When a driver is behind the wheel of a large truck or piece of heavy equipment, he or she is at risk of being involved in an accident that results in severe injury or death. Driver distraction is a major factor in the cause of these types of accidents; it takes only a two-second glance off the roadway to double the risk of an accident or close call. One way to ensure a driver of your company doesn’t become a statistic is through safety training.

Discussion Points:
• What variables influence the occurrence of motor vehicle accidents?
• What makes distracted driving such a risk?
• What are some ways drivers can prepare for inclement weather?
• Why Driver Safety Meetings are important.

Recent studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in the United States, more than 4.1 million injuries and an estimated 36,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents annually. More than 3,500 fatalities are associated with distracted driving accidents, and trucks account for more than 13 percent of all highway fatalities, totaling more than 890
fatalities among large-truck occupants. Many variables influence the occurrence of motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks and heavy equipment, these include inclement weather, driving too fast for the conditions, unfamiliarity with the roadway, interruption of the traffic flow, illegal maneuvers, vehicle failure, fatigue, driver error or poor judgment, and distracted driving.

Weather can change quickly and road conditions can be affected by high winds and heavy snow with little warning. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), heavy rain is responsible for more than 60 percent of all weather-related fatalities involving trucks.

Drivers should be reminded to check the load balance after driving the first 50 miles. Loads that are off-balance can shift with high winds or when turning and cause a rollover, and operating a large truck or heavy equipment on compromised ground is dangerous for the driver, and increases the risk of an accident. Companies should hold safety training which includes regular safety meetings to review best practices and the guidelines set by the FMCSA. Other topics of discussion should include a review of new laws and industry standards and new company policies and procedures. Allow drivers to share their experience with others and ask them for issues they would like to discuss at future meetings. It is also a good time to remind drivers that when driving, they make many choices, and those choices have consequences.

As always, be safe out there!