VTBA’s Certified Master Truck Driver program is a prestigious program that recognizes the career driver who is a master of his craft; no other transport industry has a program such as this. These safe, experienced drivers are the industry’s role models, and anything that we can do to highlight the positive aspects of our industry is in every motor carrier’s interest…and in the long run, to its credit.
Safety is the fundamental principle that keeps any company engaged in transportation in business. The external focus on safety by enforcement agencies is intense, not only in regulatory compliance, but also in driver behavior out on the road. Trucking, by its inherent design, is, perhaps, the most visible means of commercial transport in the world.
Even when faced with a shortage of qualified safe drivers, making sure that your drivers are first-rate in their profession should be a high priority. As safety plays such an important role in your company, it is in your best interest to employ safe drivers. But, what makes a safe driver, and how do you encourage your drivers to place more emphasis on safety? Making them a certified master truck driver is one way to promote safety and to recognize the best drivers who work for you.
As trucking is so visible, safety also has to be visible and it has to be a company’s highest priority. Driving, just the act of driving, is the most dangerous form of activity that any person will perform on a daily basis. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. Any commercial vehicle driver, has as one of his or her responsibilities, the obligation to “drive with due regard for the safety of others.”
Every driver, regardless of occupation, has the obligation to operate their vehicle in a safe and responsible manner, whether they know it or not. Every driver has the responsibility to behave on the road in such a manner that will contribute to the safety of highway use, in short, to reduce the potential for a vehicle collision or property loss. Enter at this point the multitude of distractions available to the average driver and the poor driving habits of the public and you have a recipe for disaster.
A safe driver is one who follows the rules of the road which have been developed over a period of 90 years’ experience. All traffic rules and those governing movement of vehicles on roads and highways, are designed to reduce the potential for a loss, either personal injury and/or property. The safe driver follows these rules in order to minimize the potential for loss of life, not because he or she wants to avoid a (costly) ticket for an infraction. This is as it should be.
Consider that when there is a positive incident involving one of your drivers – you may get a phone call from a citizen, perhaps even a customer or potential customer, extolling your driver’s actions on the road. That positive influence stops at your front door, though. Meanwhile, a negative incident is like the proverbial stone thrown into a pond: the waves radiate out beyond the reach of your parking lot, blackening the eye of your company and the industry as a whole. It’s a bad driver’s actions that determine your company’s public image more than the safe driver’s actions.
What you want is a safe and conscientious driver, one who obeys the rules of the road, is courteous and considerate, one who performs a pre- and post-trip in order to safeguard his vehicle, your company, and his and your company’s reputation. The trucking industry has few role models in a world that has synthetic role models, e.g., sports figures, TV and movie personalities, etc. One of the role models in our industry should be the driver-trainer, the one who oversees the training of the new or returning driver, the one who leads by example and inspires others to be safety conscious.
And so is the driver who is a master of his craft, the career driver, the one who does not have any traffic citations, who has logged more than a million accident-free miles and who is the one who pulls off the side of the road to help a fellow motorist change a tire, or makes a call for assistance, provides help and assistance at an accident site, puts out a fire, or pulls somebody out of a burning vehicle. He is probably also the one who helps out at the local Little League, or takes part in a community service of some sort, or at the company is the driver-trainer. This is the certified master truck driver, and every company should have one.
Take the time to look over your drivers and see which of them qualifies for the VTBA Master Truck Driver Certification. It is a select honor and one that deserves your, and the industry’s attention.
If we don’t honor our drivers, who will?