Insurance Resources

Creating an Effective Safety Program

Be prepared with an emergency action plan

Trucking has its dangers—heavy loads, highway speeds, other drivers. That’s why an effective safety program is key. We want to help make sure your drivers and supervisors have the skills and knowledge they need to be safe on the job. We’ve come up with some suggestions for you to follow when creating your own unique safety program. It should include policies to:

  • Evaluate driver qualifications and performance
  • Recognize safe driving
  • Monitor driver safety
  • Plan schedules, loads, and routes
  • Develop a driver’s manual and safety training aids
  • Investigate accidents
  • Enforce the program

Driver qualifications and performance evaluations


The majority of preventable accidents are directly related to how drivers perform. When hiring new drivers:

  • Recruit to attract qualified applicants
  • Establish formal procedures for interviewing, testing, and screening applicants
  • Check previous employment history, driving records, and physical qualifications to meet Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

Don’t forget about your existing drivers. Be sure to regularly:

  • Check medical cards and driving records to make sure they’re current
  • Make sure a driver’s drug and alcohol use is in accordance with FMCSA regulations
  • Test to see that the driver’s skills and knowledge are up to date

Safe driving recognition

A major part of any safety program is giving recognition to safe drivers. By doing that you will:

  • Encourage continued safe driving
  • Foster professionalism
  • Be able to measure individual driver performance and skills

 

TEC Equipment - Insurance is licensed to insure trucks garaged in any of 26 states, while supporting interstate long-haul operations in all 48 continental states and Canada.

 


 

Monitoring driver safety

Monitoring driver safety is another important factor you should consider. As part of your program:

  • Make sure all drivers meet FMCSA qualification requirements
  • Establish a standard for safe driving
  • Follow through on disciplinary actions
  • Use FMCSA rules to screen applicants for drinking and substance abuse
  • Rely on immediate supervisors to observe and report unusual driver behavior
  • Be aware of changes in a driver’s work behavior, personal relationships, emotional moods, and appearance
  • Don’t tolerate drinking and substance abuse by drivers

Fatigued or ill drivers can also be a hazard to themselves and others. Teach drivers to:

  • Be careful with any kind of medication that may cause drowsiness and talk to a doctor if there are any issues
  • Not drive when drowsy
  • Follow all applicable hours-of-service regulations

Planning schedules, loads, and routes

You can help keep drivers in top condition by helping with pre-trip planning. It’ll help avoid overburdening drivers with tight schedules, unusual cargoes, and unfamiliar or hazardous routes. Be sure to also:

  • Enforce hours-of-service statutory regulations
  • Maintain records of driver duty status
  • Streamline dispatching to minimize the need for excessive on-duty schedules

Driver’s manual

A key communication link between you and your drivers is a driver’s manual. The best ones do the following:

  • Describe the safety program
  • Set the standards for safe driving
  • Include procedures for investigating, reviewing, and classifying accidents
  • Explain the company’s disciplinary procedures

Training aids

Once you’ve selected the best driving candidate, be sure to provide the training they need. It also applies to your veteran drivers. Research, select, and evaluate appropriate driver training aids. At Sentry, we are happy to provide you with what you need. You can also find training aids from national and state truck associations, safety organizations, and private sector providers and consultants.

Truck driving schools are another option. Not only will they help you recruit motivated and well-qualified drivers, they can also be a good resource for continuing driver education.

Accident investigations

Hopefully it doesn’t happen, but if an accident occurs, make sure drivers know what to do. Come up with a formal system for investigating, reviewing, and classifying accidents.


Safety accountability

For a safety program to be effective, it must be enforced. Make managers accountable for safety performance in their area of responsibility. Their results should be evaluated as part of any performance review program.

For more information about safety and safety programs, check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website at fmcsa.dot.gov.

Thanks to Sentry Insurance for the information contained on this page.


 

TEC Equipment - Insurance is a full-service commercial agency committed to giving you the highest quality trucking insurance products available. So whether you are an owner/operator or manage a full fleet, with our strong insurance carrier partnerships we offer a wide variety of trucking insurance products and services to give you the best fit for what you need.

Finding a reliable insurance agent to look out for the needs of your trucking company is essential in today’s market. By placing your trust with TEC Equipment, you can look forward to the attention and dedication our clients have enjoyed for many years. Call us today and see what 40 years in the trucking industry can do for you and your commercial insurance needs.

TEC Equipment - Insurance is licensed to insure trucks garaged in any of 26 states, while supporting interstate long-haul operations in all 48 continental states and Canada.