Truck fleet owners in North Carolina may be wondering how they can improve safety among their drivers. The answer seems to lie in the use of advanced vehicle safety technology and the development of a safety-minded culture. This is according to a study that the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted together with Travelers, a property-casualty insurer.
The study focused on companies that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had labeled as having high-risk fleets. These companies were all able to reduce crash and injury rates after taking the two above-mentioned factors into account. Every fleet was interviewed. One responded that with a well-rounded safety culture, they reduced the number of preventable crashes by 75.6%.
Building a safety-minded culture starts with better training on how to identify and communicate safety risks. It requires an open door policy where employees can speak up about hazards without fear of retaliation. Such a culture should also impact a fleet's hiring policies.
As for new safety technology, some of the interviewed fleets added automatic emergency braking systems while others incorporated video-based monitoring, electronic stability control, lane departure warning and blind-spot detection. Of course, the strategies that can be used to combine technology with safety awareness training can be numerous: The study discusses as much as 69 of them.
While these steps can do much to prevent commercial truck accidents, they are not 100% effective because truckers themselves may become negligent and even disengage certain safety systems. When trucker negligence is clearly behind a crash, those who are injured may have good grounds for a case. If they were in a passenger vehicle, they likely suffered from catastrophic injuries, but a successful claim might cover them for medical expenses, rehabilitative care and more. It may be wise to consult a lawyer.