If you are running your own trucking operation today, you are probably good at managing freight tonnage and operating costs. So, where does safety fit into the trucking profitability equation? With so many fleet safety products available to the trucking industry, finding the right one can be confusing and it can be difficult to know where to begin.
In my experience, the best and least expensive place to start is with state and federal trucking regulation compliance. Now, I know we are an independent and self-sufficient group of people who do not like to be told what to do, but please consider that most of these regulations are common-sense things you would likely do before putting someone in your $100,000–250,000 piece of equipment anyway.
One great example is the CSA score of the Maintenance Basic. Many frustrated fleet owners struggle with this Basic. I have seen fleets spend hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading equipment to address their Maintenance Basic problems, when it was a few pieces of equipment, a couple drivers, or maintenance shop practices causing the problems. If DVIR/post-trip inspections are not enforced and audited for proper completion from the maintenance shop, these problems could easily go unnoticed.
So, how can an owner, fleet manager, or safety manager determine how they are doing with Basic compliance? One suggestion is to use the FMCSA's Carrier Compliance Questionnaire, which can also be found in the Acuity Motor Carrier Toolbox.
Once you complete this questionnaire, you can prioritize the items you have identified as needing improvement. After the improvements have been implemented and your employees have been trained on the new practices, it is important to audit the results. This needs to be done by top management or someone very familiar with the issues and operations of your company. Is your company achieving the results you expected or needed to achieve? If not, what can you adjust in your policies and procedures so the desired results can be achieved?