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Self-regulation in trucking balances safety without burdens

Interstate 95 has been the source of some trouble lately. The east coast interstate highway was closed in North Carolina earlier this month because of flooding from Hurricane Matthew. Then, a tanker truck accident briefly closed the interstate and caused an evacuation of nearby residents.

Death due to a traffic accident occurs every 12 minutes and two in five of these accidents involve a semi/tractor-trailer or tanker truck. Although the exact cause of the I-95 accident is not yet known, these dangerous incidents raise awareness for trucker safety both in the Carolinas and around the United States.

Is safety a top concern?

Interestingly enough, safety is not the most critical issue facing the trucking industry today. According to Overdrive, productivity loss due to an electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is the top industry concern.

In regards to safety, this news is good or bad for the industry as a whole depending on how you spin it. While ELDs should provide a better tracker for safety and compliance, overregulation of the industry can stack on costs and time with minimal benefit to a company's bottom line or driver happiness.

Establishing safe habits

How can drivers balance the need for safety with job requirements? The answer may lie in self-regulation. Building transparent habits among individual drivers can help the industry as a whole avoid burdensome regulations.

The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines to reducing on-the-job motor vehicle crashes. How can these guidelines be applied to the trucking industry? In addition to 'guidelines,' codified protections are in place for people who are injured while driving on the job.

It doesn't end with insurance

These protections are even more meaningful to those who make a business out of driving. Passenger car drivers who are injured in a truck-car accident are compensated from their personal auto and health insurance companies. Workers injured during on-the-job errands can also seek compensation from a trucking company through worker's compensation.

Injured drivers of passenger cars may file a separate personal injury lawsuit against the trucking company that caused their injury. It is often the threat of costly legal action by an injured party or a government agency against a trucking company that leads to self-regulation. Therefore, matching safety guidelines with industry best practices can be an optimal source for self-guided change.

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