It’s no secret that trucking is a tough career. With long hours spent on the road, many truckers deal with ongoing issues concerning fatigue, mental health problems, loneliness, and physical ailments. This level of exhaustion and stress can often lead to truck driver errors, as can inexperience, and driving under new conditions. Truck drivers are human beings, so some number of mistakes is to be expected, but often, poor driving habits and unsafe behaviors can land not only your drivers, but your company, in seriously hot water.
Whether you have just onboarded new drivers to the team, or you are performing a yearly safety review with your seasoned drivers, it is important to go over the most common complaints made about drivers. This is an opportunity to discuss concerns raised by other drivers on the road, as well as some general reminders about safety.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol: While it should be common sense for drivers to avoid this type of behavior, it is incredibly common. This is especially true for drivers going across state lines, as every state has different drinking limits, and may have different limits specifically for those drivers operating under a CDL. Several states have also legalized marijuana making it readily available to drivers who are passing through on their trip. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Some of the effects of being impaired by marijuana that can affect driving include slowed reaction time and decision making, impaired coordination, and distorted perception.” Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is incredibly dangerous and puts everyone’s life at risk. Reminding your team about your company’s policy on this type of behavior is important to ensure that your team is making good choices while on the road.
Speeding: Speeding is one of the number one causes of accidents across all types of motor vehicles, but is especially serious for truck drivers. Speeding in a large truck is dangerous for all people on the road, especially if there are adverse driving or weather conditions. In addition, excessive speeding violations can result in a revoked CDL.
Driving While Drowsy: Long hours on the road can make even the best truck drivers unable to perform their jobs properly. Exhaustion can lead to impaired judgment, reduce reaction times, cause forgetfulness, cause drivers to lose track of blind spots, and even lead to falling asleep behind the wheel. To ensure your drivers do not drive while they are drowsy, it is vital to make sure their schedule leaves plenty of room for rest and regular breaks.
Failing to Secure a Load Properly: Whether it is the driver’s job, or someone at the dock, drivers are ultimately responsible for making sure their load is secured, whether it is inside a trailer or cargo on a flatbed. A loose load inside a trailer can result in sudden shifts in weight and can cause a driver to lose control of the truck, potentially resulting in a jackknife. Loose cargo on a flatbed can fly off into traffic and cause serious problems for other drivers including serious injuries and accidents. To avoid issues with unsecure loads, remind drivers to check their loads as part of their pre-trip inspection.
Driving Aggressively: Incidents of road rage are common amongst all drivers, especially ones who are driving tired. The last thing you want is for your team of drivers to feel so stressed out or under pressure that their driving behavior turns aggressive. It is important to discuss this with your team and provide them with resources to handle any issues they may be having on the road.
While there are other common truck driver errors, these ones come up regularly, so it is important to review them with your team and ensure everyone has the tools and resources necessary to be successful at their job and avoid any issues.
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