by Adam Maxfield
Service and delivery truck managers are constantly searching for ways to reduce accidents and damage to their vehicles. Below is a list of the best ways to reduce truck damage.
Reward Safe Drivers and Discipline Unsafe Drivers
Many dog owners, parents, and bosses, in general, have found that the best recipe for obedience is a mix of positive reinforcement and discipline. Reducing truck damage has been found to require the same management practices.
UPS has been using positive reinforcement for years, nearly 10% of UPS drivers have gone 25 years without a crash. These drivers become part of UPS's "Circle of Honor". It's a UPS program that honors drivers annually, who have made it another year without a preventable accident. UPS has taught us to both reward good behavior and discipline when appropriate.
Cleanliness is Godliness
Dirt hides scrapes, dents, and scratches, but cleanliness offers more than just an unobstructed view. Cleanliness builds pride and ownership.
A few years ago, Tim, a fleet manager from a Los Angeles logistics company, explained that he reduced accidents by 15% with two changes to his operation.
First, his service staff started immediately repairing and painting all minor cosmetic damage. The paint gave the vehicle operator a fresh start every week.
Secondly, the drivers were now in charge of washing their vehicles every week. Every truck looked brand new and the operators were able to identify any damage they noticed while washing the vehicle.
The drivers began to take ownership of their equipment and accidents quickly became a problem of the past. These two changes reinforced truck ownership and pride along with some accountability. This example shows that not all options to reduce truck damage incur a huge cost.
Some of us need a little accountability, whether it is a parent reminding a child to take the trash out or a manager inspecting our vehicles for minor accidents.
Regular, weekly safety inspections accomplish two goals. The first goal is to verify the vehicle is safe to operate, which includes brake pads, tire pressure, and seat belts. The second goal is to give the operator accountability.
Everyone acts differently when they know that their work will be double-checked. OSHA requires most equipment to receive a general safety inspection prior to any use and vehicles should not be any different. Request a checklist from the vehicle manufacturer. All CDL vehicles are required to have a pre-trip inspection.
Backup Alert System - Sonar Safety Alarm
According to NHTSA, 37% of non-traffic crashes are caused by backover accidents. When delivery drivers have their hands full, back-up accidents become very common. Sonar systems offer one of the best warning systems to prevent backover accidents. Whether the vehicle operator is looking or not, the sonar backup system is monitoring the area.
If a child walks behind the truck from the passenger side, it is unlikely that the operator will see the child. However, a sonar system will start beeping to alert the driver and, as the child moves closer to the vehicle, the alarm will escalate. The system reduces the human error factor which quickly reduces truck damage and accidents.
See the Path with a Backup Camera
Fender benders have a high cost due to repairs, downtime, increased insurance and damage to the other vehicle. Back up cameras are a low-cost solution to increase safety and reduce accidents.
Many delivery vehicles are more than 30 feet long which can make reversing dangerous and difficult. A backup camera allows the operator to see all obstacles and identify possible problems.