An accident is the worst possible outcome for a truck driver, and fatality wrecks are every trucker’s nightmare. Unfortunately, research reveals that big rig collisions that result in death have risen sharply in recent years. Specifically, the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration reports that semi-truck fatality wrecks are up by 13%. This alarming statistic reveals the dire need for new safety measures, but with big-rig wrecks increasing in fatality numbers, it may not be clear where to start. Trucking companies can combat this deadly problem by understanding its root cause, identifying risk factors, and implementing more stringent safety standards.
Understanding the Cause of Increased Fatalities
Such a dramatic uptick in deaths would seemingly be attributable to a specific cause. It doesn’t seem to be the case, though, as experts blame different issues, and there’s no single clear culprit. Instead, a range of problems appears to be contributing to the topic. Trucking companies that want to fight against fatalities should start by understanding the following three possible causes of the increase.
National Trucker Shortage
When considering the reasons for the increase in fatalities, it’s impossible to overlook the nationwide shortage of truck drivers that occurred in the wake of COVID-19. Although there’s evidence to suggest that the shortage may end, its impact will undoubtedly continue to have consequences. The increase in enormous rig collision fatalities may be among these consequences. With fewer drivers available, many truckers faced an increased workload and intensified pressure to meet tight deadlines. Together, these factors may encourage unsafe behaviors such as speeding and sleepy driving.
Return to the Road
A shortage of truckers isn’t the only consequence of COVID-19. The pandemic also ushered in a widespread period of quarantine, during which many people stayed home instead of driving. Now, people are rushing at the opportunity to get back on the road. Thus, the sudden increase in traffic has also resulted in a sudden spike in deaths. It may be due to a deterioration of driving skills during the lockdown.
Inconsistent State Laws
Any interstate driver who travels through multiple states in a day may find it challenging to keep track of the speed limits and other standards as they can change regularly. To complicate matters further, some states have even raised their speed limits, which some reasonably interpret as disregarding roadways fatalities. It may encourage other motorists to engage in unsafe driving behaviors that increase the likelihood of collisions and fatalities.
Forming Solutions to Minimize Fatalities
How can trucking companies combat the problem? Likewise, truckers should understand the impact an accident can have on truck insurance rates. To save lives and keep truck insurance rates low, carriers should consider the following potential solutions.
Recruiting Safe Truck Drivers
Recruiting more truckers is important in lightening the load of those currently on the road. More importantly, though, trucking companies should focus on hiring truckers who can drive safely on the road. Promising predictors of driver safety include their civilian driving record and background check results.
Investing in Training Programs
Truck drivers need to complete training and onboarding that will familiarize them with the exceptional standards of your company. As you develop your training program, it’s essential to incorporate thorough coverage of safety protocol. It should include a discussion of your company’s safety principles, individual state traffic laws, and the variance in those laws.
Switching Priorities to Incentivize Safety
It’s essential, too, to ask what kind of behavior your company is incentivizing. If your company offers drivers bonuses for meeting tight deadlines, you may unintentionally incentivize unsafe driving behaviors. Conversely, if your company provides rewards for adherence to safety laws, you’re motivating drivers to follow the rules and drive with safety in mind.
Trucking Companies Can Save Lives With Safety
Trucking companies can play an important part in either encouraging or discouraging the unsafe driving behaviors that may cause these collisions. It should motivate every trucking company to recruit safe truckers, implement better safety training, and incentivize safe driving. Following these steps may be the best approach to lowering the truck accident fatality rate.
About Western Truck Insurance Services
Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!