- Meg Ledford
Why is driver safety training important for commercial truck insurance?
Driver Safety Training: Why it's Crucial for Trucking Companies
Trucking companies have a lot of reasons to prioritize driver safety. With the current shortage of truck drivers, carriers must provide a safe work environment to attract and retain quality drivers. Prioritizing safety can make drivers feel valued and improve morale.
Compliance, Safety, Accountability
Trucking accidents can have severe consequences for drivers, carriers, and other motorists involved. Accidents can lead to increased insurance costs and bad publicity for the trucking company. Focusing on safety can also help lower scores associated with the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, which is important for securing new business. CSA scores are publicly available, and shippers may use them to evaluate companies for transportation needs.
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It's important to note that the trucking industry is not regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for regulating and overseeing commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and CDL holders.
DOT Safety Audit
Companies can expect a Department of Transportation (DOT) safety audit to evaluate their safety performance and ensure proper recordkeeping. The audit evaluates six inspection categories: general, driver, operational, vehicle, hazardous materials (HazMat), and accidents. Each category is rated satisfactory, conditional, or unsatisfactory.
A safety department within a trucking company is responsible for maintaining records for all vehicles in the fleet, knowing current FMCSA rules, developing a vehicle maintenance program, providing drivers with a copy of the current FMCSA rules, maintaining qualification and safety records for each driver, and conducting random drug and alcohol testing of drivers based on DOT regulations. In the event of a DOT audit, the safety manager is responsible for ensuring the company is compliant with all DOT and FMCSA regulations.
Prioritizing Driver Safety
Prioritizing driver safety is crucial for trucking companies to attract and retain quality drivers, avoid severe consequences of accidents, and improve their CSA scores. Maintaining a safety department, conducting regular safety training, and participating in safety classes can all help to improve safety performance and compliance.
In today's economy, finding and retaining quality truck drivers can be difficult. It is more important than ever to prioritize this task, as studies have shown that adhering to safety and operational policies is essential to avoid liability and stay out of court in the event of an accident resulting in nuclear verdicts exceeding $10 million. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that drivers are properly qualified and trained, and that all files are maintained in accordance with regulations.
Identifying Driver Issues Early On
To reduce the likelihood of accidents in the future, it is essential to identify driver issues early on. A recent study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that previous driver behavior is a strong predictor of future accidents. Certain violations were found to be particularly indicative of future crash involvement, including reckless driving, failure to use/improper signal conviction, prior crashes, failure to yield right-of-way violations, and improper or erratic lane change convictions.
Driver selection requirements
To ensure that you hire qualified and safe drivers, it is important to establish clear driver selection requirements, which can be identified using the FMCSA Driver Qualification File (DQF) and CFR 49 Part 391.11-15.
A comprehensive employment application form can help ensure that all relevant information is collected, and applicants should be screened for driving positions using the FMCSA's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. A PSP (Pre-Employment Screening Program) report can also be ordered for driver applicants to analyze their inspection and crash history.
Road testing all drivers is crucial to ensure that they can safely and effectively operate the vehicle they will be driving. Driver safety classes are widely available online and can help reduce the resources and time needed for administration and record-keeping while improving driver safety performance and saving on liability costs.
It is important to maintain clear, transparent, and well-documented company policies to show drivers that you are committed to safety and accident prevention. However, simply having policies in place is not enough. Disciplinary action should be taken when necessary, and training and coaching should be provided as needed. Adequate documentation of all measures is also crucial to protect the company in the long run and avoid costly litigation.
Accidents Do Happen
When they do, CarrierHQ wants to be the one to have you and your drivers covered. Make sure you have the best commercial truck insurance coverage for your business. At CarrierHQ we tailor each quote to your business and make sure you have the one tailored for your business.