Posted: June 23, 2021
Driver safety is one of the main concerns for trucking companies today. Not only is it important for the protection of employees and other people on the road, but accidents can cost companies thousands of dollars.
To address this, passive safety programs are no longer enough. Companies can take two main steps to reduce accidents: (1) incorporating new technology into their programs to assist drivers and (2) proactively screening screen drivers to ensure that employees are committed to safety in their driving habits.
Some driver employers are leveraging new technology by incorporating advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) equipped vehicles into their fleets. A few advantages of these vehicles are that they can help drivers see in blind spots, backup and change lanes more safely, and assist in the case of an impending accident.
There are always some challenges associated with introducing new technology— in this case, ensuring that employees are adequately trained and comfortable with the new systems. While vehicles without these systems will remain on the road for many years yet, it is becoming a common practice to equip any new vehicles with ADAS safety options.
Another way technology can strengthen existing safety protocols is by adopting the use of dashboard cameras or dashcams. Dashcams can accomplish a number of objectives. In the event of an accident, video from dashcams can help exonerate drivers who were not at fault—potentially saving companies thousands of dollars in damages. Additionally, dashcams, along with GPS tracking, can help employers monitor driver behavior. Collecting and managing data on driver behavior from these systems can improve driving safety training and coaching programs by allowing these programs to target employees' specific needs. This can help correct bad driving habits and prevent accidents.
Employers can be proactive in safe driving practices by screening drivers in the hiring process and checking driver records annually. Pulling Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) records prior to hiring can help to weed out risky drivers. These records can only be obtained on drivers before hiring but include important information on a driver's history—five years of history for crashes, and three years for roadside inspections. Additionally, Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) can be ordered instantly. These reports provide information on driving infractions, accidents, and license status. Checking records and carefully screening drivers are vital in driver safety efforts, as these reports can expose any red flags.
An essential part of managing any fleet is minimizing risks. Preventing accidents can allow companies to avoid significant financial losses and keep employees and other drivers on the road safe. New technologies and driver screening reports provide new ways for companies to ensure safety and prevent accidents.