Why Safe Truckers are No Accident

Despite technological advancements, safe trucking transcends gadgets; it relies on proficient drivers and a safety-centric organizational ethos. Discover why driver training and a commitment to safety culture are paramount in reducing truck accidents.

Preliminary statistics for 2016 indicated that there was a 7-8% increase in fatalities in crashes involving trucks and buses.

It’s easy to focus on the multitude of available safety systems for commercial truck fleets. But, there is much more to safe trucking than an electronic logging device and a crash mitigation system.

The key element of a safe fleet of commercial trucks is safe truck drivers.

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Safe trucking isn’t just ELD and FCAM: good truckers must be trained and supported by motor carriers

Safe truck drivers are not an accident: they are the product of good training, and experience—and of a workplace culture emphasizing the importance of professional safety.

The trucker often takes the brunt of the responsibility for a truck crash*. But I have found that the motor carrier shares a huge part of the blame.

Safety starts at the top

A motor carrier needs to send the message throughout the company that they are committed to safety and have expectations of safety for each and every one of their drivers.

That includes:

  • A well-trained and dedicated Safety Director;
  • A safe driving program with periodic training sessions;
  • Optimizing available safety technology;
  • Regular reinforcement of law-abiding, safe driving; and
  • Respect for the safety of truckers.

Safety culture must be developed within the fleet, in all areas of operation. Because when company management shows a commitment to safety, it permeates the organization.

If the company doesn’t take any shortcuts that shortchange safety, then its drivers probably won’t either.

But dangerous motor carriers are willing to put their own drivers at risk, pushing them into speeding, or through a snowstorm or heavy rain.

Truckers get the message.

Truck Accidents-Dangerous-Advice-to-Drivers
A trucking company shared this terrible advice to truckers on their Facebook page.

Too often, safety takes a back seat to profit.

That is scary in any workplace. Trucking is especially dangerous.

To mitigate that risk, safety has to be the most important aspect of any motor carrier’s operation.

No short cuts. No excuses.

Truckers’ lives are at stake. So are ours.

* Coluccio Law uses “truck crash” instead of “truck accident“.


Here’s why.




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3 Responses

  1. Dear Mr. Coluccio,

    I have been a professional truck driver for over 40 years. In 1973, I began my career in the US Air Force as a vehicle operator. The very first training program was the, “Smith System”. Since my departure from the military in 1976, I have used those “5 Keys”, in everything I do, from working safe to driving safe.

    I recently was laid off, due to a contract termination between Ryder Logistics and our customer. While I was looking for work on the computer, I found your article, “Why Safe Truckers are No Accident”. I was so impressed in what you wrote, I wanted to say, “Thank You”.

    The trucking industry/motor carriers, only care about getting their products from point A to point B, the least expensive way. That includes cutting costs with driver compensation, equipment, maintenance, and safety. Every carrier I have worked for did not emphasize safety, it was something they had to do, not want to do. Most carriers will post and/or read quickly what is required by law, have everyone sign it, and then tell you to hurry and get going on your route/trip.

    I have recently found out, there are carriers with no dedicated safety department. I know of 3 local companies that are hiring an outsourced safety director. This practice seems extremely dangerous, when it comes to safety. A few of the drivers at one company have told me, “the safety director doesn’t know anything about heavy haul and oversized loads”. How can these drivers learn safety around their work space, when the safety director, doesn’t even understand what is required of the drivers? I have also found, when looking for a new position as a driver, the interviewer will avoided safety questions that I ask about.

    To sum it all up, Thank You again for your work and articles about the trucking industry. We need more people in the industry that really care about safety, along with improving driving courses for our younger students. They also need to learn how to drive around larger vehicles and why not to drive distracted. Distracted driving is getting to be a serious problem. I see so many drivers not paying attention to the road.

    Linda Nodland

  2. Optimizing safety technology sounds important. Developments, like vehicle deceleration warning lamps, can occur frequently in this era. Technology can move fast.

  3. Trucking safety most definitely involves many moving parts, and it’s crucial that drivers and their companies take responsibilities for their own safety. This will include staying up to date on the most recent trucking safety technology as well as truck drivers practicing safe driving techniques all of the time.

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