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Podcast: Ignoring Safety Is Not A Risk Worth Taking with Sam Watts of Wattsmen Diesel House

Sam Watts

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Safety and compliance regulations in the freight industry can sometimes feel restrictive, but their importance cannot be overstated. While they may seem like barriers, these rules and compliance standards not only safeguards the well-being of drivers and the public, but also ensure operational efficiency and help maintain the integrity of the industry as a whole.

In this episode of Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast, Sam Watts, Owner of Wattsmen Diesel House, and Safety Supervisor for Meiborg Brothers, sits down with host and Truckstop Chief Relationship Officer, Brent Hutto, to discuss how to build out your safety program and why you should never ignore its importance.

Know Where You Are

To start building a foundation of safety for your business, you have to assess where you are honestly.

Ask questions like:

  • Do you have driver qualification files?
  • Do drivers have a valid CDL?
  • Do drivers have a valid medical card?
  • Have your drivers done a road test if needed?
  • Do you have an application on file for every driver?
  • Does every truck have a current registration?
  • Do you have IFTA stickers?

According to Sam, the key is to be realistic and brutally honest with yourself. You need to look at your entire business and see where you are currently sitting and review the safety guidelines to see where you are missing the mark. Then, you can work to bring yourself up to speed.

Also, don’t ignore problems. Doing so could cost you more in the long run. Safety experts are out there to help, but you need to be transparent about how you’re running your business so they can knowledgeably guide you.

Once everything is brought up to where it needs to be, then you can focus on maintenance. That’s the bulk of a safety program; you just need to get over the first hurdle.

Focus on the BASICs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses the seven BASICs to see how well a company performs in their safety. Sam explains, “Ignorance is not an excuse.” If you don’t understand what you don’t know, you could find yourself in trouble with the law.

The seven CSA BASICs categories are:

  • Unsafe driving
  • Crash indicator
  • Hours-of-service compliance
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Controlled substances
  • Hazardous materials compliance
  • Driver fitness

Each of these is equally important and has numerous violations that the FMCSA could fine you on. Fortunately, many resources are available to help online, including the FMCSA.

Advice for Brokers for Carrier Safety

Safety considerations don’t just affect carriers; they affect brokers, too.

“So if you are researching things as a broker, you’re researching carriers. Don’t ignore the red flags that the carrier might be presenting to you. They’re usually there for a reason.”

The key to staying ahead is to leverage the technology available to help you vet and monitor carriers thoroughly. It’s truly not worth the risk to ignore it.

To learn more about how to keep your business and drivers safe and compliant, tune into this episode of Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform.

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