How To Keep Truck Drivers Current On The Rules of the Road
There are few industries across the country that have managed to escape increased regulation, and the trucking business is no exception. The big change for truck drivers is the new hours-of-service (HOS) laws, which went into effect in July 2013. In addition to those rules of the road, there is a variety of safety restrictions and practices we have to be aware of and compliant with so we can operate legally and safely. To keep up-to-date, ARG makes education a priority.
- Safety videos. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) produces videos on everything from buckling up and driver fatigue to “inadequate surveillance” and following too closely. These are standard rules that videos can help introduce and reinforce. Videos on updated rules are equally essential so we know what’s changing and how to adjust.
- Safety meetings. ARG’s safety department holds mandatory safety meetings every quarter to keep us current, as well as to discuss common mistakes or injuries and how to avoid them.
- Current DOT training materials. Whenever anything new from the DOT comes down the pipe, the government provides updated training materials. Typically, it’s a CD with a lesson and a quiz. Our safety department maintains a library of these and other materials that we can access if we have questions or concerns. By law, for instance, we’re required to have resources explaining certain hazmat terminology available to employees. Hazardous materials are listed by “UN” numbers (for example, petroleum gases is UN1075), and we have to be aware of what these numbers mean for our own safety – and because our drivers can be stopped and questioned at any time by the DOT.
- Follow-up training. Some areas require updated training and/or recertification. Hazmat is one example: new training is required every three years. ARG holds seminars that keep our drivers up to date on any changes that affect how we haul and handle these materials.
There’s a lot more to truck driving than most people think. We don’t just sit there staring at the scenery until we get to our destination. We have to maintain our training and stay completely current on applicable laws and regulation so our loads arrive safely and any risk is significantly mitigated.