Preliminary statistics for 2016 indicated that there was a 7% to 8% increase in fatalities in accidents involving trucks and buses. While numbers are down from where they were 10 years ago, they are still unacceptable.

No one likes to see a truck crash, with or without fatalities, and there are steps you can be taking to make your fleet as safe as possible.

Start by reviewing your vehicle specs. Technology can help drivers be safer. Have you considered things like roll over protection, lane departure warning systems and collision mitigation systems? If you are spec’ing some safety technology, now is the time to start looking at it to see how it can assist your drivers.

But a safe truck is not just one that is spec’d with safety features; it is also one that is maintained properly. Regularly scheduled maintenance helps ensure that key safety systems on your trucks are operating as they should. Worn brakes can’t stop a truck properly so it’s important that they be examined on a regular basis and replaced as needed. This is true for other safety related components and for those not directly connected to safety. A truck that is not maintained properly is a hazard to the driver and to others on the road.

Another key element to operating a safe fleet is having safe drivers. It is not enough to talk about safety during the on-boarding process. Safe driving practices need to reinforced on an on-going basis. Do you have a program in place that acknowledges and/or rewards safe drivers? If not, why not? When you honor drivers who achieve safe driving milestones, you send a message to other drivers in your fleet about your commitment to safety and your expectations for all drivers.

Develop a safety culture within your fleet — in all areas of your operation. When management shows a commitment to safety it tends to permeate the organization. If you don’t take shortcuts that short change safety, your drivers won’t either.

All of these steps taken together can help prevent accidents from happening in the first place or at the very least, lessen their severity. It’s sure worth a try.