In a recent episode of the Trucksafe LIVE! podcast, host Brandon Wiseman and Brian Runnels, VP of Safety at Reliance Partners, discussed the importance of fleet maintenance and some of the pitfalls when it is not handled appropriately.
Wiseman and Runnels noted that fleet maintenance is essential for the safety of drivers and the public, as well as for the profitability of trucking companies. They pointed to recent cases where maintenance problems have led to accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
In one high-profile case currently pending in Florida, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a driver of a dump truck. The family of the deceased filed a lawsuit claiming that maintenance defects (including brake problems) contributed to the accident. These types of cases are on the rise and regularly contribute to so-called "nuclear verdicts" against trucking companies.
Wiseman and Runnels also discussed the financial impact of poor fleet maintenance. They noted that breakdowns and repairs can cost trucking companies thousands of dollars each year, which becomes particularly evident during International Roadcheck each year. In addition, poor maintenance can lead to increased insurance premiums and decreased productivity. To avoid these costs, Wiseman and Runnels urged trucking companies to develop a comprehensive fleet maintenance program. They recommended that companies develop written procedures for all maintenance tasks, that they properly train their drivers on how to perform basic maintenance checks, and that they hold those drivers accountable to those inspections. Companies should also have their vehicles inspected regularly by qualified mechanics.
Here are some additional tips for fleet maintenance:
Develop a preventative maintenance schedule and stick to it;
Train your drivers on how to perform thorough pre-trip, post-trip and en route inspections;
Have your vehicles inspected regularly by qualified mechanics;
Keep good records of all maintenance work performed;
About Trucksafe Consulting, LLC: Trucksafe Consulting is a full-service DOT regulatory compliance consulting and training service. We help carriers develop, implement, and improve their safety programs, through personalized services, industry-leading training, and a library of educational content. Trucksafe also hosts a monthly live show on its various social media channels called Trucksafe LIVE! to discuss hot-button issues impacting highway transportation. Trucksafe is owned and operated by Brandon Wiseman and Jerad Childress, transportation attorneys who have assisted some of the nation’s leading fleets to develop and maintain cutting-edge safety programs. You can learn more about Trucksafe online at www.trucksafe.com and by following Trucksafe on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.