Safety is paramount in our industry; we owe it to the shippers who entrust us with their goods, the citizens who share the road with us, our families and colleagues, and ourselves. Part of being safe is knowing the rules and following them (see “Overdrive” for more on this), but a lot of it is a matter of focus and intent.

That comes out very strongly in a recent study by Virginia Tech that followed the efforts of nine trucking companies that had been classified as “high risk” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in terms of safety. Six out of nine carriers cited that employing methods like comprehensive driver training and collision mitigation technologies allowed them to achieve significantly improved safety outcomes.

One fleet interviewed by the study, having adopted safety culture as its top strategy, reported a 75.6 percent reduction in preventable crashes. Another, after equipping its trucks with automatic emergency braking systems, reported a 56 percent decrease in preventable rear-end collisions.

While there was no common solution adopted by these companies, the majority of the strategies carriers discussed were what could be called pre-crash countermeasures. One of the most important of these, said the study, was a top-down approach to safety focusing on management culture and leadership buy-in on safety.

This is an example of a well-known, but not always well-applied, organizational principle. If the people in charge think something is important—especially important enough to spend money on—the people below them will think it’s important too. “Overall,” said Virginia Tech’s Matthew Camden, the project’s principal investigator, “the carriers attributed their success not to one ‘single fix’ solution but rather the fact that they adopted a comprehensive approach to safety culture and practices within their companies, specifically the adoption of advanced safety technologies.”

For More Information

Advanced Training Systems has revolutionized the design and manufacture of high-tech simulators to improve driver training and create both better drivers and a safer world. In addition to hundreds of driving schools, we provide equipment and support for major shippers who do their own training, as well as customized solutions for those with particular training needs. For more information or to schedule a demo, please contact us here.