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With cell phone and text laws varying state by state, PLM encourages dealers to have a policy in place that covers both talking and texting. “We recommend that drivers utilize cell phones in a designated safe area,” Pianko says. “But they should not use it while driving.”

A safe zone, according to Pianko, is defined as an area where the vehicle can be safely pulled off the road to a complete stop prior to activating or using a cell phone.

Load Safety

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Before a driver rolls out of the yard, they should always inspect their own vehicle including lights, mirrors and visibility. But they should also take extra care to make sure their load is secure.

“In our industry, you have various sizes of material on a truck—securing the load should be part of any ongoing training program,” Pianko says.

The driver and company do not want to be liable for pieces of building material— whether it’s sheetrock, roofing materials, plywood or framing—that suddenly fly off the flatbed and smash the windshield of the car behind them. And many of us have seen that one person who hasn’t secured their load, resulting in smashed sheetrock all over the road or worse. Additionally, loads can shift from one stop to the next and one street to the next.

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Employing gate checks by yard personnel can be an aid to the driver. An extra set of eyes might spot something amidst the load the driver might not have recognized.

When a driver is spotted doing something correctly, and they’ve built a strong run of spotless driving, it doesn’t hurt to recognize them.

F. Scott Grischow, a special accounts risk consultant at Federated, works with a company that rewards safe driving with gasoline gift cards that can be used to fill up the driver’s personal vehicle.

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According to Grischow, rewards such as gift cards allow managers to identify who is on their toes and paying attention to safety and who is just going through the motions.

“It encourages employees to pay attention to relevant issues and maintain safety awareness,” Grischow says. “And it tells them they’re doing a good job.”


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