Obviously, those in control of motor vehicles have the most immediate influence on road safety. However, drivers themselves are not the only ones who affect the likelihood of a crash. When looking specifically at the collisions that occur between semi-trucks and smaller passenger vehicles, there is another party other that frequently exerts a direct influence on the likelihood of a crash occurring and on the severity of such collisions.
Commercial transportation companies are in a position to either contribute to improved road safety or put everyone at risk of more severe collisions. There are several ways that trucking companies can help to reduce the number of collisions that occur, instead of engaging in practices that contribute to their great frequency.
Abiding by the spirit of the law rather than the letter alone
Many commercial crashes occur because of known and easily-preventable safety issues. Truck drivers who have been on the road for too long will experience fatigue that affects their ability to be safe at the wheel. Drivers may also feel pressure from their families or their employers to take phone calls or respond to written messages while operating a commercial truck. Employers sometimes exacerbate these existing risks by having policies that require drivers to bend or break traffic safety rules. Making safety and compliance top priorities within a company’s culture can go a long way toward reducing the likelihood of a severe collision.
Investing in proper maintenance and equipment
Commercial transportation companies typically have to inspect and repair the trucks in their fleets to keep them safe for the road. However, a significant percentage of the reported collisions involving commercial trucks each year occur because of an issue with the vehicle itself. Many of the worst collisions, specifically underride crashes, would be preventable or at least less serious if transportation companies invested in better underride guards instead of only paying the minimum amount possible for the cheapest guards available.
Maintaining strict training and performance standards
Companies cannot necessarily control what their individual employees do on the road, but they can maintain standards regarding personal habits and behavior on the clock to diminish the likelihood of a company vehicle causing a major wreck. Drivers who know they are subject to a zero-tolerance policy for blood alcohol levels, for example, are more likely than others to avoid having a drink before getting on the road. Companies can reduce the likelihood of one of their drivers causing a crash by consistently enforcing high standards and either retraining or terminating those who display unsafe behaviors at the wheel.
Recognizing when a transportation company may have contributed to a recent wreck could help a crash victim to pursue compensation from the right party. All too often, it is the employer of a truck operator that is to blame either instead of or in addition to that truck operator themselves.