View Source: Jane Clark

Safety doesn’t just magically happen. To keep drivers to be safe on the road, fleets have to give them the tools they need to operate as professionals.

Here is a startling statistic: 62% of people responding to a survey from Erie Insurance said they drive while they are tired and 7% admitted to falling asleep while driving. The study also said that 72% of drivers admitted to speeding. To be clear, this was not a survey of truck drivers.

But then I saw something from AscellaHealth citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and although the information was a bit dated—that 27% of truck drivers averaged six hours or less of sleep during a 24-hour period. Full disclosure, this compares to 30% of working adults so in theory not a significantly higher percentage.  However, driving a truck is a physically taxing job—maybe less so now than in the past, but still, it is very demanding. And it also requires mental engagement and focus at all times, especially given the risky behavior of many of the other drivers with whom truckers share the road.

While there is not much you can do to change the behavior of passenger car drivers, there is much you can do to make sure your own drivers operate in a safe manner.

Of course, this starts with the way you spec your vehicles. There are a host of advanced driver assistance systems that you can choose from. This includes things like collisions mitigation systems and lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and more. Please note the words “assistance systems.” These systems do not replace the need for good driving skills, but rather serve to augment what drivers are already doing and to step in and assist drivers when needed.

If you want drivers to operate their vehicles in a safe manner, you need to make it one of your company’s core values. That means there has to be buy-in starting at the top of the organization so that resources can be deployed toward things like spec’ing safety items throughout the fleet, maintaining your trucks so they are in good operating condition, hiring drivers that are committed to safety, continually training and coaching those drivers as well as rewarding drivers who reach safety milestones.

We’ve all heard that old adage, “safety is no accident.” While that may seem a little hackneyed, the reality is that safety doesn’t just magically happen. If you want your drivers to be safe on the road, you have to give them the tools they need to operate as the professionals they are. We’ll all be better off if you do.