War on the Roads: Part 2
by, 08.23.2008 at 03.25 PM (1125 Views)
Trucking companies promote safety among their drivers in a variety of ways. New graduates from driving schools are placed into a driver training program in which the new driver is paired with a more experienced driver-trainer for six to eight weeks. The driver trainer continues the education the new driver started at driving school. The amount of experience the driver-trainer is required to have varies by company, with the lowest amount of experience being six months. Other company programs include safety bonuses for accident free miles, ‘Driver of the Month’ awards, ‘Million Mile Clubs’, and other incentives for safe driving practices. Werner Enterprises even enters their safe drivers into a drawing for a custom motorcycle and cash prizes on a quarterly basis (Werner.com, 2007).
Satellite communications systems in the trucks enable the companies to verify that their drivers are not “fudging” their log books, which are used to track driving time, on-duty time, and off-duty time. The system allows the company to track the location of the truck, and even shut the truck down if need be. This is useful in the event that a driver is in violation of the Hours of Service rules, and also in the case of hijacked trucks. Along with this system is the paperless/electronic log system, which eliminates the need for paper log books, and eliminates ‘creative writing’ on the part of truck drivers (E. Paulson, 2007).
Vehicle maintenance programs for the company vehicles allow the companies to keep vehicles in good mechanical condition. Along with prolonging the life of the trucks, these maintenance programs allow for safety issues to be detected and fixed before they become problems. The addition of speed governor systems, which limits the top speed a big truck can travel at, trucks with airbags, better technology for brake systems and engines, and brighter, LED lights on the trailers are other changes that are improving the safety of big trucks (E. Paulson, 2007). Many larger trucking companies only keep their trucks until they are two or three years old.
During an interview, a driver-instructor with 19 years and two million miles on record stated that drivers can help educate the general public about what it takes to safely operate a semi, and the appropriate behavior on the road with semis. Helping people understand the training, regulations, and laws that apply to truck drivers and the trucking industry would go a long way towards improving the public perception of the truck driver’s job. The skills involved include more than knowing the rules and regulations. Truck drivers regularly employ math skills, time management, map reading, and problem solving skills throughout their work day, along with utilizing multiple forms of communication (“Message from the”).
Message from the Top. (n.d.) OTR Protrucker.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2007 from http://www.otrprotrucker.com/OTR/mes...-top060305.cfm