(Excerpted from January 2024 Landing Gear)

Coaching Corner: Curbing Distracted Driving

By Mike Hitchcock

Award-winning Truck Safety Professional and ICSA Board Member


In reviewing hundreds of videos every day, ICSA is seeing an increase in distracted/inattentive driving. In many, they hear the driver talking on the phone, having the radio blaring, combined with going too fast for conditions. These distractions keep drivers from processing data fast enough to identify and react to sudden changes.

Despite all the safety features and equipment in newer trucks, crashes and fatalities continue to rise. From 2009 to 2019, truck crash fatalities rose by 48%. As an industry, we must do better. ICSA is here to help you improve highway safety and reduce the chances of being in a serious crash.

How do we do this? First, we respect professional drivers and acknowledge their skills. Second, we give you tips to create an open communication relationship with them that incorporates mutual trust and respect. Every experienced driver will tell you that once they learn the skills of operating their equipment, the next challenge is avoiding complacency. How can we help them?

Imagine you receive a video of your driver (or yourself) running a stop sign. You think to yourself “Well a crash hasn’t happened. No need to worry about it.” Is that the professional way to handle the safety violation or are we being complacent? Following up on events showing inattention is critical and is a real solution to reducing crashes. We have to identify and understand the cause before we can find a solution. We must view it as much more serious than just running a stop sign. It is actually a crash that didn’t happen and a serious miscue by an otherwise professional driver. Identify the “why” and help the driver understand what to do next time.

• Discuss what really happened.
• Work to identify the cause. Particularly if similar behavior has happened on multipole occasions. Dig down to the root cause.
• Identify the expectation and a solution. What is the smart thing to do next time this situation arises?
• Commit to using this knowledge to eliminate a reoccurrence in the future.

If you can’t convince yourself that the risk is eliminated, don’t settle. Reach out and consult with ICSA safety consultants. We are always available to help you. One of the most important things you can do is to implement ICSA’s model distracted driving policy. You may also reach out to ICSA, whose team is well-trained in ways to help you coach your drivers into better safety behavior. We love talking to members about strategies that help drivers improve while maintaining respect and professionalism.

NYC Congestion Toll Brings Trucker Lawsuit

12 June 2024

The MTA announced it would charge a toll on every vehicle entering the central business district of Manhattan, which it has named the “Congestion Relief Zone” - the portion of Manhattan below 60th Street.

New Registration System Will Be “One-Stop Shop” for Truckers

12 June 2024

ICSA is closely following the development of a new federal process for truckers to apply for and obtain operating authorities. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has told truckers that its new system for carriers to register their businesses will simplify the processes that now require several separate actions on the carrier’s part.

Large Majority of Truckers Overcharged for Towing

12 June 2024

A report released in late 2023 documented the extent to which trucking companies and their drivers have been victimized by predatory towing companies. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reported that 82.7% of truckers they surveyed had been overcharged by towing companies.