Putting the “people” in safety

Jan. 8, 2015
Technologies are only one approach to improving the safety culture

It’s the new year and if your household is anything like mine, you’ve probably set some home improvement goals for yourself. Many will look to renovate a bathroom or update a kitchen, or maybe even do some  landscape improvement so that they can enjoy the warmer months outdoors. Aside from money, the biggest difference makers that accompany projects like these will be tools and manpower. Now this is where the phrase “bring your friends”  comes in; the more people involved, the easier the job becomes. And wouldn’t you know it, delivering freight can often be viewed in the same manner.

Today’s trucker, much like yesteryear’s, still has one thing on his mind when starting his or her route and that is to deliver freight and deliver it safely. What makes the present-day trucker different is that today he has more tools and more people at his fingertips to ensure success.

Today’s driver is armed with  GPS devices, ELDs and cameras aplenty to make sure he is performing at the top of his game. Compliance issues? There is no replacing the ELD when it comes to that, and CSA is almost certainly a tool that will help improve upon the safety performance of many drivers. Much like any home improvement project, there seems to be a tool or a program out there that will almost sure-handedly help a driver become safer in many ways. I even recently read that there is a new tool looking to make its way onto the 2015 technological scene that blocks cell phones from receiving calls and texts messages while the vehicle is in motion, revolutionary technology for everyone on the roadways, including passenger vehicles.

Tools aren’t the only things designed to improve the safe delivery of freight. Today, more manpower has been devoted to safety. Say what you will about the negative aspects of CSA because there are many, but one of the positives is that it has redirected and developed a safety culture by its mere existence. People in maintenance, operations and most every other department within a carrier’s scope of business are focused on safety and improving CSA scores that are looked at by carriers and their customers. The phrase “bring your friends” is best exemplified here as CSA and its safety-building culture put safety on the minds of everyone, not just those who just drive the truck. 

People and tools, now more than ever before, are focused on delivering freight and doing it safely. With its Quick Strike Task Force, even the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has dedicated resources to eliminating carriers that are not putting the emphasis on safety.

In this day and age,  there will continue to be people and tools that will help your driver and carrier prosper safety-wise. If you and your fleet remain focused on emphasizing the use of technologies and personnel resources to improve safety, CSA scores and save lives, then the new year will certainly be a prosperous one for you and your carrier. 

Happy New Year and best of luck in 2015 from the Truckload Carriers Assn.

David Heller, CDS, is director of safety and policy for the Truckload Carriers Assn.  He is responsible for interpreting and communicating industry-related regulations and legislation to the membership of TCA. Send comments to [email protected].


About the Author

David Heller

David Heller is the senior vice president of safety and government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association. Heller has worked for TCA since 2005, initially as director of safety, and most recently as the VP of government affairs. Before that, he spent seven years as manager of safety programs for American Trucking Associations.

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