National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

Clark: When it comes to safety, trucking is putting its money where its mouth is

Originally appeared in Fleet Owner

Here is a number we all should be talking about—$14 billion. That is how much the trucking industry is investing in safety, according to the American Trucking Associations. ATA surveyed fleets of all sizes about their investments in safety technology and training to demonstrate how committed the industry is to it.

Of course, spec’ing safety technology is a good place for fleets to start showing that they value safety. Many fleets are recognizing the benefits of things like collision mitigation systems, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and adaptive cruise control and are equipping their trucks with these technologies as tangible proof of the importance they place on safety.

While investing in safety technologies is a good starting point, it is important to remember that these technologies are driver assistance systems. They do not replace the driver who remains a critical element in the safety equation.

That’s why fleets are also investing in driver training. Safety conscious fleets know that simply focusing on safe driving practices during the onboarding process is not enough. They are constantly reinforcing safe driving practices with their drivers. In addition, they have programs in place that reward drivers for driving safely and are publicly acknowledging drivers who reach certain safety milestones.

The survey also took into account safety-related maintenance. Just like any other component, safety-related technology has to be inspected periodically to ensure it is working as designed. But I believe all maintenance is safety related. Properly maintained trucks are less likely to break down on the road, and an on-road breakdown is inherently unsafe. Fleets that are truly focused on safety will be diligent about preventive maintenance compliance and will also make sure drivers are giving the proper attention to pre- and post-trip inspections; those are the first line of defense for spotting safety-related problems.

The trucking industry continues to demonstrate its commitment to safety, going far beyond what is required by law to keep truck drivers and other motorists as safe as possible.