8 Road Safety Tips for Fleet Drivers
Between average cars and class 1-5 trucks, there are a staggering 3.3 million commercial fleet vehicles in the US. All of these vehicles are driven by employees with a job to do, which often leads to reckless actions on the road and horrific accidents. In fact, there are around 388,000 fleet accidents every year, and this only accounts for those involving trucks. The majority of these potentially fatal collisions are easily avoidable with a little bit more care and awareness on the roads.
Watch the Speedometer
In 2021, speeding was responsible for more than 29% of all road accident fatalities. The total number killed was 12,330, which means around 33 people died every day because of speeding. Going above the speed limit reduces the time necessary to make decisions.
When it comes to fleet driving, speeding is even more of a problem because of external pressures to make deliveries or ensure passengers arrive on time. Regardless of the pressures, it’s always better to monitor the speedometer and stay within the legal speed limit – it’s an easy fix that saves lives.
Never Drive Fatigued
Fleet drivers are expected to work around the clock, which often means keeping irregular hours and losing out on sleep. When drivers are fatigued behind the wheel, they have slower reaction times, and some of them even fall asleep; the end result is often a life-changing accident with likely fatalities.
To avoid fatigued drivers, employers and employees need to abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations on working hours. Additionally, drivers must be more aware on the road and recognize the signs including regular yawns and heavy eyes.
According to stats gathered by the FMCSA, distracted driving accounts for 71% of all truck accidents. All it takes is a split second of diverted attention before causing a collision. For example, when fleet drivers are focused on smartphones or other dashboard tools, they’re more likely to run a stop sign.
The easiest way to avoid distracted driving is to steer clear of smartphone use. If it’s required for work, then make sure it’s hands-free; most devices can be controlled by voice these days. In urgent circumstances, pull over in a safe place to make calls or send messages.
All companies with commercial fleets must ensure vehicles are fit for purpose, which involves regular maintenance and never allowing defunct vehicles onto the road. This responsibility extends to drivers, who must conduct maintenance checks in the field including tire pressure, oil levels, lights, brake fluids, screen wash, and other relevant tasks.
When vehicles are allowed onto the road with pending maintenance issues, they can cause serious accidents that often lead to catastrophic injuries or fatalities. If a truck driver is involved in a collision caused by poor maintenance, they will likely be held liable to pay damages.
Drive Carefully in Adverse Weather
Of all auto accidents in the US, around 1,235,000 (21%) are caused by weather conditions. Although these aren’t exclusively fleet driver-related, it goes to show how chaotic the weather can be. To avoid adding to the statistics, it’s important to drive carefully through rain, snow, ice, fog, and high winds. In most cases, this involves driving slower and leaving a much larger stopping distance. When the weather becomes too volatile, it’s better to pull over and wait it out instead of continuing and increasing the risk of causing an accident.
Follow Defensive Driving Practices
Defensive driving is a common safety technique taught to fleet drivers. Essentially, it’s a set of tactics designed to keep everyone on the road safe while reducing fuel consumption – a win-win for any commercial fleet. Common strategies used by defensive drivers include:
- Active preparation for emergencies. Long journeys involve various road conditions and hazards. Carrying first aid kits, a change of clothes, torch, blanket, water, and snacks can make all the difference.
- Being aware of blind spots. Truck drivers have different blind spots, so it’s important to learn how to manage them safely to avoid sideswipe accidents.
- Slowing down in the existence of doubt. The auto-response to new hazards should be reducing speed. Being late is better than causing an accident and never making it.
- Always using signals. Tell other drivers what you’re doing by using signals – it takes a second and can save lives.
- Keeping cool, calm, and collected. Driving can be stressful, so make efforts to avoid road rage – take time out if need be.
- Adhering to the three-second rule. Leave three full seconds behind the car in front. Increase this to ten seconds when driving in rain, snow, or fog.
Wear a Seatbelt
The federal government introduced over-shoulder and lap seatbelts into the law back in 1968. Given how much time has passed, using a seatbelt should be as effortless and automatic as brushing your teeth or using deodorant. However, statistics suggest that 1 in 10 people still don’t use a seatbelt. The simple act of fastening a seatbelt reduces the chance of serious injury by around 50%.
To enforce rules around seatbelt use, fleet managers can use cabin cameras to monitor drivers. If a driver is found not wearing a seatbelt, it’s suitable grounds for disciplinary action to begin – after a three-strike system.
Never Drive Under the Influence
The stress of driving in a fleet impacts some people more than others, and many turn to alcohol or drugs to cope; even prescription drugs can be dangerous on the roads. Unfortunately, substances stay in the body and lead to impaired driving, which ends up in horrific accidents. As well as causing severe injuries, leaving a family in mourning, or losing employment, choosing to drive under the influence will come with serious criminal consequences including fines and jail time.
Fleet drivers have a legal responsibility to make sure other road users are kept safe. If every commercial driver followed the road safety tips outlined above, the number of auto accidents would decrease and there would be fewer victims walking through our doors to file compensation claims.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a fleet driver accident, visit The Law Offices of Pardy & Rodriguez at the following locations:
- Orlando – 315 Park Lake Cir., Orlando, FL 32803
- Tampa – 11700 N. 58th St., Ste. A, Temple Terrace, FL 33617
- Kissimmee – 1052 E. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34744
- Poinciana – 4663 Old Pleasant Hill Road, Poinciana, FL 34759
- Davenport – 40230 US Highway 27, Suite 140, Davenport, FL 33837
- Bradenton – 409 6th Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208
Or call now for a free consultation on (888) 522-0222.