On Friday, August 9, Travelers and Northland Insurance, a division of Travelers with more than 65 years in the transportation industry, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), co-hosted a symposium where research on some of the top concerns of the trucking industry was discussed with fleet managers and insurance brokers. Topics were selected through a VTTI poll of fleet managers, and focused on the impact of driver wellness, managing distraction, hours of service regulations and new technology on safety.
“At Travelers and Northland, it is important for us to advance strategies that can help keep commercial drivers safer,” said Chris Hayes, Director of Transportation Services, Travelers. “The goal of this program was to outline solutions to help fleet managers address their most significant concerns and improve overall driver safety. The research discussed was conducted by the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence, where Travelers and Northland work with VTTI to continue advancing the science of roadway safety.”
During the symposium, workshops were led by VTTI experts and Travelers claim professionals at Travelers’ Claim University to provide fleet managers and trucking industry leaders with tools to help improve driver safety. In addition, Travelers representatives walked through an accident reconstruction display, discussed tactics for preventing cargo theft and shared ways fleet managers can help minimize risks. Tours of the Travelers’ Heavy Equipment Laboratory were led by the company’s claim professionals and featured discussions on the risks associated with operating large vehicles as well as tips to reduce potential losses.
Driver Wellness Impacts SafetyDriver wellness was a topic in many of today’s workshops, particularly when it came to fatigue. Dr. Erin Mabry, Research Associate for the Center for Truck and Bus Safety at VTTI, focused on how safety may be impacted by common health concerns such as fatigue and sleep apnea. One in four commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers in the U.S. may be at risk for moderate to severe sleep apnea, and the majority of sufferers are undiagnosed and untreated, according to VTTI.“The typical lifestyle of a CMV truck driver may include irregular work and sleep hours, physical inactivity, poor eating habits, and mental and physical stress,” Mabry said. “Health interventions that target weight management are critical for addressing the many components of poor health that is widespread among the population.”