When it comes to attracting and keeping good drivers, there’s a lot to be said for increased wages. But even drivers who get paid well are going to look for employment elsewhere if their equipment is failing. Trucks, trailers, and other tools of the trade that are not well-maintained can negatively impact productivity—and therefore income for drivers and the company alike. Delaying or disregarding maintenance can also create hazards for drivers and the public. UnsafeTrucks.org notes, “If the equipment doesn’t work properly, it doesn’t matter how safe the truck driver is.”
What Drivers Want
Drivers are asking carriers to prioritize maintenance. Commenting on a Heavy Duty Trucking article about how to retain good talent, one driver advised, “Keep the equipment in top shape.” Another driver said he left a company that seemed “more worried about disappointing the shipper than their driver running around with bad equipment.” Proper maintenance not only creates a comfortable work setting but communicates to drivers that you value them and the role they play in the company. It boosts their confidence in being able to get their job done safely and efficiently, without the risks and delays of breaking down.
Safe and Sound
According to Arnold & Itkin, LLP, a trucking accident firm, the most common vehicle failures involve brakes, tires, lighting systems, and engine problems. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute conducted a study about the relationship between mechanical failures and the risk for accidents. Their findings revealed 55% of trucks involved in accidents had at least one mechanical violation and 30% had a condition that would have put them out-of-service if the issues had been flagged ahead of time.
Providing updated, well-maintained vehicles is an important factor in retention not only for safety reasons. Trucks are an office-on-wheels for drivers and a home-away-from home for days and weeks at a time. Beyond 60 hours-of-service in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days, they also eat, take breaks, and sleep in their vehicles before hitting the road again—so it makes sense they care a lot about the condition of their unique living environment.
Today, people use technology to manage almost every aspect of their lives, and there is an increasing expectation for job functions to be performed via electronic devices. Vehicles outfitted with modern solutions make tech-savvy drivers feel at home and enable them to perform their jobs with peace of mind. Meanwhile, you will have satisfaction of knowing you’re increasing efficiency while reducing costs for your business. In addition to automated scheduling and dispatch, electronic invoices, optimized routing, and other solutions to enable productive daily operations, GPS tracking solutions feature near real-time alerts that provide vehicle diagnostic data and preventive maintenance indicators to help keep your equipment in safe working condition.
The general public tends not to hold long-haul trucking in high regard, and it doesn’t help when they see uncared-for equipment, broken-down trucks, and news about truck-involved accidents. Drivers who are provided the best vehicles and tools are able to counter this negative image and have a sense of pride in their job and in the company, which makes them more likely to stay. In addition to boosting your company’s public image, keeping trucks maintained and outfitted with the latest technology can improve your reputation amongst potential recruits who could become loyal drivers.
With drivers asking for well-maintained equipment and accident statistics bearing out the need for improved monitoring for safety purposes, it’s clear that retention can be improved by investing in strategies to keep your trucks in tip-top shape. That’s easier than ever to do with the help of innovative solutions that offer additional benefits for your company and your drivers. Keep your vehicles running and your drivers earning, and you’ll see the payoff as your retention percentages improve.
Read the next article in our Driver Recruitment and Retention series - iGen: Appealing to a New Generation of Drivers
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