Eyes wide open on safety

Aug. 11, 2017
Conference to focus on the trucking industry's top challenges

NPTC's National Safety Conference, which is scheduled for Sept. 14-15 at the Hyatt Regency Dulles Hotel near Washington Dulles International Airport,  is designed to help private fleet companies meet and overcome the pervasive challenges faced in their daily efforts to raise exceptional safety and performance standards even higher. More than a dozen private fleet expert practitioners will be speakers or discussion moderators at the event.

Despite having the best safety programs and safety records in the industry, private fleet safety professionals are up against a daunting reality. It is a given that operating a commercial vehicle on America's roadways gets more risk-filled and dangerous every day.

Distracted driving habits of the motoring public are at epidemic levels. Driving while doing other things is something of a national pastime, especially among young drivers. Persistent lane closures, slowdowns, backups due to road construction, and orange cones are everywhere. Traffic congestion eats millions of valuable hours in lost productivity, around the clock and in both directions. Unsafe roads in winter seem more frequent than ever. These conditions increase safety risks, lower efficiency, increase costs, and add to the truck driver's job frustration.

Notwithstanding these external obstacles, many private fleet companies featured on the conference program are taking proactive, mitigating measures while improving their overall safety profiles in the process. The conference considers unique approaches to safety performance standards expected of drivers through training and coaching, improving safety protocols, deploying the latest safety tools, and introducing the most innovative safety technology now available.

Other key topics include an overview of the Trump administration's new focus on motor carrier safety, which will be delivered by Jack Van Steenburg, chief safety officer and assistant administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; an inside look at driver screening best practices; insights into using advanced technology to radically improve safety; applying advanced data analytics to prevent accidents; and showing how safety policies can mitigate liability.

Several concurrent "safety-in-the round" open forum discussion groups are planned. Topics include enhancing background searches, electronic logging devices, accident reconstruction, managing multiple/remote locations, maintaining high safety standards while dealing with an aging driver workforce, safety training programs, and enhanced safety meetings.

An annual conference tradition is the National Driver All-Star recognition ceremony co-sponsored by NPTC and International Trucks/Navistar Inc. This highly successful program now in its tenth year is designed to recognize the nation's top private fleet drivers who so uniquely distinguish themselves as a competitive advantage for their companies based on their safety, compliance and customer service skills. 

A special presentation features discussion of active safety technologies including collision mitigation, automated transmissions, electronic stability control, lane departure warning, in-cab cameras, and disc brakes. The conference concludes with a "case study in excellence" demonstrating a best practice example of using data analytics to enhance safety.

A featured presentation on the industry's top safety challenges, including distracted driving, will be delivered by Dan Murray, vice president of the American Transportation Research Institute. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is dangerous and deadly. There were 3,447 lives lost because of distracted driving in 2015 alone, and 331,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted driving.

The conference is a forum of insights like these built into a compact 15 hours. Don't miss this opportunity. Register now at www.nptc.org.

About the Author

Gary Petty

Gary Petty has more than three decades of experience as a CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. Since 2001, he has served as president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council, the national trade association founded in 1939, representing the private motor carrier industry. Petty is the Private Fleet Editor and columnist for FleetOwner, where he writes monthly articles about successful managers and business models in the private fleet market.

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