U.S. Labor Department statistics consistently show that truck driving remains one of the country’s most dangerous jobs and that highway accidents are the leading cause of deaths for workers across occupations. An ABC-TV story on occupational fatalities adds that the number of deaths on the job for truck drivers has decreased over the last three years, but that truck driving is the single most dangerous occupation among all lines of work.
FreeFreightSearch.com shares the transportation community’s concern over these statistics and we all hope for a safer future for the men and women who keep North America’s freight on the move. As the world’s largest of the various free online load boards out there, FreeFreightSearch.com serves more than 60,000 motor carriers, from single owner-operators to large fleets. We have written about safety issues before and will continue to do so frequently. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Make sure you or your drivers have the right qualifications and licenses for the vehicles
Depending on the weight and ratings of your vehicle, you or your drivers might be required to train for and pass the tests needed to obtain a commercial driver’s license. The type of equipment on your truck, such as tankers or trailers, will also determine the type of driver’s license that your driver needs. Make a point of doing the necessary research and assigning qualified drivers for the right equipment. If necessary, help your drivers obtain the necessary training and licenses.
Stay on top of potential bad weather on routes
Slippery roads are a major cause of highway accidents because the weather can have a significant impact on the stopping distance that a driver needs on the road. It’s everyone’s job to keep an eye out for severe weather alerts along planned routes. Fleet owners should notify drivers so that they can plan their stops and routes around bad weather conditions such as blizzards, dense for, hail, or severe wind.
Maintain regular safety training schedule
Even if you or your drivers are experienced drivers with hundreds of thousands of accident-free miles under your belt, it’s good to take part in a safety and road awareness training course on a regular basis. Every few months, drivers should review, for instance, how to anticipate what other road users will do. Remembering to check all of the safety elements on a commercial motor vehicle is something else that often requires a bit of refreshing.
Let the professionals secure the cargo
Some fleet owners have their drivers take responsibility for securing the cargo on their vehicles. This task is not always within a driver’s job description or skill levels and would be better handled by experienced technicians who know the ins and outs of everything from securing heavy duty steep tarps to safely optimizing space on a truck.
Check your tire conditions and tire pressure frequently
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) reports that that exceeding tire speed ratings, increased front axle loads, and increased uptime/equipment utilization have led to increased tire failures on commercial trucks. Minimize tire failures by examining your tires and checking the pressure before each and every trip.
Keep an eye on our blog for more safety tips for motor carriers. Register on our free load board today.