Drivers, technicians are key to avoiding out-of-service violations

By Gino Fontana

Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange

I was reviewing the results of the recent Brake Safety Day inspections. In just one day across the U.S. 1,151 commercial vehicles were placed out of service because of brake violations. A total of 8,658 commercial vehicles in the U.S. were inspected that day, meaning 13.1% of the trucks inspected were placed out of service because of some problem with their brakes.

This got me thinking about the important role inspections of all kinds play in helping ensure that the trucks going down the road are in good operating condition and as safe as possible.

We all know that keeping trucks running properly starts with quality pre- and post-trip inspections. Drivers are a fleet’s daily eyes and ears when it comes to identifying developing problems. It is critical to remind them how important they are in your effort to ensure that all assets leaving your yard have no defects so that they will give these inspections the time and attention they deserve and not just go through the motions.

Preventive maintenance service and inspections are your next best tool in ensuring fleet safety. Make sure you track PM compliance to be certain that every truck and trailer is getting the proper PM service at the scheduled time. Missed PMs should be taken seriously, and every effort should be made to schedule an asset back in the shop as soon as possible.

In addition, every time a truck is in your shop, your technicians should be conducting a regular safety inspection of key components that could take a truck out of service during a roadside inspection or could cause the truck to be a danger on the road.

Sometimes when we do things on a routine basis (like pre- and post-trip inspections or PM inspections), we can get complacent and not give them our full attention—pencil whipping them, if you will.

Fleet managers need to find ways to let both drivers and technicians know what they do in terms of inspections matters. And that the fleet counts on them to be the first line of defense against problems on the road. Make sure you are doing everything you can to reinforce with drivers and technicians just how important they are to the safety of your fleet.

Clearly, the industry still has work to do because even knowing about the brake safety blitz, 13.1% of trucks that were inspected were found to be deficient enough to be taken out of service. I wonder what that percentage would have been if didn’t know the safety blitz was coming?

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