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6 tips to ensure driver safety for your trucking business
Trucking fleet

6 tips to ensure driver safety for your trucking business

December 5, 2023

There are some important considerations when managing a fleet of truck drivers for a long-haul trucking company. Truck drivers are out on the road the majority of their working hours, and exposed to the risks of the road. Fleet managers can reduce those risks by ensuring their drivers are trained, supported, and have the resources they need in case of an emergency. Ensuring driver safety is not only your legal obligation but is also critical to the success of your business. 

Legal responsibilities can differ between smaller fleets and large corporate fleets, so it’s vital to understand the scope of legal responsibilities, along with the ethical considerations of overseeing a fleet of truck drivers. Small businesses may face fewer regulatory requirements, but still face the local and federal laws regarding driver qualifications, work hours, and vehicle maintenance. Corporate fleets, due to their scale, can face stricter regulations and may be subject to more complex standards, per the company’s requirements. Legal liability frameworks differ, but businesses need to stay informed about applicable laws and regulations that apply to all CDL drivers, to not only avoid legal penalties, but also ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of their employees.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – a division of the US Department of Transportation aiming to reduce crashes and fatalities in the trucking industry – lists 7 Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to organize and quantify data related to your staff’s safe driving records according to what they refer to as a “Safety Measurement System.”

These safety categories are each given numeric values and your drivers are measured in a 0-100 range (100 indicating the worst performance). This system of measuring driver safety allows the FMCSA to intercept potential problems on the road before they occur. By strictly enforcing and adhering to these rules, fleet managers can maintain utmost driver safety compliance and standards.

6 driver tips for the safety of your trucking business

Six simple and effective driver safety tips to live by as a fleet manager

1. Prioritize driver training and emergency protocol

When it comes to safety, knowledge is power. Providing comprehensive training programs for your drivers is essential. These programs should cover:

  • Fleet vehicle familiarization
  • Defensive driving techniques
  • Traffic laws and regulations
  • Safe loading and unloading procedures
  • Emergency response protocols 
  • Driver wellness

Encouraging ongoing training and periodic refresher courses will also help keep safety practices at the forefront of drivers’ minds.

2. Invest in regular vehicle maintenance

Regular vehicle maintenance is a crucial aspect of truck driver safety. Implementing a proactive maintenance schedule ensures that trucks are in optimal condition, reducing the risk of breakdowns and accidents. Make sure drivers are well-informed about any upcoming pre-trip inspections and establish a system for reporting issues before they become a problem. An inspection and reporting system that is clear and accessible to truckers can ensure proper management and operation of the vehicles.

3. Encourage healthy habits for your fleet of truck drivers

Driving for long hours can take a toll on a driver’s physical and mental well-being. Promote a healthy lifestyle by emphasizing the importance of regular exercise, a balanced diet, and enough sleep. Encourage drivers to take regular breaks to combat fatigue and stress. In 2023, in an effort to reduce fatigued driving, the FMCSA started requiring fleet managers to provide drivers with electronic logging devices (ELDs). These devices keep a record of service hours, incentivizing fleet managers and drivers to not exceed time regulations. 

Implementing policies that prohibit driving under the influence is also a must as a fleet manager. The FMCSA’s Clearhouse, a secure online database, provides employers with real-time updates on drivers in the Drug and Alcohol Program, establishing a way of tracking violations and keeping the roads safe. The Drug and Alcohol Program tests and monitors FMCSA-regulated employees in accordance with federal rules against the use of controlled substances and alcohol for CDL drivers. If a violation occurs, the driver is entered into the database and receives evaluation and treatment before being cleared to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). 

Employers are mandated to observe all employees and check in on them annually to ensure compliance with the rules. Ultimately, the FMCSA’s implementation of the Clearhouse and recent security measures, is another important step towards protecting everyone on the road and keeping drivers accountable.

4. Driver check-ins and monitoring as a fleet manager

Regularly assess the performance and behavior of your fleet of truck drivers. By providing feedback and guiding drivers on improving their driving habits, trust can be established and drivers will feel encouraged to perform better. This is a great opportunity to implement performance evaluations and incentives for good driving. And while cash incentives are common, many employees can be even more motivated by public acknowledgment and recognition of their superior work.

5. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your fleet of drivers

Maintaining open communication with your drivers is crucial for their safety. Encourage them to report any safety concerns they have or difficulties they encounter on the road immediately. Establish regular check-ins or safety meetings where drivers can share their concerns and trade best practices and advice for how to be safe on the road. This feedback loop will not only improve safety but also boost your fleet’s morale and engagement. It also can strengthen the bonds between drivers and managers, leading to a friendlier work environment.

6. Support your drivers by equipping them with the right tools

Driver fleet card use helps streamline the financial aspects of driving, allowing your drivers to cover all essential expenses while on the road. Fleet card use can prevent drivers from experiencing any added stress that comes with money management related to their work expenses, from fuel purchases to repair costs. By minimizing the need for cash transaction or personal credit card use, drivers are able to feel more confident and secure in transactions, by reducing potential risks that come with handling cash or using multiple payment methods. The benefits of using a fleet card also go beyond payments– WEX fleet cards also give your drivers access to roadside services, like towing and jump starting. This allows your drivers to focus on their job– safe and uninterrupted driving. 

WEX is a leading, global fintech solutions provider, simplifying payments and back-end business processes in the fleet management, benefits management, and corporate payments areas. To learn more, please visit the company’s About WEX page.

Apply for a fleet card today!

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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