The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently proposed an additional safety scoring category to acknowledge fleets whose safety programs exceed the regulatory requirements.
While I am not a proponent of all the specifics of the program, I like the idea of fleets going beyond mandated safety requirements to make sure the trucks they operate are as safe as possible. And who isn’t in favor of safe trucks!
The most obvious way to ensure that your fleet is operating as safely as possible involves a combination of regular inspections and driver engagement. By regularly inspecting the trucks in your fleet, you can find safety — and other — problems as they are beginning to develop. And you can fix them before the truck goes back on the road.
Regular inspection starts with 100 percent compliance by your drivers in their pre- and post-trip inspections. The easier you make these inspections, the more likely they are to be completed.
Technology can help you here by allowing drivers to fill out electronic inspection forms that you can design to include all the different areas you want your drivers to inspect. Having the data in an electronic form allows you to track compliance more easily and keep inspection data as part of the vehicle’s service history.
The next step to ensuring your trucks are safe (and then some) is to make sure preventive maintenance takes place on a regularly scheduled basis. Here again technology can assist you.
You can set up a system to send notifications of pending PMs and include reports that track PM compliance. It can be difficult to keep track of which trucks have been in for their needed PM service, especially if you operate out of multiple terminals and handle maintenance in-house and through outside service providers.
Having a report that tells you at-a-glance which trucks are due for PM, and which have PM service outstanding, will help with scheduling the needed service. It will also prevent trucks you don’t see at one of your terminals on a regular basis from slipping through the cracks.
Finally, the driver plays an important role when it comes to operating at levels beyond the mandated safety requirements. If your trucks are mechanically safe and sound, the rest of the safety equation is up to the person behind the wheel. Ongoing training for all drivers, and rewarding those who operate accident-free are two effective ways to reinforce the safety message.
Whether there is a new Beyond Compliance BASIC or not, operating safely should be your Number One goal. And with proper maintenance and a focus on the driver, you should be able to go beyond just being compliant to being the safest you can be.