Fatalities in semi-truck accidents make up 1 % of all deaths in motor vehicle crashes. Even if accident victims escape from death, the injuries they sustain may be severe or life-altering, sometimes even causing permanent disability.
Fleets have the biggest responsibility when it comes to preventing road accidents caused by their drivers. In this article, let’s talk about some of the most crucial fleet management strategies that can help reduce the risk of semi-truck accidents, and the potential deaths and injuries that they can cause.
1. Proper scheduling
Overfatigue is one of the most common causes of road accidents. The risk for truck drivers is greater because their job entails long periods of driving, sometimes as much as fourteen hours a day (the legal limit for consecutive driving), and not to mention the other tasks they may have to do when they arrive at their destination.
The best way fleets can combat fatigue and drowsy driving is to implement proper scheduling, wherein drivers can get adequate if not plenty of rest in between driving times. In this way, truck drivers have enough energy to stay awake and alert during the day, reducing the chances of getting drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel.
Another excellent way to prevent drowsy driving, as recommended by experienced truck accident lawyers, is to install anti-drowsy driving technology in the truck. This could be a built-in system that detects drowsiness on the driver’s face or a program that sounds alerts sporadically to keep the driver awake.
2. Driver-facing cameras
This strategy can help prevent distracted driving behaviors that can lead to accidents, such as cellphone usage, grooming, using earphones, eating, drinking alcohol, and improper use of car gadgets. Sometimes, constant reminders to avoid distracted driving are not enough, and fleets have to resort to surveillance to ensure that their drivers are following safe driving protocols.
3. Regular maintenance
Vehicle failure is among the top causes of truck accidents all around the country, right next to driver errors and cargo errors. For this reason, proper maintenance of trucks is crucial in preventing road accidents due to vehicle failure. From the engine to the braking system, fleets must ensure that operators and drivers check the vehicle from top to bottom before departure, as well as repair any problems that may arise.
Basic maintenance should also be a part of every driver’s training program. In this way, they would know what to do in case the truck breaks down in the middle of the road–at least until they can call for help or drive the truck to the nearest service station.
4. Speed monitoring
Modern fleet management systems have a feature that keeps track of the driving speed of each truck driver. This type of technology makes use of engine-connected hardware that detects when the truck is going above the speeding limit set by the fleet management. The system then automatically reports the incident on a web-based dashboard, which can help fleet managers coach drivers and identify repeat offenders for disciplinary action.
It goes without saying that speeding is another common cause of road accidents, and this feature can help fleets implement zero tolerance for overspeeding and reckless driving.
5. Training and refreshers
The law mandates every fleet to have a basic training program in place. This program must teach drivers how to drive properly, avoid traffic violations, manage their schedule, and keep themselves alert throughout the day. However, aside from the basic training program, fleets should consider implementing mandatory re-training sessions or refreshers to better instill safe driving principles in their drivers, thereby helping them avoid behaviors that can lead to road accidents.
However, a one-size-fits-all program may not be the best way to train everyone on the fleet. It is much more effective (and efficient) to train each driver according to their knowledge, experience, and ability. This strategy can be a little more time-consuming, but the benefits of individualized training can help create the best drivers that are able to make fast decisions under pressure and avoid accidents altogether.
Training sessions don’t even have to be about driving. To help drivers become more well-rounded, fleets can offer educational programs for first aid, nutrition management, exercise, stress management, smoking and drinking cessation, among many others.
Truck drivers are largely responsible for maintaining their safety and the safety of other motorists. However, fleets also play a big role in ensuring that both their trucks and drivers are well-equipped to avoid accidents on the road. With these strategies, fleet managers can significantly reduce the risk of road accidents for their fleet, as well as help improve the work life of drivers in the process.