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

I had a college professor who ended each semester with the question: “What did you learn this year?” The class responses typically hit the high points of the curriculum. Only later did I realize that the professor used those responses to compose our final exam!

But the lesson learned is that a look back often tells us what is important to remember and carry forward into the future. So, thank you to those who have read this column each month in 2023, and here we go… “What did you learn this year?” (Unlike my college prof, there will be no final exam.)

We talked about a lot of things this past year, from the key concerns of truck drivers in January, to driving safely in icy conditions or along flooded roadways in February and May, from road rage in April to speeding in June. Along the way we underscored the need to continually update federal forms in March, as well as continually exercise self-restraint in August. We urged awareness around athletic team buses in September and respect for crash responders  in October. We even peeked at possible new technology in July.

While the topics changed, one consistent theme repeated throughout 2023: the need to be proactive.

Safety depends on fleet managers and truck drivers taking a proactive stance – whether it is drivers looking down the road at developing traffic or fleet managers reviewing last year’s road closures to better plan this year’s operations. Proactivity avoids surprises and knee-jerk reactions. It is stable and productive… even if a bit predictable and devoid of the excitement of just “winging it.”

But becoming proactive is not easy. It is built on planning and preparation. Proactivity can mean change as new information is uncovered and old routines must adjust. It always means reminding people what should be done before it must be done… and few of us take kindly to reminders.

There will always be temptations to react… to the latest proposed trucking regulation or to that driver  looking at his cell phone instead of the road. This column will instead continue to look forward and show how planning, preparation, and proactivity lead to better safety and more productive trucking. Thank you all for all you do to promote safety and being proactive!=

Steve Vaughn is senior vice president of field operations at PrePass Safety Alliance, the provider of PrePass weigh station bypass and electronic toll-payment and management services. Vaughn served nearly three decades with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

This blog was originally published on the website