The trucking industry is not without its risks. Though driving is something that’s habitual and familiar, it’s dangerous. Hazards are everywhere, which is why it’s so important for you to be as safe as possible as a trucking company. You might have a great safety record, and we commend you for that. But it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for ways to improve and emphasize safety at your company. (Safety can also help you save money on your truck insurance.)
We’ve got six tips to help you improve safety at your trucking business.
1. Have written safety policies.
By having a set of written guidelines for safety, you can set some ground rules for keeping people safe. Your policies can cover topics like distracted driving, speeding, drinking and drug use, and seatbelt use. They should be clearly written and explained. Every driver and employee should receive a copy of the policies, and it may be a good idea to have them sign off saying that they’ve reviewed them. These policies will help you set expectations for your drivers’ behavior and hold everyone accountable to the same standards.
2. Hire your drivers carefully.
When you’re hiring, it’s important to do your due diligence to make sure that the candidates you’re considering are safe drivers. You need to have a thorough hiring process – you should run MVRs and background checks on your candidates. You may also consider getting drug and alcohol tests. (Just be sure that you do all of these things legally and properly – you don’t want to violate anyone’s rights.)
Remember, your drivers have a big impact on your truck insurance rates. It’s important to hire people who will drive safely and uphold your business’s policies.
3. Take a stand against distracted driving.
It’s important that your business has a very clear and strict policy about distracted driving – namely, that it’s not going to be tolerated. It’s crucial that all of your drivers are on the same page about putting the phones away while behind the wheel. Distracted driving took over 3,400 lives in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The National Safety Council reports that 1.6 million collisions involve cell phones or texting each year.
So. It’s extremely crucial that all of your drivers know that you are not okay with texting and driving. Both texting and talking on the phone take your attention off the road. Considering that a truck traveling 50 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field in the time it takes to read a text, it’s not difficult to see how cell phone use can drastically increase the chances of an accident. In fact, the FMCSA cell phone ban prohibits truck drivers from using handheld cell phones.
4. Conduct monthly safety meetings/training and have weekly check-ins.
Having training and continuing education for your drivers can help you enforce and emphasize safety at your business. This is a good opportunity to review your business’s policies and discuss any safety concerns that your drivers have. It’s important to keep safety fresh in everyone’s minds.
Doing weekly check-ins with your drivers gives them a chance to talk with you about how their week has been and ask any questions they have. It’s also a chance for you to ask them if they have any safety-related suggestions or observations. They’re the ones who are on the roads, so use their knowledge and experience.
5. Consider installing GPS systems in your trucks.
GPS systems allow you to check on the speed that your trucks were traveling. This can discourage your drivers from speeding. Speeding reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to a hazard or danger and increases the odds of an accident.
6. Have a pre-trip vehicle inspection procedure and a preventive maintenance program.
Making sure that your trucks are mechanically sound and running as they should is another way to improve safety at your trucking business.
Pre-trip vehicle inspections are when the drivers check their trucks themselves before they head out on a job. They’re looking for any issues that could become dangerous. If they find anything, they can report the problem and get the truck repaired or checked.
Creating a preventive maintenance program means that you take your trucks to the mechanic for inspection on a regular basis. The mechanic is basically giving the truck a check-up to see if there are any problems or if there are any needed repairs. Preventive maintenance helps you ensure that your trucks are sound and that they’re safe to drive.
The above are six ways that you can improve safety at your truck business, whether you have tow trucks, dump trucks, flatbeds, or tractor trailers. Remember, the safer your business, the less chance of having a claim. And that means you can keep your truck insurance rates down.
If you want to save money on your truck insurance, we can help. Our team of transportation experts would be happy to talk to you about your business and your insurance to see how we can help you save money on your insurance. To get started on your truck insurance quotes, fill out our online form or give us a call today.
Fuerst, Peter. “Distracted Driving Can Be Fatal.” Tow Times, Oct. 2017, pp. 20, 22.