Being involved in the trucking business as a driver means that you need to be very careful when you are behind the steering wheel and here I will give you few tips how to prevent truck accidents.
Motor vehicle accidents are ranked on the top causes of death in every country.
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The class 8 trucks are part of these accidents and when they occur the damages are not the same like a car accident. The trucks are always on the road and if you don’t know how to prevent truck accidents than the outcome can be catastrophic.
The federal rules and regulations exist to prevent truck accidents or any kind of accident. The penalties for not respecting these rules are major which can especially affect the truck company safety record. Most of the trucking companies to prevent truck accidents have special programs for their drivers.
Investing in a good training program is one way to ensure that the drivers are properly trained and educated about the federal rules and regulations that must be respected.
Safety is number one priority for every trucking company because trucking companies that have bad safety record are on the clients and freight brokers black list. Preventing truck accidents by controlling the drivers’ behavior is a good way to get a good safety record.
Why Do Accidents Happen
Before I jump on why do accidents happen I want to give you some information about the trucking industry!
- U.S. employs 8,9 million people that have jobs that are related with trucking
- In the USA and Canada in total, there are 15,5 million trucks
- 4 million trucks are Class 8 trucks
- There are 1.2 million companies in the U.S. and 97% of them operate 20 trucks or fewer and 90% operate 6 trucks or fewer
- Trucking industry in 2006 logged 432,9 bln miles in total
- Class 8 trucks made 139,3 bln miles (for compare in 2005 Class 8 trucks made 130,5 bln miles)
- 70% of total freight is transported by trucks
- Trucking industry consumes 13% of all fuel that is purchased in USA which is $130 bln per year
I am going back when I mentioned that the trucking companies are doing everything that can be done to prevent truck accidents. They are so open to new solutions if that means that they will prevent truck accidents or just low their number. Can you blame them?
Maybe at some point of doing everything to prevent trucking accidents the truck drivers are feeling suffocated and pressured and they are maybe right but however guys we all commit our life to the trucking business and when our lives and the lives of our family is on a stake than it is ok to learn few new things.
As a truck driver, you are doing everything to be focused and responsible but sometimes few things can help you increase the productivity and the driving quality.
Here is the accident statistic:
- Estimated USA traffic accident deaths in a year are 41,000 to 45,000
- Commercial vehicles are involved with 9% of those deaths
- Bikers and walkers with 15% each year
- Noncommercial vehicles are involved with 80% of those accidents
What is the cause of accidents?
- Slippery roads
- Sudden braking
- Loss of control over the truck
- Speed over the regulations
- Bad driving maneuvers
- Being careless
- Bad judgment
- To close following
Truck Driver Error:
According to FMCSA, the truck drivers of class 8 trucks in most of the cases are the cause of accidents I mean more than the factors like the performance of the vehicle, the weather or the conditions of the road.
- 18% of the truck accidents were caused by driver fatigue
- In 23% the cause was truck drivers that drive with higher speed
- 44% of the truck drivers that were part of an accident were taking prescription and over the counter drugs
Most common reasons for truck accident:
1. Hours of Service – these federal regulations are there to prevent truck accidents caused by over exhausted truck drivers. The truck driver can drive maximum 11 hours a day and he must be 10 consecutive hours of duty before he/she start another shift. Another regulation that exists to prevent truck accidents is being on duty max 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.
2. Truck Driver Fatigue – The trucking business is not for everyone because the condition of living and working are different from any other job. The truck driver lives in the truck cabin, he works from the truck cabin and he doesn’t have a normal social life. All of these factors can affect the truck driver mental health and his ability to proper rest.
If the truck driver cracks as result of these factors the truck driver will lose the ability to concentrate when he is behind the wheel which can bring bad driving performance and the capability to prevent truck accidents.
3. Drug Use – using only prescribed medications is the way to prevent truck accidents. Some truck drivers are using not prescribed medications to self-treat some health issue. Those drug medications can have side effects that can cause unsafe driving performance.
The way to prevent truck accidents is to use only medications that are prescribed by a medical professional that will not affect your ability to safely operate your truck.
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The risk of using the uncontrolled substances is high and for that reason, the federal regulations from every trucking company require frequent truck driver tests for drug and alcohol abuse.
Many of the trucking companies to prevent truck accidents from their new employees caused from drug use require medical history from their previous employers.
4. Front Brakes Depowering – Another reason for the truck accident is the front brakes depowering. Many truck drivers to minimize the tear and the wear of the brakes or the tires are not using the front brakes. Operating with trailer brakes and downshifting to stop the truck is not a way to prevent truck accidents.
5. Equipment Failure – Not often but it happens some of the truck equipment to have a manufacturing defect and if the defect occurs during the transportation sometimes there is nothing that can be done to prevent truck accidents.
Another reason for equipment failure is not proper truck maintenance. Being a responsible person with on time maintenance of the trucks is the way to prevent truck accidents.
Here is a list of 10 things how to prevent truck accidents:
1. Educate Drivers for Safety Driving
As a trucking company, you need to ensure the safety of your truck drivers, the safety of the load and do everything that is in your power to prevent truck accidents. You need to have in mind that every truck driver didn’t have the same quality of driving education or the same experience before start working for you.
Never ever think of letting your truck drivers just with the knowledge they have because some of them through the years of experience may develop some behaviors that are not by the federal rules and regulations.
Having a training program that can teach or remind the truck drivers of the proper way of transportation from the start (loading and fixing the freight properly on the trailer) to the end (safely unloading of those goods) will help you to prevent truck accidents.
These are the thing that they need to know:
Teach them to respect the speed regulations
Respecting the speed regulations is always a step of preventing truck accidents. The rules are there to be respected because their purpose it to ensure the safety on the roads. If there is a speed sign that you need to drive no more than 50 miles per hour than you should respect that.
We are witnesses of many road accidents in curve locations that were regulated with speed limits. Sometimes our eyes can trick and give us a sense that we can take the curve with higher speed but I am sure that your experience the moment when you thought that you lost control of the vehicle.