Just because pre- and post-trip trucking inspections are common sense doesn’t mean they are common practice. These inspections may signal a larger issue within our industry: business and safety practices are at odds.
For operators making every minute count is critical to their livelihood, especially under tight deadlines. Even though a typical inspection can take 15 minutes, the issue comes down to time and money, risk and payoff—for companies, as much as drivers. For example, pay-by-the-mile compensation, as opposed to an hourly compensation, has been widely recognized to disincentivize safety protocols, including completing thorough inspections.
The rules and regulations designed to improve safety, instead, cut back on miles or the time drivers have to make those miles. Despite all the local, state, and federal regulations in the trucking industry, workers in transportation and material-moving jobs represent some of the highest fatalities of any occupational group.
If a serious collision occurs that results from a maintenance defect or cargo issue on a commercial vehicle, data from a pre-trip inspection will factor into how much liability operators, vehicle owners and companies face.
Trucking companies are examining their pay structure and technology to promote and incentivize safer driving. Fleets should also provide drivers with better tools to complete their trucking inspections. Without going through a list that guides drivers through the proper safety inspection steps, it is easy to overlook some or all of them.
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