Private Investment vs. Public Policy: Which Makes Trucking Safer?
For as long as drivers have been maneuvering 20-ton steel mammoths down America’s roadways, there have been discussions about how to make this practice as safe as possible.
Truckers know their skills are needed. The commercial truck industry handles the bulk of the nation’s freight, and provides steady work for people in all 50 states. But just how safe is the industry, and how far have things come?
Safety is something truckers embrace, contrary to certain negative stereotypes about the industry and its workers. Truck drivers and trucking groups have gone to great lengths to educate the public, reinvest in safety, and to work with policymakers in keeping their industry more secure.
But this brings up an interesting question – when it comes to keeping the roads safe, what goes further? The efforts of lawmakers and regulators, or the investments and endeavors of private organizations?
There are more laws on the books concerning trucking than most drivers would like to consider, and many of these regulations have impacted the way truckers can do their job. Organizations like the American Trucking Associations, Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, and the Women in Trucking Association have all worked with regulators and/or reach out regularly to make sure policy will help the industry without handicapping it.
While a lot has been accomplished for safety through the law, private endeavors have also helped quite a bit. Consider how about 40 percent of yearly spending on the trucking industry is related to training and encouraging proper driving habits.
Investing in new equipment is also a decision many private companies make without any legislative influence. The decision to use better gear plays a big role in helping companies deliver better results when it comes to safety.
Many people would say these two aspects of the regulatory process overlap. The need to comply with legal statues and the need to maintain a proper corporate image both play a role in a company’s decisions regarding safety.
A company that is unsafe will face both legal liability and backlash from customers. Whichever threat poses the greatest hazard may influence which has a bigger impact on overall safety.