I read an article recently which stated that the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2000 there were over 450,000 large trucks involved in accidents. There are millions of truck drivers in the United States, which means safety training should be a top priority for the trucking industry. Considering the weight and size of large trucks, using safe driving practices can help avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident
Many drivers attend some sort of truck driving school in order to obtain their education for a CDL license. These schools or institutions provide the necessary training techniques for defensive driving. These programs also include discussion on safety routines to be completed prior to each ride such as: weight, tire pressure, safety lights, and fuel levels.

Large fleets/trucking companies offer on-going safety programs for their drivers. These companies often have their own “Safety Director” to oversee training and education. What about the small carrier or independent owner operator? Safety is just as important of an issue no matter how small or big the organization may be. Each company/driver is responsible for their practices in regards to safety and compliance issues.

For those small carriers and independent owner operators, creating a safety program for your company is very important. Should you happen to be involved in an accident and is then followed by a court case, you will want to represent your company/driver to the best of your ability. This can be done if you have a proven record of an on-going safety program. You will want to demonstrate to the court and those involved that you cared about safety within your company. Driver files should contain the necessary signed and dated articles, publications, and certificates for training completion, meeting notes, or any other forms/items showing valid proof that safety prevention was a top priority.

Today, we have many options in regards to education and training resources. In creating your own safety program, you might decide to review safety materials weekly, monthly, or quarterly. There are also many online classes/courses to fit your working schedule. You could attend a safety training seminar or read about safety prevention articles in various trucking industry publications. Maybe you could coordinate a driver startup safety group who could gather together to meet monthly in person or by phone to discuss and refresh on skills, defensive driving techniques, and safe maneuvering practices.

Safety prevention should be important to each of us. As professionals in the trucking industry, we can take the necessary steps to create a safety program for our company so that we’re knowledgeable and prepared to handle safety issues should they arise.

Comments (4)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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Driver training programs by motor carriers is not unlike pre-trip truck inspections by drivers. Sound training programs providing proper training of drivers, as well as office personnel, will help contribute to getting everyone in a safety conscious state of mind. Safety training programs that promote safe driving also promote the continuation of a motor carriers satisfactory safety rating.

April 11, 2013 21:11:52 PM

I bet the skid pad could teach a person a tremendous amount. Too bad that isn't a requirement for everyone getting a CDL.

April 11, 2013 18:53:34 PM

Safety first!

April 11, 2013 13:01:24 PM

You might also want to check out your local technical college. Fox Valley Techinical College near Appleton, WI has a skid pad. I had the opportunity to use it. At the beginning of the training the trainer was able to jack knife me almost every time. By the end of the lesson, I was able to keep it straight. They have knowledge and facilities that we as individual owner ops can learn from.

April 11, 2013 9:32:41 AM