T ruck-related accidents are a real risk for any truck driver. The only thing one can do is decrease the chances of an accident. Thankfully, there are a number of things tank-truck operators can do to try to prevent an incident.
The following are just some steps that can be taken.
Golden Training Program
All drivers need to participate in a good training program. Often times it is more cost efficient for company owners to create their own program than pay for outside trainers to come in and present seminars. However training is offered, it is important that truckers are kept up to speed on all federal rules and regulations. To do otherwise not only endangers the drivers, it can also earn the company a bad reputation. Logistics companies and other shippers are going to stay away from companies or individual truckers who’ve had numerous accidents.
Observing the Speed Limit
Trucking is a stressful and competitive job. Truckers who deliver goods faster than others receive the highest pay. Consequently, the temptation is always there for the driver to push the envelope on speed. In fact, studies show that about 23 percent of Class 8 truck accidents occur because the driver was going too fast. Speed decreases the driver’s ability to control the truck, so road conditions and other unforeseen events are more likely to cause an accident. Driving at the designated speed provides drivers greater control, and therefore greater safety. As tempting as it is to drive faster than the designated speed, the risks that come with that decision make it a poor choice.
Never Take Drugs Lightly
Truck drivers know they should not drive under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol. In fact, studies show this is not a rampant problem. What is problematic, however, is drivers overlooking the effects of prescription medicines on their reflexes and cognitive abilities, particularly when they are feeling fatigue. Statistics show that 44 percent of truckers who are in an accident are taking some type of prescription drug or over-the-counter medicine. Drowsiness is a common side-effect of most of these medications. That often is a factor that contributes to a trucker’s inability to retain optimal control. Drivers should be careful not to drive until the effects of their medicines have worn off.
Fatigue is No Joke
Drivers need to remember they are only human. Over time, their body will grow tired and begin to diminish their driving skills. To make their delivery on time, however, some drivers choose to ignore their body’s need for rest. This is putting their job over health and safety. Industry studies show that 13 percent of truck-related accidents involve a driver experiencing fatigue. Being in this state reduces the power of one’s reflexes. It may also cause a driver to lose sight of the road or even fall asleep. It goes without saying that once this happens, a lot of very bad outcomes are about to occur. It is critical that long-haul drivers plan their routes around highway rest stops. Today many amenities are offered by the burgeoning truck-stop industry.
The Mobile Eye Improvement
Truckers and trucking companies need to consider installing mobile eye technology in their trucks. These devices help scan what is around the truck, including other vehicles and lanes. The device sounds an alarm if the truck gets too close to other drivers or starts to drift out of its lane. Many users say the device is not intrusive and they grow accustomed to it fairly quickly.
Clearly, there are several steps truckers can take to enhance safety for themselves, their cargo and other motorists. Drivers and their supervisors should engage in an ongoing dialogue about safety issues, including the need for regular training programs and the use of any technologies that make driving safer.
Samantha Tung is a contributing writer and media specialist for Caliber Collision. She often contributes content for a variety of car and truck safety blogs.