Last week at the CCJ Fall Symposium, ATA Road Team captains David Green and Danny Smith highlighted some of the safety concerns many truckers are facing today. The Road Team is ATA’s national public outreach program led by a small group of professional truck drivers who seek to spread the word about safety on the highway. The symposium featured a panel including both truckers and was hosted by CCJ (Commercial Carrier Journal) editor Jeff Crissey. Among the concerns were parking, distracted drivers, and the upcoming speed limiter mandate.
Top Safety Concerns
With a speed limiter mandate soon to be implemented, many truckers, including Green and Smith believe that the new mandate could create congested roadways and increase the stress put on drivers to make deadlines.
“We already have [speed limiters] and it’s called a speed limit sign,” says Smith, the first driver hired by Big G Express and who still drives for the company today, having recently eclipsed 3 million safe miles. “In order to take care of this problem, we just need to enforce our laws. There are no two trucks, even though they are exactly the same, that will run the same speed.”
The speed limit changes could increase the stress of drivers while simultaneously increasing the amount of traffic on roadways. Only time will tell if the new mandate has a negative impact on truckers, adding to the list of safety concerns for truckers.
Green and Smith echoed the concerns of many that there is just not enough parking for truckers across the country. In the past decade, a few initiatives have been implemented to increase the amount of parking for truckers. One was called the “Truck Parking Pilot Program” and the other was called the “Interstate Oasis” program. Unfortunately, the combined $40 million dollar project has not done enough to combat the issue.
Numerous studies conducted by states have shown that lack of parking has become a safety hazard for the states’ truckers.
Some suggestions include making closed down industrial parks or shopping centers into parking for truckers. Another idea included renting out spots from big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target that will allow truckers to park overnight.
With new FMSCA regulations prohibiting the use of handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle, it’s surprising to learn that many truckers are still dealing with issues involving drivers. Whether it’s the truck drivers themselves, or the vehicles traveling around them, distracted driving is one of many serious safety concerns for truckers are facing.
Green also says that drivers must do a better job recognizing the drivers that practice safety.
“If it’s trucking, what do you see? You hardly ever get to see anything positive,” he says. “Do you ever see 3.4 million drivers delivered safely and on time today? All you ever see is that one that had the accident.”