9 truck driver safety meeting topics to cover

truck driver seat view

Safety doesn’t happen by accident. It is an initiative that requires a commitment to education and implementation. Routine safety meetings are an effective way to demonstrate professionalism and leadership within the construction industry. They also show employees that their safety and wellbeing is important. 

When employee safety is recognized as the highest priority, they feel valued and are more likely to be ambassadors for these initiatives. Implementing routine safety meetings keeps employees safe and informed. 

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How often should safety meetings take place?

Safety meetings should take place monthly or quarterly, depending on your business. For construction companies, we recommend monthly. They shouldn’t take longer than one or two hours to complete, so be sure to block off ample time for all employees to attend.

Truck driver safety meeting topics

It is important to cover all necessary safety topics during these monthly meetings. Safety procedures assess and mitigate risk and decrease the number of incidents on the road and on the  job site.

Truck driver safety meeting topics for construction companies:

  1. Pre-trip inspections 
  2. Work zone safety 
  3. Safe driving distances
  4. Distracted driving 
  5. Defensive driving
  6. Safety in bad weather 
  7. Load safety
  8. Operation guidelines
  9. Fleet management software

Any additional company or equipment updates or changes relating to safety should also be included in these meetings. Continue reading to get full details on each meeting topic.

1. Pre-trip inspections

This daily safety check can often be missed, forgotten, or overlooked by truck drivers. But it is important to include daily checks in any safety meeting! These checks are a way to:

  • Remind truck drivers of their importance
  • Enforce how easily it can be done
  • Remind them that they can save their lives and the lives of others
  • Highlight how they can make their jobs a lot easier in the long run and day-to-day

Key talking points:

  • Why pre-trip inspections are important. Remind drivers that checklists can reduce headaches and save lives. Inspections should be done at the start of any shift, before the vehicle moves to see if everything is in working order.
  • How to perform a pre-trip inspection. Review the inspection items on the checklist and remind drivers how easy the inspection is to perform.

2. Work zone safety 

Work zone safety is essential to assuring everyone on the job site is safe and gets to go home at the end of the day. The work zone is any area or space that is used to do work. For drivers, this means the vehicle itself and anywhere it operates. 

It is important for drivers to always be aware of their surroundings. Before the driver gets into the truck or piece of equipment, they should do a quick walk-around to check for hazards or obstacles. 

It is also best practice to honk the horn and move slowly when moving the vehicle from its parked position. Including this information in your safety meetings will serve as a good reminder for your construction team.

3. Safe driving distances

Whether your drivers are operating within the construction site or on city roads, it is important they have a good understanding of safe driving distance (sometimes referred to as a safe stopping distance). Within the construction site, vehicles and heavy equipment may need to operate closely to complete a task. Safe distances will vary from site to site and task to task, so please customize this for your company and its projects.

On public roads, safe driving distance will vary depending on the road conditions. In good weather conditions, drivers are required to leave a minimum of two full seconds between them and the vehicle in front of them. In poor weather conditions, drivers are required to leave a minimum of four full seconds between them and the vehicle in front of them. Be sure to include tips on how to measure safe driving distances into the safety meeting.

How to measure safe driving distances 

To measure safe driving distances, while driving, pick a landmark on the side of the road. For example a light post, electrical box, street sign, etc. Once the vehicle directly ahead has passed the mark, have the driver count upwards, starting at one. If their vehicle passes that same marker before they get to their safe driving distance number (e.g. two or four), this is an indication that they are following too closely and should slow down to give more space.

4. Distracted driving

When people hear the words ‘distracted driving’, they often think about a driver using their phone while driving. This is only one example for distracted driving. There are actually three types of distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distraction is when a driver takes their hands off the wheel. Visual distraction is when a driver takes their eyes off the road. And cognitive distraction is when a driver takes their mind off the act of driving. 

About eight people are killed every day in motor vehicle crashes in America that are reported to involve a distracted driver. If a driver is distracted while operating a vehicle, they could miss important road signs like speed limits, crosswalks, or stop signs, which could result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Drivers should practice safe driving by staying alert and focused on driving and using hands free devices when necessary. 

5. Defensive driving

Practicing defensive driving is one of the most effective approaches to safe driving.  Defensive driving is a set of skills that allow drivers to defend themselves against possible collisions caused by bad drivers, distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and poor weather. 

Defensive driving techniques include:

  • Staying alert and looking ahead to spot hazards or issues well ahead of time so the driver has ample opportunity to react if necessary.
  • Scanning the road and the mirrors so drivers are aware of their surroundings, where vehicles around them are, and how they’re behaving.
  • Using signal lights to indicate intention to other drivers on the road.
  • Avoiding vehicle blind spots by driving either ahead or behind other vehicles beside them on the road.
  • Always having an “escape route” if something goes wrong on the road, they have a clear path to safety (e.g. the shoulder of the road, a free lane to the left or right, etc.).
  • Minimizing distractions inside the vehicle (e.g. phones, food, drinks, etc.).
  • Following safe driving distance guidelines by always leaving two to four seconds of space and ensuring drivers behind them are leaving ample space as well.
  • Driving the speed limit and adjusting speed according to weather conditions

6. Safety in bad weather

In many regions across North America, the weather can change in a matter of minutes. A clear morning can easily turn into heavy rain or snow in the afternoon and compromise the safety of drivers on the road. Poor weather conditions can also impact job site safety and productivity. Bad weather is a topic that should absolutely be incorporated into any safety meeting. It should cover both highway and city street safety information as well as job site safety.

Driving safely on highway and city streets

Educating drivers on safe driving habits during bad weather will keep them safe, those around them safe, and vehicles in good condition. This section can get pretty detailed and granular, full of many tips to help drivers stay safe and in control. We recommend you do not skip out on this section or take it lightly.

Driving safely on job sites

Since construction sites are not always guaranteed to have roads, drivers may be operating machinery on gravel or dirt roads. When there is rain or snow, these “roads” can become muddy, icy, or unstable. Operating a heavy piece of machinery on compromised ground can be dangerous for the driver and those nearby.

7. Load safety 

For construction companies, it is critical to include load safety as a topic in safety meetings. Loads should always be balanced and never overloaded. Equipment like dump trucks should always load on solid, level ground. 

It will be essential to include the consequences that could happen if these load safety guidelines are not met. Providing a visual example like an image or a video can really help drive these messages home.

8. Operation guidelines

Every construction company should have their own set of operational guidelines. This may vary across all the different pieces of equipment, as well. It would be valuable to include this information in the safety meeting as well as other guidelines from the DoT and basic driving laws

For example:

  • Construction equipment drivers should never operate alone, under the influence of alcohol or other substances, or while fatigued.
  • Driver and site workers should be well-versed in hand signals and other safety protocols and procedures on and off site.

9. Fleet management software 

A safety meeting topic that may have been overlooked in the past is fleet management software. If your company has implemented a new software system that helps with dispatching, tracking, and driver safety, we recommend adding this to your monthly safety meeting itinerary. 

Fleet management software like Tread uses GPS tracking that helps fleet managers, dispatchers, and drivers all work in a more safe and productive manner. Its advanced dispatching system allows dispatchers to communicate sensitive or urgent information to drivers instantly and all at once. Job notes can be updated with weather warnings, site safety alerts, or issues with load materials and drivers will immediately receive a notification.. Tread also collects information on driver behavior so fleet managers can see when operators are driving in a way that is unsafe and take corrective action.

Learn more about fleet management software

If your construction company is not using fleet management software or you’re looking for a management software upgrade, contact Tread and request a personalized demo. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about fleet safety and fleet management software and show you how our software can benefit your company’s safety and productivity.