In March, Centurion’s Daman Grewal attended the Canadian Trucking Authority (CTA) Conference in Arizona. The conference coincided with the news that, following the sentencing of the truck driver in the Humboldt Bronco accident, the owner of the trucking company involved has now plead guilty to safety charges.
The trucking company was cited for numerous federal violations, including two counts of failing to maintain HOS (Hours of Service) logs, three counts of failing to monitor the compliance of a driver, and two counts of having more than one log for a given day. The final charge is under provincial regulations for failure to possess or follow a written safety program.
While many view the $5,000 fine the owner of the trucking company must pay as “a slap on the wrist”, Judge Sean Dunnigan declared that "this should serve as a warning to other owners of truck companies. This is a serious business, and we see why with tragic results… This is the end of a very, very sad tale."
Centurion’s Safety Training: An Investment with a Rewarding ROI
Centurion understands that the trucking industry is very competitive. However, as Grewal shares, “we have an obligation to ensure we conduct our business legally and professionally.” He also knows firsthand that this is not always the case.
Early in his career, Grewal worked for a trucking company that did not have a training procedure in place for newly hired drivers, and witnessed the following as a result:
- The carrier having its authority revoked in the province of Ontario
- Multiple accidents and claims
- Higher premiums for insurance
- Increased audits
- Multiple court cases
- Delays in delivery due to drivers constantly being pulled over at the weigh stations
Grewal quickly reasoned that not having a proper safety plan in place is a huge liability for trucking companies, both financially and legally.
“If these type of employers just understood the cost savings a good safety plan can have on a company, instead of thinking of it as an expense, there would be much safer drivers on the road,” Grewal shared.
After Grewal’s former employer had it’s license revoked and incurred massive costs related to its noncompliance of a proper safety plan, the owner finally developed a safety plan which had an almost immediate impact on the company. Most notably, there were fewer accidents and claims, and the drivers weren’t being pulled over at the scales as frequently as they had been before.
When Centurion was founded, it was built on a people and safety first foundation, and Centurion’s best in class training starts with creating awareness. Training is a vital part of Centurion’s onboarding process. With the mindset that “nothing is common sense until we explain it,” Centurion believes that it has the obligation to let its employees know of the legal ramifications of what their job entails.
Throughout the years Grewal has been personally responsible for training drivers and employees, he notes the following most common feedback.
- “Thank you so much for this training as my previous employer did not teach us this”, and
- “I did not know that I could personally face fines and jail time for not complying with the hours of service regulations.”
Grewal believes that so many drivers failing to comply with paperwork and ELD regulations is largely due to these drivers viewing regulations as company procedures, rather than understanding the legal requirements of the law. He believes that if more drivers knew the severity of their actions, there would be much more compliance on the highways.
Where Do We Go From Here?
While there are some trucking companies that provide robust training programs, there are still those that offer little to no training. However, there are many ways we could hold these companies accountable for not having proper safety practices.
- Trucking companies can self-audit themselves following the National Safety Code.
- The National Safety Code Authority can proactively provide random and periodic audits of trucking companies, siting observations and enforcing a corrective measures plan.
- The National Safety Code Authority can also establish a Driver’s Helpline for drivers to report when/if appropriate training is missed.
- Shippers can conduct audits of their trucking companies. While this is already done by some larger customers, many are choosing their trucking partners on price alone, as opposed to digging into safety and security policies and procedures.
Grewal also believes that so much of this awareness can be given to the drivers during licensing. He suggests including an entire section dedicated to educating drivers about the rules and regulations associated with their license and the consequences for breaking the law. He also suggests including examples of companies and drivers that have been charged criminally to further emphasize this point.
Now, sadly, the sentencing of both the driver and the trucking company responsible for the Humboldt Broncos tragedy can be added to this list.