National Safety Code – Professional Driver Responsibilities

Truck drivers have a huge responsibility on the roads – for their safety as well as the safety of everyone else on the road. Professional drivers know that they must be cognizant of other drivers on the road but the challenge is to make sure that they do not become aggressive in their driving behavior. I have driven truck and have been involved with the industry for over forty (40) years, and things have changed for drivers. Vehicle drivers are more aggressive now and do not always use common sense when they are driving.

As a prudent professional driver it is incumbent to not only drive to be safe but also to allow for mistakes by other drivers. It can be difficult at times to not become agitated by the actions of other drivers but any mistakes or aggressive action taken by a professional driver can, and will, appear on the National Safety Code Carrier profile. This can mean demerit points to the Carrier’s profile and this, in turn, leads to action taken by the National Safety Code. This can mean a letter to the Carrier (the trucking company), a Safety Management Plan review by the National Safety Code, a quantifiable audit, or even a Show Cause Hearing that could ultimately lead to the loss of the National Safety Code certificate. All violations that you receive, including those involving trip inspections, road side inspections, load securement and driving violations, lead to a higher level of monitoring of the Carrier. Accidents and vehicle incidents can and will be included in the Profile.

Drivers are the backbone of any trucking company as they are out there and in full view all the time. Take the time to do things right; carry out trip inspections (both pre-trip and post-trip) and record all defects. If an audit is conducted and a driver has never recorded any defects, this means that 99% of the time the driver did not conduct a proper inspection as there will always be something small on a truck that requires repair and maintenance. This will not necessarily render a truck out of service but must be recorded and the truck repaired as soon as possible.

Ensure the loads are secured at all times using the proper number of tie-downs. Remember that all drivers must check their loads 80 kilometres after being loaded and then every 3 hours or 240 kilometres whichever comes first, and at every change of duty status. This must be recorded each time on the Hours of Service log.

Driving a commercial vehicle comes with many responsibilities – remember that being professional is a job that must be done 100% of the time. And like any professional, take the time to get updated on rules and regulations of the profession.

Visit our website to read more about the National Safety Code.

To register for the next National Safety Code training, visit BC Trucking Association.

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