Truck driver safety: 3 simple strategies to change safety perception
Truck drivers are aware of the importance of safety. But for some of them, rarely does that translate to action. Safety teams often struggle with correcting the behaviour patterns of these few drivers - that’s because this small cohort of truck drivers threaten to bring a significant damage to their team’s performance.
Compromising safety on roads not only reflects negatively on FMCSA’s CSA scores and reputation, but also has an impact on the death dependency of a truck driver.
In this article, we will try to understand how some of the more-problematic truck drivers perceive safety, how does it affect the overall compliance. We then look at how this mindset can be changed for the better.
Let us begin with highlighting how truck drivers perceive safety.
A research by Monash University Accident Research Centre on truck driver behavior and perceptions extracted the following conclusions:
The drivers involved in crashes were less likely to check their trucks for defects regularly leading to poor truck maintenance.
Wanting to be better at keeping calm when held up on the road was a desired characteristic for most truck drivers.
About 25% drivers opted for taking pills to stay awake while on the road.
What we learn from this:
Truck drivers don’t correlate vehicle maintenance to accidents.
Drivers seem to lack the training to handle critical situations by themselves, mainly psychologically. This leads to discrepancies in accident reporting and maintenance issues.
Despite compliance with HoS policy, drivers are inclined towards bad sleeping habits which puts them under safety risk instantly.
With this background, lets look at some well-tested methods that will help inculcate a sense of safety and maintenance in truck drivers.
1. Regular Safety & Fitness training
Sending out regular updates as e-mails, text messages, social media posts regarding truck driver safety is an effective measure of engagement with drivers.
To make sure it doesn’t get bothersome, you should keep looking for innovative ways to put this idea forward. Some instances for this could be -
Safety tips - Use interactive graphics to improve retention. Sending out daily safety messages to your drivers as these graphics is one way to go about it.
Fitness tips and strategies, as unfit drivers are more at risk when it comes to safe driving and being able to handle stressful situations on the road.
News regarding safety of trucks and drivers as it keeps them updated with dangers of safety malpractices and they have good examples to compare to.
Quizzes related to safety, so that the fun element of engagement is intact, educational content is flowing, and the management knows where the problem lies.
You can always opt for other instances where safety-related content can be delivered. What must be kept in mind is, we here want to make drivers perceive how important safety is, so you must be more targeted towards how it affects their driver records, health and life.
2. Safety Rewards and Recognition
The ideas for the best awards come from drivers themselves. Set up a process to collect inputs on what rewards matter the most to them. Some ideas are:
Company-branded utility items such as mugs, company-branded jackets and hats, support pillows, high-end watches etc
Rewarding the driver’s spouse - for their patience and unwavering support. Allowing them to join them on their trip could do a lot of good for the family and in effect, your driver.
Showing gratitude to your employees does not have to be complicated. It needs to be thoughtful and genuine. The idea is to win your driver’s trust and develop a solid relationship - so that your company can be completely reliant on the driver, and vice versa.
3. Reaching out to the Maintenance department
One way to ensure nothing goes wrong, and safety and maintenance is taken seriously by truck drivers, is by reaching out to them regularly. Your safety and maintenance departments should take the responsibility of connecting with drivers on a timely basis - so that a comfortable connect is established between both the parties. This brings in a moral responsibility in the truckers towards the organization and also makes it easier for them to confide in any issues that they face during work. This ultimately leads to better compliance and safety practices.
Safety is a team effort. It does not happen in a vacuum. To promote safety, create a systematized approach that will not only get people involved, but keep them engaged in your safety system.
Noticeboard is a communication and engagement platform for truck drivers that helps companies come up with a systemized approach. With features centered on truck driver engagement, communication, reporting and compliance - Noticeboard can help you set the process to change the way safety is perceived by drivers.
Try Noticeboard today.
Oh! and do write to us about your concerns with truck driver safety, and your experiences with our recommended safety practises, only at firstname.lastname@example.org