Trucker safety: A benefit to all

Even though the number of accidents caused by trucks and their drivers is less than that caused by light motor vehicles, the amount of fatalities and damage that result from truck accidents far exceed those caused by other vehicles. This is why trucker safety should be a priority for all transport and logistics companies.

The large number of heavy duty vehicles on our roads makes it imperative that measures are put in place to reduce the number of accidents involving trucks. Keeping truckers safe, not only benefits the truck drivers and their companies, but everyone else on the road as well.

Here are a few tips for businesses to implement to keep their drivers – and everyone else – safe on the road:

Identify risky drivers

It’s important to ensure that the drivers you employ don’t have a history of reckless driving.

Research into the history of the potential new hire is a must to ensure that drivers act responsibly behind the wheel. Obtain information about expired licenses, moving violations, and other traffic infringements.

Ensuring that the person you employ is fit to travel cautiously on the roads is the first step to ensuring everyone’s safety.

Ad hoc training sessions

Even though you find someone fit to travel upon employment, a lot of things can change over time, including their eligibility.

Regular training sessions on the latest traffic laws, as well as basic rules-of-the-road would ensure that drivers remain up-to-date on all vital information, and will give you as a business peace of mind knowing your drivers are fit to be on the roads.

Another factor that could affect the driving of an individual – put simply – is laziness. Let’s face it, after years of driving, we all get a bit lazy. We don’t fully stop at stop-signs anymore, and we quickly pass through that orange light even though we know we’re supposed to slow down. These all seem harmless – until it’s not. Regular driving tests could ensure drivers still abide to these simple traffic rules and could prevent future mishaps or accidents.

Regular health tests

The health of the driver must be one of the company’s first priorities before sending the driver out with an order/ delivery. If the driver is ill, it increases the possibility of an accident happening, potentially causing damage to the truck, the goods in the truck, the driver, the road, other road users and any pedestrians and structures close to the accident at that time.

Regular health checks need to be done to ensure that your driver stays as fit as a fiddle. If a driver is ill, it’s essential that he or she is able to take a sick day to get healthy. Otherwise, orders could be delayed due to the employee not fully recovering, or damage could potentially be done to more than just the company’s property. Is sending a sick driver out on the road worth risking that much? No, it’s definitely not under any circumstance.

As mentioned before, keeping the drivers of your heavy vehicles (or any vehicles, for that matter) safe, not only benefits the driver, but so much more. There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to the safety of your drivers, but these three tips should at least be your starting point.

5 top tips on ensuring cargo safety

According to recent statistics, truck hijacking has cost South Africa over R3 billion in the past year. This not only affects the trucking companies, but also the businesses that sent or were meant to receive the goods involved in the hijacking. This places cargo safety top of mind to most transporters and consumers who rely on their goods being transported.

However, when it comes to the safety precautions that are used in transport, older, more basic safety measures aren’t as effective anymore. Criminals are continuously getting better at doing what they do best, making the protection of different companies’ livelihood much more difficult.

While no cargo or package being transported is completely immune to the risk of theft, for transport companies, there are ways to reduce your exposure to dangerous scenarios with the following tips:

1. Develop a company culture of security

Firstly, ensure that the people you employ are trustworthy.

Where permitted, include background investigations and drug screenings when you hire employees to join your business. Conduct mandatory security and ethics training, so employees know what to look for and how to report suspicious events.

As long as your drivers are trustworthy, you already eliminate one of the possibilities of the occurrence of theft, and you have more peace of mind when sending a delivery out.

2. Pick-up and delivery protocols

If your protocols and procedures are efficient, the delivery process should be smooth sailing.

Make sure that drivers are always properly identified and that they know exactly where and when they need to deliver their loads. It’s also important for them to know exactly who the person is they should be dealing with when delivering the goods.

This tie backs to the previous point as well—employ people who can be trusted. If they know the exact details of where they should be going, there’s no possibility of miscommunication causing goods to go missing or damage to the cargo.

3. Keep moving

The longer a loaded trailer or container sits unattended, the higher the risk for theft.

Thieves prefer not to confront a driver, so they will look for times when a truck is unattended. Make sure drivers are clear on trip planning. This includes identifying fuel stops, locations to layover and safe, monitored rest stops.

Instruct drivers to wait until they’ve travelled at least 300 kilometres before they stop, unless there’s an emergency. Some thieves will follow trucks until the drivers stop, waiting for a moment when they might leave the truck unattended. However, the chances of someone following a truck for 300-plus kilometres is less likely.

4. Put together a security plan

In the case of an emergency, or if you know the cargo is travelling into a dangerous area, put together a security plan.

In high crime areas, for instance, you might identify alternate routes or transportation modes. It’s also important to have an emergency plan or security feature in the vehicle for the driver to activate if they realize that they’re in a dangerous situation.

5. Do the basics properly

Most importantly, do the basics. And do them right. Here are a few basic procedures that all transport businesses should ensure are in place:

  • Teach and equip drivers to be aware of their surroundings and to stay alert while driving or stopping to rest.
  • Educate them on hijacking hotspots and high-risk areas.
  • Use vehicle security cameras and/ or software. With new advancements in data storage and Wi-Fi, mobile video surveillance is now more accessible than ever to small and large fleet operators alike. These surveillance cameras can corroborate and help better ensure cargo safety.

By following these top 5 tips on ensuring the your cargo safety, you and your clients can rest assured that you have followed all possible safety measures for their shipments. There’s no way of ensuring that theft won’t ever happen, but these tips are at least the foundation of a business’s attempt to not become part of the country’s alarming hijacking statistics.