SMS Issues Reminder About Trucking Safety During COVID-19

"The foundation of commercial motor vehicle accident analysis is the determination of preventability. Each accident must be judged to determine preventability, modify behavior and prevent future accidents.” — Christien Ducker SMS President



NORWALK, CONNECTICUT, UNITED STATES, April 27, 2020 -- Safety Management Systems, Inc. (SMS), a company specializing in U.S. Department of Transportation compliance and accident preventability determination, has issued a safety reminder to trucking companies and vehicle fleets operating during the COVID-19 coronavirus.


While roadways are much less congested during COVID-19 restrictions, companies should take the opportunity to train and remind their drivers about maintaining safe space cushioning.


According to SMS president Christien Ducker, “The reduction we’re seeing in road traffic provides a visible reminder of how important it is to maintain safe space cushioning. It’s easier now while there are fewer trucks and vehicles on the road, but it’s going to be as important as ever once our highways and local roads are back to normal.”


In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA, vehicle accidents cost companies an estimated $60 billion per year in medical expenses, leave, property damage and other liabilities. This is in addition to lost lives, injuries, and personal impact on employees.


According to Ducker and her team at SMS, the key to saving lives and avoiding these costs is prevention, which starts with best practices and proper accident analysis.


“The foundation of commercial motor vehicle accident analysis is the determination of preventability,” Ducker says. “Each accident must be judged individually to analyze all available facts and use established industry guidelines to determine preventability, modify behavior, and increase the driver’s understanding of how to prevent future accidents.”


One of those guidelines is for large trucks to maintain at least one second of space for every 10 feet of truck length when following other vehicles at speeds below 40 miles per hour. For speeds over 40 mph, trucks should leave one additional second.


In adverse conditions such as bad weather, poor road conditions, low visibility or high traffic, this space cushioning should be doubled. This allows for safe breaking and time to respond to unexpected actions.


To help implement these and other drive safety guidelines, SMS is working with leading carriers and vehicle fleets to determine accident preventability and implement continuous driver safety improvements through a combination of software and services called Fleet360.


Through Fleet 360, SMS experts are working from home to help companies investigate their accident data and determine preventability based on recommendations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It also recommends accident-specific countermeasures for improved driver safety an education.