There are too many truck crashes.

The CVIU are saying that trucks are getting faster.

The crash stats show that trucks travelling too fast was the leading cause of truck crashes last year. Research and my own personal experience shows that driving closer to the limit, is more tiring and makes drivers more reactive, and more likely to make a mistake.

No-one is perfect all of the time, but if your safe driving policy is Fingers Crossed, your fleet is a ticking time bomb.

Myth Busting: 

  • Going faster gets you there sooner
    • Not really, the extra braking into corners and accelerating out of corners average out against a driver who plans ahead and keeps a more consistent speed. Over a trip of 4-5 hours, a good driver may save 10 minutes on the trip. That’s not enough to change a customer from “irate because its late” to “happy that you are on time.”
    • Solution? Ring ahead instead so they work their frustration out whilst the freight is still on the road, and have time to change their own plans to work in with the new ETA.
  • Cruise control stops your drivers speeding
    • Cruise control is dangerous round corners, and doesn’t provide braking going downhill. Even my own car picks up speed going downhill on cruise control – and that is without 40ish tonnes pushing it forward
    • Solution? Only use cruise control to maintain a safe speed on long straight flat roads, with plenty of visibility.
  • Drivers need to make time up on the road
    • Why should the driver be used as the Get Out of Jail Card for poor depot processes, or prioritising the wrong truck for loading?
    • Solution? Travel time should be seen as non negotiable. If the trip takes 4 hours, allow at least 4 hours. If you need it there sooner, plan the loading to get it away sooner.
  • Speeding is a driver problem
    • It might be the driver’s licence but it is your brand. Your customers take notice of how your trucks look on the road. The chain of responsibility makes it legally your responsibility.
    • Solution? Make it your business to find out which of your trucks are speeding and why, then do something about it.
  • Driver training doesn’t help
    • Just because a driver has a driving license, and even if he has 15 years experience, doesn’t mean that he is driving the way you like to think he is. Truck technology is constantly changing, why is it ok that a driver maintains the same driving techniques year after year?
    • Solution? Use driver training to reward drivers, or as part of the package when you put them into a new truck. Show them that you think they are worth spending money on.
  • We haven’t had a big crash for years so we must be doing something right
    • If you can’t say why, it might be your turn next

What should you be doing to make sure that speed is managed in your fleet?

  • Decide what speed you think is OK for your fleet (hint: the speed limit is 90km/h)
    • Tell all of your staff, not just your drivers, and make a sign up to put on the wall.
  • If a driver thinks he will be late, instead of speeding, what do you want him to do?
    • Add the answer to the sign too
  1. Use your GPS system to monitor the speeds your trucks are travelling at. If you don’t know how to drive the GPS system, or it takes too long, get someone else to do it, or outsource it. If you don’t know the facts about what is happening, how can you be sure that all is fine and dandy?
  2. Run a competition and compare the drivers against each other. You know how they like to compete – especially if you offer a cool prize (a cap or jacket from the local truck dealer normally goes down well)
  3. For those drivers that lose the competition what are you going to do? They need some support or training. You can’t ignore these guys – because by doing so, you are telling them that speeding is OK.
  4. Put someone in charge of ongoing monitoring. Maybe a supervisor or someone from your health and safety committee. Make it important, because it could prove to be a life safer, literally as well as professionally.

 

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