The Importance of Driver Safety Training

May 26, 2022

The Importance of Driver Safety Training

There are many reasons for trucking companies to focus on the safety of their drivers. With the current driver shortage, truckers can be selective about what carriers they work for, and a company with a good safety record can attract good drivers. A focus on safety makes drivers feel valued and can help retain quality talent.

Trucking accidents can have catastrophic results for the driver, the carrier, and any other motorists involved. And these accidents can have a number of consequences including increased insurance costs and bad publicity for the trucking company.

Focusing on safety can lower scores associated with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, which can be important for securing new business. CSA scores are easily accessible online, and many shippers use CSA scores to determine which companies they use for their transportation needs.

Is trucking regulated by OSHA?

OSHA does not regulate the trucking industry or self-employed truckers. The FMCSA is the lead federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and CDL holders.

What is a DOT safety audit?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) conducts audits to evaluate a company's safety performance and confirm proper and complete recordkeeping. The review also determines if the company has adequate management controls in place to ensure compliance with the FMCSA safety protocols.

A DOT audit or review is divided into six inspection categories:

  • General
  • Driver
  • Operational
  • Vehicle
  • Hazardous Materials (HazMat)
  • Accidents

Each category, or factor, is reviewed and rated satisfactory, conditional, or unsatisfactory.

What does the safety department do in a trucking company?

The safety department within a trucking company is responsible for knowing the current FMCSA rules and maintaining records for all vehicles in the fleet. They may also develop a vehicle maintenance program in collaboration with a fleet manager to reduce mechanical issues or excessive maintenance costs.

The safety department should provide all drivers with a copy of the current FMCSA rules, maintain qualification and safety records for each driver, and conduct random drug and alcohol testing of drivers based on DOT regulations.

And, of course, in the event of a DOT audit, the safety manager would be responsible for making sure the company is in compliance with all DOT and FMCSA regulations. If the company does not pass the audit for any reason, the safety department would ultimately be responsible for making the changes necessary to get a satisfactory result.

Where to find driver safety classes

There are many online resources for driver training and safety courses. These courses can help reduce time and resources needed from your trucking company for administration and record-keeping while improving driver safety performance and saving money on costs of liability.

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