An Effective Safety Program

Trucking operations can improve their safety records by establishing an effective safety program and by challenging the safety skills and knowledge of supervisors and drivers. An effective safety program should include:

• Driver qualifications and performance evaluations

• Safe driving recognition

• Monitoring driver safety

• Accident investigations

• Planning schedules, loads and routes

• A drivers’ manual and safety training aids

Driver Qualifications and Performance Evaluations

The majority of preventable accidents are directly related to the performance of the driver. When hiring new drivers:

• Make recruiting efforts sufficient to attract qualified applicants

• Establish formal procedures for interviewing, testing and screening applicants

• Check applicants’ previous employment history, driving records and physical qualifications in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) regulations

When monitoring existing drivers:

• Review drivers’ medical cards and driving records periodically to ensure they are current

• Monitor drivers for drug and alcohol use in accordance with FMCSA regulations

• Identify deficiencies in drivers’ skills and knowledge

Safe Driving Recognition

Safe driver recognition should be an integral part of a safety program. Recognizing safe driving will:

• Encourage safe driving performance

• Foster professionalism

• Provide a measurement of individual driver performance and skills


Monitoring Driver Safety

Monitoring driver safety should be another facet of your program. Within your program:

• Verify that all drivers meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation qualification requirements

• Establish a standard for safe driving

• Communicate and follow through on disciplinary actions

• Rely on immediate supervisors to observe and report unusual driver behavior.

• Be aware of marked changes in work behavior, personal relationships, emotional moods and appearance of drivers

• Do a thorough job in screening applicants regarding drinking and substance abuse following FMCSA requirements

• Do not tolerate drinking and substance abuse by drivers

Fatigued or ill drivers can be a hazard to themselves and to others. Instruct drivers to:

• Be careful with any kind of medication that may cause drowsiness. If in doubt, seek medical advice

• Don’t drive when drowsy

• Follow all applicable hours-of-service regulations

Accident Investigations

Provide a formal mechanism for investigating, reviewing and classifying accidents.

Planning Schedules, Loads and Routes

Assisting with pre-trip planning avoids overburdening drivers with tight schedules, unusual cargoes and unfamiliar or hazardous routes.

• Enforce hours-of-service statutory regulations

• Maintain records of driver duty status

• Plan dispatching to minimize the need for excessive on-duty schedules

Drivers’ Manual

A key communication link between the company and its drivers is the drivers’ manual. An effective drivers’ manual should:

• Describe the safety program

• Set forth standards for safe driving

• Include procedures for reviewing and classifying accidents

• Explain the company’s disciplinary procedures

Drivers’ Training Aids

Research, select and evaluate appropriate driver training aids. Providers of driver training aids include Sentry Insurance, national and state truck associations, safety organizations and private sector providers and consultants. Truck driving schools are not only good resources for recruiting motivated and well-qualified drivers, they also serve as good resources for remedial driver training.

Safety Accountability

Make managers accountable for safety performance in their area of responsibility. Their results should be evaluated as part of any performance review program. The content of this material has been taken in large part from information published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For more information, go to

Sentry Insurance is committed to helping you protect your business by providing resources to manage loss-producing situations and prevent accidents. For additional information visit, or call 1-877-832-1835.

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