Operation Safe Driver Prep Week 1: Keeping Drivers Off Their Phones | Semi Truck Repair
Prepare to be prepped people.
Pulled from CVSA data, the top 5 violations for commercial truck drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week are as follows:
- Size and weight
- No seatbelt in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
- Failure to obey traffic control device
- Using a handheld phone
We’ve got three weeks until the start of the Inspection week, so each week we’re going to touch on a different item and give you some actionable tips that you can use to try to make your drivers safer and reduce the number of violations that fall into these categories.
Generally we’d save the most important for last, but understanding that what we consider to be the most important of these, will actually take the most time to get all of your drivers on board, we’re putting it first.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone: it’s the cell phone issue.
Yes, we are technology addicted society. Yes, being able to communicate with loved ones when we are away from home (especially for long periods of time) is a blessing.
But… yes… also a curse.
I won’t even start with the statistics about distracted driving, cell phones, and accidents. We’ve all heard some form of them and anyone that says it’s no big deal… well they’re lying and even they know it.
There are ways you can help your drivers stay off their phones and stay confident they will remain connected.
- It’s safe to say that somewhere in your company handbook there is a page on cell phone policy. Our first suggestion is that you bring this “page” front and center. Make it separate from the starting packet that they have to read and sign. A discussion of penalties upon signature is not a bad idea either. These fines aren’t cheap, the points they add to your businesses CSA score aren’t small, and it’s an action that many drivers think “they can get away with safely enough.”
- It’s also likely that your drivers already own a headset to use while on the road. If they don’t, and maybe after whatever probationary period you have, buy them one. You can get the Blue Parrot at Walmart for $99, shipped free. It truly is a small investment when you consider keeping your driver and your equipment safe from harm.
- Our favorite and most effective tip: Before they leave the yard, verify that not only are any text and data notifications are turned off; but also that they have enabled a text autoresponder to reply to any text they receive while driving. “I’m driving and can’t text – I’ll get back with you on my next break.” If they are unsure how to do this, direct them to one of the following links below based on what type of cell phone they have.
- Android users: Click here to get the autoresponder app; and click here to find instructions on how to set up a driving profile.
- Verizon iPhone users: Click here to get the messaging app; and click here for instructions on how to use.
- Other iPhone users: Unless your driver is a Verizon customer, there is no easy “plug and play” option. For whatever reason there is no native app to iOS that allows this functionality at this time. The best case scenario for non Verizon iPhone is to use the command “Hey Siri, send message to [name receiver] I am driving, text you later. Send it.”
- Encourage them to reach out to their loved ones with the following information:
- If you need something, call – don’t text.
- I will be off-duty from XX time to XX time. Depending on load/delivery conditions and traffic, I will be taking my 30 minute break around XX time. These are the best times are the best times to call or text if you need me. (Or to expect a reply from a call or text)
Until next week, start running through your fleet for items on the inspection checklist just in case!