At DISA, we make it a priority to be aware of advancements within the transportation industry, because we need to know how we can best work within DOT regulations and requirements to provide hiring tools that keep our trucking logistics partners doing what is necessary to comply. But some go beyond regulatory compliance to advance driver safety standards, protect trucking line revenue and avoid unnecessary liability.
Proactive fleet owners, for instance, are taking their own measures to protect drivers while also safeguarding their bottom line. After installing a video intelligence system, Pitt Ohio was able to generate detailed records of traffic incidents involving their drivers. The system came to bear in a lawsuit against one of their drivers, who was charged with causing an accident involving a civilian SUV. The video proved that the SUV driver was, in fact, the responsible party—and rather than having to pay a settlement, Pitt Ohio was awarded damages.
These video systems and their related data-analysis platforms provide carriers with more than just protection. Cypress Truck Lines, based in Jacksonville, FL, implemented Smart Drive for their fleet and saw a 57% improvement in overall safety scores within weeks. The ongoing monitoring tools offer opportunities for managers to coach drivers as needed, which boosts accountability and further promotes safety within the fleet.
The DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is similarly using new technology to streamline its driver logs. The Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) will record on-duty/off-duty time for drivers, ensuring that they remain compliant with federal regulations on hours-of-service. The industry-wide implementation of ELDs will save an average of 26 lives per year, prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles, and result in a net benefit of roughly $1 billion, thanks to a vast decrease in mandated industry paperwork.
Even state legislatures are playing a role in making drivers—both professional and civilian—safer on the roads. California requires employers to allocate paid break and meal times for their employees, drivers included. It seems like common sense for a driver completing a long-haul drive, toting valuable cargo, to stop for breaks to remain sharp behind the wheel. But the promise of increased productivity and dividends can entice carriers—and drivers themselves—to push the limits of what’s safe. Recent court rulings have set precedents that align with California’s approach, mandating that carriers allow their drivers to take breaks and stop for meals within a shift.
Each of these measures, technological adoptions and streamlined processes was initiated in the name of safety, fleet maintenance and industry bar-setting. But these weren’t mandated. Rather, they were proactive steps to go beyond the bare minimum required to comply. They’re examples of progressive ways to promote not only safety but also profitability. Other industries would do well to take note.