Safety & Technology facing our industry

June 26, 2014

 

Trucking has experienced many changes in the past few years and will continue to do so in the future. We are looking toward a host of various new regulations being proposed by the FMCSA in the next couple of years, including electronic logging devices, speed limiting, changes to safety scoring, drug and alcohol data banks, hair follicle testing, increasing insurance minimum levels and a host of others now seen and yet unseen. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Nowhere is this truer than in trucking today.

Between distracted driving by “Four Wheelers” and creative ambulance chasing lawyers, the risk we all encounter on the road is greater than ever. You may have recently seen the article from some unscrupulous lawyers in Maxim magazine showing a KW with the caption, “Serial Killers.” This contributes to our already false but bad image. As trucking becomes more complicated with regulations, lawsuits, and competition, the strong and most successful companies are those who can quickly adopt to change to become better. American Central Transport (ACT) has a history of taking ourselves out of our comfort zones when necessary to get in front of change. We are always one step ahead of the competition. We do this in service, compliance, safety, driver compensation and every other aspect of our company. ACT is always “Raising the Standard.” This is what makes us better than the others.

Advancements are rapidly being made in safety technology. It can be confusing to sort it all out to pick the right solution. However, to the extent we can employ technology to protect ourselves, our careers and improve safety ,that is the right thing to do. Preventing accidents is always the high road and the right road.

One thing that always keeps me up at night is the thought of a bad accident. ACT’s culture has always been one of being legal….”by the book.” But we know that often safety means going above and beyond what is required by the law.   We have tested various expensive safety technologies in the past and found that some of it is problematic. For example, we tested some anti-collision technology which applied active braking. We found some drivers complaining that the brakes took over at inappropriate times creating a hazard. There are other technologies, new, expensive and unproven. There is so much technology being developed today that there are many choices. One thing, however, is certain, and that is that technology will play an important role in our driving in the future. The question is not whether it will happen, but which technology will be the most helpful in protecting ourselves, keeping you safe and keeping those we share the road with safe.

We work very hard to keep our safety good, and thus our insurance costs down. We would much rather have the money for our business than give it to ambulance chasers.

We announced in our first quarterly conference call that we will be testing 30 event recorders in September for 90 days. They will be installed in August. If the test proves successful, these event recorders present an opportunity to get better while protecting you and ACT from frivolous lawsuits. I have heard that many drivers are buying camera recorders in truck stops. I have a couple of concerns about these. One is that they do not help us break bad habits or become safer. These are strictly a CYA device. The other concern is that since these are on an individual driver basis we have no control over the evidence in the event of a problem, something a plaintiff’s attorney would likely try to use against us. The event recorder could present a dual solution of helping our drivers and ACT protect ourselves from frivolous claims, while at the same time, providing some coaching opportunities to help us become safer.

There is much false information about event recorders out on the driver rumor mill. I encourage you to get the true facts and learn more about what this technology can do for you.

Call me if you have any questions. Happy and Safe Trucking! Tom

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