One of the largest problems still in the industry is the pre-trip inspection process. Carriers complain about it, regulatory officials complain about it, and students complain about it. Go to any carrier and many of the violations on their books have to do with maintenance violations that should have been checked during an inspection.
I recently conducted an interview on my radio show of an ex-MTO inspector on how to get through the scales with clean inspections. We began to talk about the issues they were facing when he started as an inspection officer over twenty years ago. It was eye opening to see that we still face those same issues today. At that time wheels separating from vehicles was the hot topic and twenty years later wheels separating from vehicles is still the hot issue. For the most part wheels separating from vehicles should have been noticed in the inspection process.
I conducted some safety training for a client not to long ago on the inspection process. The fleet has long term drivers with fairly new equipment. All the drivers had over ten years experience and when they did the inspections they too were falling into the trap of just saying components and not really inspecting them. In other words they knew what they are suppose to check, but stopped checking.
There are two reasons for this and both come to the same conclusion. For new students the issue may be lack of knowledge and testing process. For older drivers it normally boils down to complacency. Anyone over ten years of experience will fall into the complacency trap. They know the process, but have stopped doing it. That’s the reason the issues that should have been solved twenty years ago are still at the forefront of the industry today. So what can be done?
If you are a new student take your training seriously. Don’t just memorize the process of doing an inspection or driving the truck, learn it!. Know why you are doing something and develop a system for yourself to complete the process properly.
If you are an older driver returning to the industry or are finding that you are becoming complacent with your process then get back the basics. Start doing the process of an inspection everyday and make it a goal to do inspections as thoroughly as possible. This way when on the road you will feel confident when going into an inspection station that you have done everything possible to be safe on the roadway.
This is an industry of continual learning and the biggest problem we have is complacency. There is a lot for a driver to do everyday keeping their trucks in good order and meeting the demands of the road. If you let complacency set in that is when you will find problems that you didn’t see coming. Learn, practice and try to improve everyday and you will be a top driver in the industry.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com