Truck Crashes are down, but not far enough. The target needs to be zero truck crashes. This year’s stats show that in the year to Sept 2012, there were 216 truck crashes – 1/3 fewer than the previous year. This is fantastic news.

As with last year, the biggest cause of crashes is driver behaviour – speeding, inattention and failing to give way or stop. These account for 2 out of every three crashes.

Over the last couple of years, the industry has taken a hammering as the Operator Rating System has been introduced. Customers have been putting clauses into contracts along the lines of “If you fall below a 5 star rating and do not regain it when the next stats are issued, your contract will be terminated.” Ops managers all through the country have been chasing down maintenance programmes and debating the likelihood of their trucks being stopped for a road side inspection. But the biggest factor in the ORS what the driver does behind the wheel.

Your managers have acknowledged that speeding is not OK, fitted speed limiters and written a note in the company newsletter, or on the notice board.
They have either fitted handsfree kits in the trucks, or removed them entirely and put data terminals in the cab instead. They have implored the drivers to start driving as if this is 2012 and not 1973.

At the same time, the speed cameras across the country have been updated so they can now tell what is a car and what is a truck, so trucks will have their photo taken at 95 km/h, not be able to confidently blast through at 100km/h+

Yet, amongst all of this, you drivers are still blatantly speeding, using your cell phones and drifting thorough junctions. As an industry WE NEED YOU to know you are NOT “just a driver,” that the laws of the road are NOT beneath you, and that speeding tickets are NOT an occupational hazard. It is NOT OK to find a way to cheat your speed limiter, or to over run going down hills.
All of your manager’s work and all of my work is completely useless without you guys being professionals whilst you are out there doing your thing on the road.

I know that overruns down hills are incredibly fuel efficient. I know that it means your truck is not revving so hard as it works to restrain 40ish tonnes surging down the hill, and that is good for engine wear but amongst all of this, Safety is a number one priority. There are more people on the road, many of them are muppets. We need our professional drivers to show the rest of them how it is done, to lead by example, I’ve got a bunch of other text book nerdy phrases and all of them are appropriate here – are you getting the picture? We need you to be responsible.

If there was a rating system for drivers, based on the telematics in your truck, (not just on the records of the CVIU) how would you score? You know and I know that just because you have no speeding tickets, don’t meant that you don’t speed. Using a cell phone is illegal whilst driving, yet inattention (which is how cell phone use is classified) led to 1 in every three truck crashes last year, so you ‘re doing that too. You might be the king of the road ranger gearbox, able to eek out one more km/h than other drivers on any given hill, but are you actually safe behind the wheel?

So when your managers come to you with the GPS records from your truck, PLEASE accept the challenge to improve your stats. Step up and think about your driving – the rules have changed. Now it’s time that you did.

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