The last two years have emphasized to the masses just how critical the trucking industry is to our economy and our way of life. More than just being considered “essential workers,” truck drivers are now hailed as frontline heroes. We’ve learned the hard way that without trucks on the road, grocery store shelves are bare, construction grinds to a halt, and our gas tanks remain empty. Not only do truck drivers perform these indispensable services, they do it while working long hours, across many miles, and often under dangerous conditions. That’s why strong driver's safety policies are as essential as the men and women who drive.
Of course, drivers perform their work under government supervision and must remain compliant to the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Driver safety guidelines, loading limitations and drug testing, among other requirements, address a variety of liabilities under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Your business can exceed compliance with an elevated safety plan from Workplace Safety Screenings to safeguard you from easily avoidable catastrophes.
When it comes to driver safety, on-the-road accidents are what comes to mind most frequently. Jackknifed trucks, loss of control behind the wheel, rainy or icy roads all make for obvious trucking risks, but even uncontrollable hazards can be mitigated with thoughtful planning. A driver may have been able to obtain a CDL license, but their knowledge of truck driving and their personal level in safety ethics may vary. Thankfully new technology, such as Continuous Driver Monitoring, provides automatic feedback on a driver’s behavior from behind the wheel. Not only does this safe-driving measure protect your workers and other drivers on the road, but it can also protect you from additional threats. There is an entire segment of the legal profession that remains on stand-by, ready to pounce and jeopardize your trucking or commercial vehicle company when an accident occurs.
Approximately 130,000 accidents and more than 4,000 deaths occur from trucking accidents -Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The average verdict size for a lawsuit above $1 million involving a truck crash has increased nearly 1,000% from 2010 to 2018, rising from $2.3 million to $22.3 million.
You can further combat driver safety hazards:
- Drivers must take adequate breaks and limit their time behind the wheel in compliance with FMCSA limits.
- Drivers must undergo regular drug and alcohol protocols, including random testing, reasonable suspicion testing and return-to-duty testing.
- Make sure that all equipment is properly evaluated to meet safety regulations and are regularly maintained.
- Avoid overloading a trailer.
A fully loaded trailer can weigh approximately 80,000 pounds and takes roughly 20-40% more distance to stop after applying brakes.
Trucks and other commercial vehicles are necessary to keep daily, civilized life progressing. Trucking is still the most common way to transport goods and a highly profitable one, bringing in close to $800 billion in annual profits. While the industry, as a whole, is very profitable, most trucking companies are still small operations. Don’t let accidents, lawsuits and fatalities threaten your business. Workplace Safety Screenings offers training and safety procedures that can be tailored to suit the size and scope of your business. We can help you meet and exceed DOT compliance to make sure your employees and your profits get you where you want to go.