Be a team player

In safe fleets, everyone — from drivers to dispatchers — does their part

I recently gave a presentation on upcoming regulatory initiatives that could possibly affect the already shrinking driver pool. During that presentation, amongst a roomful of recruiters, it occurred to me that trucking is and always has been a team sport. Everyone involved in the industry, from the company owner, to the management staff, to the drivers, is involved in improving upon the carrier's safety record.

This meeting, dedicated to the recruitment and retention of drivers, proved that everyone on the staff does have an interest in the safety performance of its fleet. One might assume that commercial motor vehicle safety terminology and federal motor carrier safety regulations may quickly lull a non-safety crowd to sleep on a Tuesday afternoon post lunch, but this was not the case. In the now CSA world of trucking, everyone is involved in making their carrier safer.

That's right, since the introduction of CSA, the safety culture in a motor carrier has to be viewed as a “must see” in an all-hands-on-deck format. Everyone must take part, which would explain the relative attentiveness I received when providing my regulatory briefing at this meeting from carrier personnel who are not normally involved in day-to-day safety operations.

As a fleet owner or manager involved in trucking, I would encourage each of you to follow the blueprint set by these conference goers. Allow for the safety education of everyone in your fleet, as each employee can benefit from learning something new and relating it back to their job. Knowledge is power, so when a recruiter can learn more about the regulatory world as it affects their job, they may become better informed when putting drivers behind the wheel of your fleet's trucks.

The same can be said for every department that falls under your carrier's operating authority. Operations, maintenance, security or any other department can certainly gain from receiving knowledge of what the safety and regulatory landscape looks like. Today, data on a fleet's performance is more readily available through the use of the CSA program. Through the interpretation of that data, fleets and their specific operational departments can make changes that effectively lead to a more optimal performance.

With this being said, I encourage each of you to use CSA and the data it provides to challenge your staff to improve upon itself. While the industry continues its unprecedented run toward improving its safety records, allow this opportunity to be the impetus to get everyone involved in the CSA premise.

The question some may ask is, how do I start? Well, TCA is hosting its 31st Annual Safety and Security Division Meeting in Norman, OK, in May. This meeting has long been a gathering place for safety professionals. To capitalize on the safety education of its employees, it has branched out to other departments within a fleet. Attendees from human resources, maintenance, operations and recruiting have all attended this meeting in the past, so that they too can garner the valuable information delivered and improve upon the work they do back in their office.

So branch out, get others involved, and grow the safety culture within your corporate world. Not only will this benefit your business, but it will benefit the industry as whole.

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