however, the long-term cost savings might be worth the initial investment. When implementing some of the upgrades, especially better seating, mattresses, and refrigerators, companies see their drivers improve their health and sleep patterns.

By implementing these upgrades, companies can experience some of the following benefits:

  • Healthcare savings
  • Reduced driver turnover
  • Increased driver job satisfaction
  • Electric, heating, and cooling cost savings

When it comes time to evaluate and brainstorm how to attract and retain better drivers, consider adding fleet amenity upgrades to the list!

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook