Truck haulage and transport safety comes under the loupe

Prevention is better than cure. Within the transport industry, it is critical that drivers and fleet owners and managers apply their minds to preventative methodologies to improve safety. An expert advises.

The carnage caused by heavy haulage accidents is reaching horrific levels, and many within the transport industry are pleading for awareness and practical action to prevent or reduce these accidents as a matter of urgency.

“There’s a growing need to promote safer driving behaviour to safeguard other motorists travelling on the road, especially on busy roads with an increased presence of trucks,” said Anton Cornelissen, head of Santam’s heavy haulage.

In addition to ensuring trucks are in a roadworthy condition, he offers drivers and fleet managers the following advice to promote safer driving behaviour:

  • Perform regular truck inspections.

These inspections should focus on checking the brakes, tyres, lights and engine. By doing this, truck drivers can avoid potential accidents and keep themselves and others safe on the roads.

Fleet managers must perform general maintenance tasks regularly, such as inspecting and servicing their trucks and trailers, checking and replenishing fluids and lubricants, maintaining tyres at proper inflation levels, and performing regular safety checks.

  • Preventative maintenance should be part and parcel of the intention to operate safer fleets.
  • Drivers must be well rested.
  • Driving a truck is demanding, and drivers should not do this without getting adequate rest. Without rest, reaction times decrease, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Drivers should not drive continuously for more than five hours without taking breaks of at least 15 minutes.
  • Use technology to promote safer driving behaviour.

Technology, like telematics, vehicle monitoring and dashboard cameras, allows fleet operators to connect their cameras to lane departure warning systems that will record videos when trucks gradually drift out of a lane. This technology can identify sudden changes in driver behaviour that could indicate drowsy driving, therefore minimising accidents.

  • Manage expectations with dispatchers.

Cornelissen says fleet operators must effectively manage expectations between drivers, dispatchers and other operators in the value chain. “By managing expectations, fleet operators can ensure drivers continuously stick to the speed limit at all times and obey all the road rules. Fleet operators can also help drivers establish detailed trip plans, which create a better balance between client demands, service hours, regulations and the need to rest.

  • Safeguard driver health.

Driver health must be prioritised and include regular screening for lung diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, eye tests and obesity.

“It’s no secret that the trucking industry is vital to the South African economy. Without trucks, our nation would come to a halt. That is why it is so important that, as a leader in heavy haulage insurance, we encourage fleet operators to prioritise the health and wellness of truck drivers and other road users in the country. By ensuring vehicles are in working order and highlighting the importance of driver wellness, we can collectively promote safer South African roads,” Cornelissen concluded.



Related Articles

Back to top button