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Motor Carriers & Truckers Identify What Is (& Is Not) Effective at Preventing Wrecks

Motor Carriers & Truckers Identify What Is (& Is Not) Effective at Preventing Wrecks

FMCSA Summit in August 2020 Focused on Trucking Safety & Accident Prevention

On Aug. 5, 2020, regulators at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) held a virtual event, inviting an array of professionals and the public, to weigh in on trucking safety issues. The FMCSA 2020 Trucking Safety Summit, held over the course of a day, focused on how to enhance safety and prevent 18-wheeler wrecks.

Industry professionals, safety advocates, technology experts, and the public joined regulators, sharing ideas and engaging in a discussion that uncovered key issues affecting trucking safety on U.S. roadways.

4 Factors that Impact Truck Accidents & Trucking Safety in 2020: The Insider’s Perspective

Here’s a look at what industry insiders think is pivotal when it comes to the risks of 18-wheeler accidents and trucking safety these days, based on the discussions shared during the recent FMCSA Trucking Safety Summit.

1. The hiring process

The more careful motor carriers are about vetting candidates to drive their 18-wheelers, the better, industry insiders say. That’s because hiring the right drivers can make a big difference in the safety choices that are made behind the wheel.

In fact, many say the goal should always be to find the most conscientious individuals, not the most experienced ones. While behind-the-wheel competency can be taught and learned, conscientiousness is a trait, not a skill that can be taught. And that’s key to trucking safety, industry experts argue.

2. Driver training

Another essential element in preventing truck accidents, according to industry pros, is driver training. That training shouldn’t just happen after drivers are hired—and it can’t be limited to desk or computer training. Instead, many believe that, in order to truly promote safety, training should be:

  • An ongoing process
  • Driven by a trucker’s needs and competency levels
  • Behind the wheel, ideally with an experienced coach who can provide in-the-moment guidance and feedback

3. Technology

Several truckers and motor carriers are leveraging technology to promote safety on the roads. From accident-prevention devices to innovative dash cams and more, trucking tech is changing the game when it comes to safety, helping many:

  • Train drivers in real time
  • Anticipate potential safety issues before they cause problems
  • Make attention to safety a central part of their daily activities and environments

4. Company culture

According to industry insiders, the single most important factor that impacts trucking safety in 2020 is company culture.

When drivers feel comfortable speaking up about safety concerns—and when they are encouraged to “see something and say something”—motor carriers can cultivate and promote a company culture that prioritizes safety. And that, industry insiders say, can make all the difference in the choices trucking professionals make, especially when the risk of an 18-wheeler accident hinges on those decisions.

What Doesn’t Necessarily Help Trucking Safety?

Regulations don’t always translate into safety, industry professionals say. While there are always some drivers or motor carriers that will bend or sidestep the rules, others can do just enough to comply. Either way, trucking safety suffers.

Experts pointed to the four factors above, noting that, if those aren’t present from the get-go, safety goes out the window, regardless of compliance or non-compliance with trucking regulations.

Truck Accidents & Safety in 2020: The Bottom Line

As productive as the discussion at the Summit was, it remains to be seen how the event will impact the future of trucking safety on America’s roads. What is certain, however, is that safety issues on the roads are a shared responsibility—and that there are factors within our control that can help reduce the risk of 18-wheeler accidents.


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