Cost management is a key component of operating a successful transportation business. After factoring in maintenance, wages and fuel expenses, some transportation companies may have relatively small profit margins.
Keeping vehicle maintenance costs as low as possible is also important, although obviously maintaining a fleet and top operating condition is also crucial for safety and liability purposes. Companies sometimes err on the side of cost reduction when making certain decisions about their fleets, which could lead to major liability concerns later. There are two particular safety purchases where an extra investment may be a smart decision on the part of a commercial transportation company, even when margins are tight.
Dashboard camera systems
Dashboard cameras, also called dashcams, serve a crucial role in the collision analysis process. The video footage that they capture will either exonerate or implicate a commercial driver after a wreck. There are very basic camera systems that record the road in front of a vehicle. However, many industry specialists recommend cameras with 360-degree recording, meaning that they capture the inside of the cab as well. The combination of seeing what a truck driver does in response to a crash and what happens on the road in front of them can give a better idea of what really happened and may make all the difference when resolving the aftermath of a recent wreck.
Every trailer typically needs to have a rear underride guard installed, but what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires for technical compliance does not fully overlap with what research shows provides the best protection. Trucking companies can limit their liability by investing in stronger and wider guards than the FMCSA requires. They may also choose to invest inside underride guards even though they are not yet a mandated safety feature. The investment in better underride guards could theoretically protect the business from future liability if one of its drivers causes a crash, as the company can show that it took every step reasonably possible to minimize the severity of the collision by investing in the right safety equipment.
Balancing the short-term cost with the long-term protection offered by these upgrades may help executives and owners make choices that can minimize a company’s potential (costly) legal exposure down the road.