A long-haul truck driving career has a range of benefits. It can be a lucrative profession, offers
opportunities to see different areas of the country, and tends to be accessible to people from a
variety of backgrounds. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t also risks.
Being on the road with a large vehicle presents significant safety hazards. Some of these come
from the inherent dangers of sharing the road with other drivers or facing unpredictable
conditions. Others relate to attitudes, behaviors, or cognitive functions of the drivers themselves.
It is, therefore, vital for logistics or fleet managers and drivers to collaborate on actions that
ensure the safest possible experiences for everyone involved.
Addressing Behavioral Factors
One of the most important aspects of ensuring long-haul driver safety is to review the actions of
drivers themselves. While intentional recklessness is likely to be a relative rarity, this doesn’t
mean that unintentional hazardous behavior isn’t a factor. Therefore, fleet managers should
prioritize taking steps that address potential behavioral risks among drivers.
Distracted driving is a dangerous influence on road safety and can take a range of forms. Some
of the most common causes include texting while driving, eating or drinking at the wheel, and
simply reaching for items in the passenger seat. There can also be cognitive distractions as a
result of thoughts unrelated to driving.
Given that laws related to distracted driving are relatively limited, it’s important for trucking
companies and drivers to take responsibility for mitigating distracted driving upon themselves.
This includes educating drivers about the damaging effects even slight distractions can have.
It’s also worth performing regular assessments to identify specific distracted behaviors so
businesses can provide the most relevant guidance to drivers.
Driving while tired can also be considered a form of distracted driving, but it’s certainly
prominent and serious enough to warrant individual attention. The issues here aren’t just about
the risks of falling asleep at the wheel, although that is a significant factor. Nevertheless,
drowsiness and exhaustion can negatively impact drivers’ cognitive functioning, which can lead
to dangerous driving.
As a result, it’s important for logistics managers to implement protocols that mitigate tiredness.
Simply limiting drivers’ shift hours on the road may not be enough. Businesses must also ensure
their staff take regular breaks and have access to nutritional food on long-hauls.
Clear communication is essential to ensure that long-haul drivers have the information and
support they need to maintain safety. Certainly, receiving clear instructions and seasonal
weather advice at the outset of journeys is good. However, given how much conditions can
change while on the road, effective in-transit communication procedures are essential real-time
Reliable Communication Tech
To best influence safety, it’s important for logistics managers and dispatchers to establish a
range of reliable tools. Certainly, citizens band (CB) radio and cell phones can be useful ways to
speak directly to drivers. However, these methods also need to be supported by non-audio
options in case drivers are in loud areas, such as loading docs and truck stops. Therefore, short
messaging service (SMS) tools that send text versions of communications are also useful.
How communication tools are used can be as important as the tech itself. When trucking
companies set clear standards and practices for communication for drivers and dispatchers,
they can maximize safety on the road. Firstly, there should be set times for regular check-ins with drivers. When everybody understands the expectations here, it can be easier to follow up
on missed check-ins that may be the result of accidents or issues. There should also be clarity
on what communication channels are used for specific purposes.
Utilizing Tools in the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a prevalent presence in a range of industries. This
refers to an ecosystem of connected devices and sensors. These tools collect and share data in
ways that help optimize processes. In trucking, the IoT is increasingly being utilized to bolster
In order for devices in the IoT to reliably share data over a network in a way that impacts safety,
they need to be connected to the internet. Mobile hotspots can ensure consistent internet
access while on the road, particularly when devices are connected to 5G services. Drivers and
logistics managers can also set up strong security protocols on a hotspot, which protects
systems from interference or data breaches. Hotspots can broadcast from cellular devices, but
they can also take the form of dedicated mobile routers.
Diver Assistance Systems
Sensors in the IoT can connect to driver assistance systems in vehicles to respond to a range of
hazards. 360-degree video tools are able to both provide drivers with an unobstructed view of
their vehicles, as well as sense hazards in blind spots. Sensors throughout the vehicle can also
track the motion of surrounding vehicles and objects in order to apply automatic emergency
Fatigue Monitoring Solutions
The IoT can also support effective fatigue monitoring tools. Cameras in the cab track facial
signs of drowsiness, while sensors throughout the vehicle gather data that can help software to
detect steering patterns associated with fatigue. These elements can both trigger warnings for
drivers and send information to logistics managers.
Long-haul truck drivers are subject to significant safety risks, so it’s important to take steps to
mitigate these. This should begin by reducing the potential issues with driver behavior, such as
distracted driving practices or operating while tired. Improved communication also ensures that
fleets are able to provide real-time advice and responses to hazards, through reliable tech tools
and consistent comms protocols. The IoT also helps bolster safety practices with driver
assistance systems and fatigue monitoring.
It’s vital to note, though, that none of these elements are one-and-done solutions. Managers
and drivers must continue to assess changing needs and hazards. This ensures that employees
in this field have the most relevant knowledge and tools to address the challenges they face on
Indiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. An
expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle, you can connect with her on