This post is part of a series sponsored by IAT Insurance Group.
The most successful fleets are those that have a proactive safety culture and go above and beyond what federal and state regulations dictate. They make the most of the resources available to them, such as telematics, dash cams, traction control technologies, established driver training, and follow their hiring and retention strategies accordingly. In addition, they engage in industry best practices and continually look for ways to improve security, entertaining suggestions and recommendations from others, such as consultants or your insurance company’s loss control team.
Here are four case studies of fleet motor carriers using available resources to address safety concerns:
1. North Carolina-Based General Cargo Trucking Company | Fleet size: 33 power units
During a routine visit to a motor carrier, our loss control specialist found that this motor carrier had 92% of its drivers employed or leased for more than one year, which exceeded the 70% benchmark for retention rates. . They also determined that the motor carrier had an accident frequency of less than 8% during the current and prior two policy periods. Both indicated strong risk management practices and helped IAT consolidate its business for the next policy term.
However, over the life of the policy, retention rates and accident frequency became a concern. Retention rates fell below 65% and the frequency and severity of accidents increased.
An IAT loss control specialist helped the owner and security manager assess the causes of the problems. The motor carrier was found not to have adhered to its own standards for hiring and retaining drivers.
IAT’s loss control team helped this fleet re-establish and adhere to a proactive safety culture. This helped them identify driver training needs and corrective actions. Due to these changes, the motor carrier did not incur additional losses and driver retention rates improved.
2. General Cargo Trucking Company Based in Central Illinois | Fleet size: 40 tractors and drivers
This company is considered to have a strong and proactive security culture, which goes beyond what is required by regulations. They are always looking for different ways to promote safety with their employees. Even with this approach to security and risk management, they wanted to find other ways to improve their practices.
Working with its IAT Loss Control Specialist, the freight company developed a CMV driver tips program similar to the one promoted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. To enable success, they incorporated their own data from the in-cockpit camera to see firsthand what can and, in some cases, did go wrong, and discussed ways to avoid these concerns in the future.
Here’s how they do it: The motor carrier saves several short video clips of its camera data to show drivers near misses, actual crashes, the mistakes of others, and distracted driving. Drivers are then asked to consider what they could have done differently or how the situation could have been avoided altogether.
As a result, the company experienced an increase in driver-initiated conversations about safety and driving techniques and improved its safety awareness communication throughout the operation. They continue to look for different and proactive ways to bring improvements to their overall safety culture.
3. St. Louis-Based Trucking Company | Fleet size: 56 tractors and drivers
Form and manner violations are very common, accounting for 25% of all roadside inspection violations. These violations develop if a driver does not complete all required fields on their paper duty status record or electronic records. This St. Louis-based trucking company was racking up violations in a manner far beyond acceptable standards.
To address the issue, their IAT Loss Control Specialist helped them develop mock inspections at their property. When the drivers arrived at the depot, they were required to complete a simulated roadside inspection with mock DOT officers who “stopped the drivers” and conducted various levels of inspections with the fleet of drivers and equipment. They focused on the big picture of a roadside inspection, but also on form and manner violations. Due to the initial success of the program, the trucking company continues to use it during new driver orientation and will bring fleet-wide mock audits every six to 12 months. The success of these inspections has helped reduce their HOS Basic score from 80% to 55%.
4. Phoenix-based trucking company | Fleet size: 20 power units
As a company with a proactive safety culture, this motor carrier wanted to reinforce the importance of pre-trip inspections with their drivers. So, they prepared a tractor with two out-of-service violations and six non-out-of-service violations at their terminal. When the drivers returned to the terminal after completing their cargo, they were asked to perform a pre-trip inspection on prepared equipment and identify any violations.
Drivers who were unable to find all violations had to review that information with their safety director to prevent future violations that might have been discovered during a pre-trip quality inspection. It is now part of your ongoing training and orientation process with new drivers. These efforts can help the company reduce the costs of potential inspections, violations and accidents, all a direct reflection of its proactive safety efforts and culture. The company was successful in implementing this procedure. Driver awareness increased, and while a noticeable improvement in CSA scores was seen early in the implementation, the overall number of violations has begun to decline.
The key to preventing security problems
The common denominator between these four stories is the willingness of each fleet to accept and carry out the best practices to avoid safety problems and loss of control. They take advantage of available resources, including the resources of their insurance company, to proactively monitor and improve their security programs. With this approach, fleet motor carriers can position themselves for greater success in the future.
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By Nick Martin
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