Keep Commercial Insurance Rates Low With These Truck Driving Safety Tips

Commercial vehicle accidents can cost a lot of money. An accident involving a large semi truck, tanker, bus, or another large commercial vehicle can potentially cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in property damage and medical bills. There is also the possibility of environmental damage if hazardous materials such as fuel or chemicals are being transported by the driver. For these reasons, any company that purchases commercial insurance for its fleet of vehicles should want to do everything possible to minimize its insurance costs. Here are a few safety tips that can be emphasized during driver training.

Facts About Distracted Driving

A huge problem that is caused by the use of cell phones and other technology in cars and trucks is distracted driving. It is estimated that up to 80% of crashes are caused by some kind of driver inattention. Aside from phones and devices, things as simple as talking to passengers or eating while driving can become distractions as well. Drivers should be told about these facts and the dangerous nature of distractions in the vehicle. This means phone use should be forbidden while actively driving. Most jurisdictions have outlawed things like texting and talking on the phone while driving. However, it is also important to emphasize personal responsibility, as law enforcement cannot realistically give citations to all distracted drivers.

Avoiding Fatigued Driving

When a driver is getting tired due to being on the roads for an extended period of time, this can become very dangerous. Fatigued drivers are much more likely to lose focus, take their eyes off of the road, or even fall asleep behind the wheel. There are federal transportation regulations in place to limit total driving hours each day and week, but drivers should be encouraged to take breaks and rest as much as necessary in order to stay alert and minimize the possibility of an accident. Most typical rest breaks for commercial drivers average 30 minutes in length, but longer can be taken if needed.

Blind Spots

Large commercial vehicles also tend to have large blind spots on the sides, corners, and rear of the vehicle. Drivers can be taught to check their mirrors regularly for other vehicles, and it’s also possible to scan the area in front of the vehicle before obstacles enter the blind spots. Certain side and rearview cameras are also available to help view these blind spots.

Turning Safety Issues

Commercial vehicles tend to have a wide turning radius, and it’s possible that a turning vehicle can flip over or the driver can lose control. Drivers should be taught to only make turns at a safe speed in areas that are clear of other vehicles on the sides.

Substance Abuse and Commercial Driving

Not only is drunk driving illegal for commercial drivers, but there are also lower legal limits for a commercial driver’s blood alcohol concentration in most states. Despite the legality of doing so and strict penalties for breaking the law, the trucking industry has a serious problem with the abuse of alcohol and drugs. These costs can be passed onto employers, as their insurance may need to cover the costs of lawsuits associated with injuries and fatalities caused by a commercial driver. Employers may want to regularly test workers for the presence of drugs and alcohol to ensure that they are not driving while impaired and avoid the potential liability and increased costs.

It is important to keep in mind that insurance rates for commercial drivers are based on the insurer’s level of risk. This means that lower costs due to no prior accidents and saving money can be passed onto the business and policyholder. Drivers can also be trained on these points and defensive driving techniques to provide better safety.

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