Injury rates, crash rates, and fatalities have fallen over the past two decades thanks to advanced safety technology on our trucks. However, many carriers are still noticing that their insurance rates and settlement costs have gone up. We’re not surprised and here’s why: What if we told you that adding safety technology (and sifting through additional truck safety data) can potentially increase your fleet’s liability -- especially if you don’t do anything with the data your technology generates.
Training Your Drivers
Rollover prevention, collision-mitigation, ELDs, lane-departure warning -- these are all excellent truck safery technology systems designed to improve overall safety on the road, protect drivers, and preserve loads. Having said that, drivers must still respond and react appropriately to the warning signs these systems generate in the form of onboard lights, sounds, and messages. This is where proper training comes in.
Technology: It’s Not As Obvious As You Think
As much as we’d like to give our drivers the benefit of the doubt, carriers cannot simply assume these safety technologies are intuitive or easy to use. We feel it’s a real shame when fleets skip formal training and instead allow their drivers to figure it out on their own. The whole adage of, “Isn’t it obvious how this system works?” simply doesn’t apply. Every driver comes to the table with different technology aptitude and comfort levels. Just because a driver knows how to do paper logs, doesn’t automatically mean they will be able to easily navigate and edit logs within an intimidating, computerized ELD system.
Technology: Potentially Distracting If You Don’t Expect It
Safety technologies use visual and audible cues, which are great for alerting drivers to problems, but can also be extremely distracting. A driver who is completely unaware of where a warning sound is coming from will take his or her eyes off the road to find the source -- and, this is not a good thing
Remember, these safety systems are designed to encourage drivers to be proactive. In other words, the time to learn about the rollover prevention system is not when a rollover is imminent. Drivers must be equipped with the knowledge to react accordingly if they hear or see a signal.
Ongoing, Hands-On Training
A boring manual just isn’t enough. We recommend giving your drivers hands-on experience with the new technology. Ongoing training on how to use these new technologies is absolutely imperative if you want to realize any kind of return on your expensive safety system investment. Doing so will ensure your drivers not only know how to recognize signals, but what to do when they see them.
The key takeaways here are two-fold: First of all, a driver must know what is expected of them when it comes to understanding the technology’s signals and how to take corrective action. Secondly, your managers should be able to determine what the actionable data is from your system and have a plan in place for every scenario.