Fleets often focus the bulk of their safety training on avoiding highway collisions. This is reasonable given that large vehicles driving at high speeds can cause significant and costly damages, injuries, and fatalities. However, almost two-thirds of delivery-related collisions occur in parking lots. While they are less lethal, they are often more costly as they fail to exceed insurance deductibles. This means fleets have to pay for the repairs out of pocket. These expenses add up quickly, costing trucking companies thousands of dollars every year. In addition, while parking lot crashes aren’t as destructive as high-speed highway accidents are, they can still cause injuries.
Fleets should take the following actions to improve parking lot safety for delivery drivers:
- Remain vigilant for distractions. Truck drivers are often on tight delivery timelines. Delays outside of their control such as traffic, construction, and accidents can slim those margins even further. With the pressure on the driver to keep deliveries on track, this can cause them to rush and engage in distracted driving practices. For example, many drivers’ thoughts may race ahead to the paperwork involved with a delivery. They may reach around the cab for papers, pens, or their ELD before they’re fully parked. Frequent training and reminders can help drivers remain focused to stay safe.
- Inspect the lot before parking. Almost two-thirds of parking lot accidents involve a stationary object like a pole or an awning. If a truck driver needs to maneuver into a tight spot, it’s best to get out and survey the area. This way, the driver can identify any potential fixed objects to avoid these types of accidents.
- Identify and avoid hazardous locations. Fleets should identify locations with high-accident rates and instruct drivers to avoid them (i.e. fueling stations with tight parking and sharp turns). Fleet managers should also encourage office staff to schedule deliveries during timeframes with less traffic coming and going. Less congestion means less chance of a collision with other drivers.
- Teach best practices during training. Many truck drivers utilize back-up cameras and other technology to help them back into parking spots or unloading bays. While this technology is helpful, drivers should train with a spotter to help them remain as safe as possible as well as avoid backing collisions. Fleet drivers should practice with parking cones and train drivers to recognize overly challenging parking spaces.
- Recognize safe drivers. Providing bonuses, incentives, or recognition for safe drivers can reinforce safety practices across the fleet. For example, providing a reward for drivers who remain incident-free for a certain amount of time or the driver with the most improved safety record can create friendly competition amongst drivers while reducing backing accidents.
While parking lot accidents are often much lower stakes than a full-speed collision on the highway, they are still costly and can lead to injuries. Taking proactive steps to reduce accidents of all types improves driver safety as well as protects profits. Contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers to learn how we can help reduce your trucking company’s risk.