I’ve been based in the Waikato for 2 months now and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks to all operators and suppliers who have made me feel so welcome in the region.

I’ve been trying to get around and introduce myself as much as possible, but if I haven’t got to you yet, please get in touch.

One of my first outings was to the RTA seminar in Hamilton covering some of the existing and future challenges in Health and Safety Management. Paul Chapman from NZTA gave a presentation on the current findings under ORS and there were no big surprises there. The top three offences committed by your drivers that affected your ORS:

  1. Speeding
  2. Log Book Offences
  3. Seatbelt

Over the last 10 years in this role I have learnt a few things:

  • It isn’t always the driver at fault
  • Sometime it is the driver at fault
  • A good manager can make a big difference
  • Almost all managers have good intentions, but conflicting priorities and there only being 24 hours in a day are limiting factors

Last month a customer had a young driver pull out in front of one of his trucks. The truck driver had very little chance to brake before he hit the car. The teen was shaken but got out of the car. A review of the GPS data by the CVIU showed that the truck hadn’t exceeded 88km/h all day and was travelling at 73km/h at point of impact. There were three key findings:

  • If the truck had been travelling any faster the implications for the young driver could have been much worse
  • If the truck had been travelling any faster, part of the blame for the collision could have been put against the truck driver, although it was the car that pulled into his path.
  • The driver, and the trucking company avoided further time consuming and nerve wracking investigations into their operation.

Speed

Nothing changes until you recognise that there is a problem. Every week we review GPS data for a new operator, and we find examples of chronic speeding issues in a few drivers in the fleet which the manager was not aware of.

Managers, supervisors and dispatchers create the environment which dictates how much pressure is on the driver. A stressed driver will rarely make great decisions. Putting a plan in place demonstrates respect for the people in every position in your organisation.

 Log Books

Log Book offences are so often the case of a driver doing the wrong thing (creative log book entries) for the right reason (getting a delivery made on time).

  • This is rarely an issue that the driver can change on his own.
  • We applaud loyalty and great customer service, but not when it causes fatigue and errors of judgement which is what the work time rule is designed to protect against.

Getting visibility of creative log book issues can give some initial discomfort (the extent that this is an understatement will vary by fleet). Addressing the issue as a team of drivers, dispatchers, managers and even customers can create a bond of trust and respect which is invaluable not just in preventing fatigue related issues, but in highlighting other opportunities to challenge decades old assumptions.

Just because “it’s always been done that way” doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do for your people, your business health, or your stress levels.

Think of the driver in the crash described above. How many of your drivers would get a clean bill of health for their driving speeds and log book accuracy if the poor judgement of a 3rd party stopped them in their tracks on any day?

If you are still looking for the time to get started in addressing these issues, consider getting outside help. An experienced contractor can guide you around the pitfalls and provide tried and tested tools which can save thousands of dollars and man hours.

And finally, a thought expressed by two of my customers within the last 6 weeks. “You can’t put a price on knowing you are compliant, and getting a full night’s sleep.”

 

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