4 Important Safety Tips for Your Linehaul Drivers

Unlike pickup and delivery (P&D) drivers, FedEx linehaul drivers have very little (if any) interaction with the general public. Instead, their job is to transport semi trucks carrying heavy loads of freight between FedEx Ground hubs all over the country, either individually or in teams. This requires them to have a valid commercial driver’s license, or CDL.

Because linehaul drivers are also on the road longer—with routes stretching several hundred to several thousand miles—there is a greater risk that something may go wrong while on the road.

Truck driving can be a dangerous business.

In the latest release from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, “driver/sales workers and truck drivers” was among the top 10 most dangerous occupations in the country, accounting for nearly one out of every five fatally injured workers. And in 2019, the most recent year for which the BLS had acquired statistics, “driver/sales workers and truck drivers incurred 1,005 fatal occupational injuries, the highest since this series began in 2003.”

For this reason, making sure your linehaul drivers are properly trained and prepared for anything will help to avoid accidents or other issues that can halt progress and negatively impact your business (and your bottom line).

Below are 4 important safety tips for you and your linehaul drivers.

Before they even begin their runs, there are several important steps you can take to ensure the safety of your drivers. And once out on the road, having the right knowledge and skills will help them stay safe behind the wheel.

  1. Preventative maintenance

It goes without saying that well-maintained trucks have fewer issues on the road. Follow a regular service and maintenance schedule (plus pre- and post-trip inspections) to stay on top of things like oil and coolant levels, brake pad wear and tear, and tire pressure. If you have not implemented one already, consider using a fleet telematics solution to optimize vehicle performance. In addition to continuously monitoring vehicle diagnostics and alerting you about needed repairs, fleet tracking software can also be used to observe driver behavior and safety.

  1. Well-planned routes 

From unpredictable weather conditions to construction and heavy traffic, it’s good to always have a backup plan so you can reroute drivers if the need arises. That way, you can avoid any potential issues or delays in transport. Route optimization software is a great way to plan ahead as well as find alternate routes if drivers run into problems on the road.

  1. Defensive driving

For linehaul drivers especially, defensive driving is a necessary skill and one that is often honed over time and with experience. Good defensive drivers know how to use their size and height to their advantage—not the other way around. Being higher up and able to see farther ahead on the road means linehaul drivers can scan the road for brake lights, accidents, changes in weather, and construction zones to anticipate and avoid potential issues by slowing down and/or changing lanes. Defensive driving is also about staying alert and knowing that other drivers on the road may not behave as expected.

  1. Preparation and personal safety

Healthy, well-rested, and focused drivers are the safest drivers. Make sure your drivers always get plenty of sleep before a run, and encourage them to take periodic breaks to stretch, move around, eat, and drink; good nutrition and hydration will often help to ward off fatigue. Talk to them about—or even require them take a class on—the dangers of distracted driving so they know what behaviors to avoid. (Many fleet telematics systems even come with dash cams that can detect if a driver is distracted by monitoring the angle of their head.)

Bottom line: Safe, smart drivers are essential to the success of your FedEx linehaul business.

For additional tips and information about building a strong driving team, visit the KR Capital blog. As the nation’s leading FedEx brokerage firm, we have worked with hundreds of contractors nationwide to help them buy and sell FedEx routes for a premium price. Call KR Capital today at (503) 664-0753 or fill out our online form to learn more.