By: Steve Vaughn, vice president of field operations, PrePass Safety Alliance

In the 2019-2020 college football season there were 40 bowl games at the Division 1A level alone. Add to that the Division 1AA playoffs, the NFL and all the preceding regular season games at every level of the sport, and it’s no wonder at the beginning of the season TV announcers yelled, “Are you ready for some football?!”

The teams and players clearly were ready. They had put in months of physical training, practice and preparation, then honing and adjusting their skills weekly for each successive competitor. All this effort was from players and coaches who already knew the game.

So it can be asked, “Are you ready to be safe?” You and your compatriots – fellow drivers, safety supervisors, maintenance technicians, carrier management – already know the “game,” too. But truck safety, just like playing a football game, requires continual preparation and adjustment. Circumstances change – on the road, in the industry, with the equipment and among the myriad rules and regulations. It takes focus, practice and attention to stay on top safely.

Fortunately, help is available. As competitive as trucking may be, safety is one area where carriers, drivers, industry personnel and law enforcement openly share. Simply put, your safety is affected by the other drivers and other vehicles on the road. So it makes sense to come together, exchange knowledge, practice and train.

Much of that group training takes place within associations. Here are some regional examples of safety training available at trucking associations and law enforcement groups. Look around for training opportunities near you. Sessions may require association or safety council membership or a registration fee. But the value of your investment can be multiplied by the insights and perspectives shared there by participants.

Resources for training to improve your truck safety

East.  The Virginia Trucking Association offers safety and compliance sessions.

Midwest.  At the Iowa Motor Truck Association, its Council of Safety Management, offers timely webinars at multiple locations.

South.  The Tennessee Trucking Association offers North American Transportation Management Institute training sessions for carrier risk managers, safety and security directors, maintenance managers, and commercial driver trainers.

West.  The California Highway Patrol wants you to be safe. Through its Commercial Industry Education Program the patrol offers free educational safety seminars for commercial drivers, carriers, and drivers of passenger vehicles.

There are also national groups that offer safety and other training.

 Learn what roadside inspectors look for.  April 6-10 in Kent, OH. Sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Hear directly from law enforcement experts.

Tune up your safety and maintenance programs.  Every program can be run more efficiently. The Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations offers many different types of training, at its annual meeting and other events.

Be a safer owner-operator.  The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) offers its “Truck to Success” training, May 5-7 in Blue Springs, MO, which includes intensive briefing on FMCSA safety audits. Even though the course if designed for owner-operators, it’s also ideal for small fleets.

These are just a sampling of the educational and training opportunities available in the trucking industry. Check with your state trucking association or state commercial vehicle enforcement agency for opportunities near you.

Steve Vaughn is vice president of field operations for PrePass Safety Alliance, the provider of the truck weigh station bypass system PrePass, as well as toll payment and trucking data visualization technology. He previously served with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

This blog originally appeared on the FleetOwner.com IdeaXchange.

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