Seek Opinions for Specs

One major fleet director of maintenance who specs trucks says he includes input from the director of safety and the maintenance managers.

He sends them a copy of the specs to review before meeting to discuss any changes they want to make. He also gets input from drivers and technicians on what might make the equipment better and more user-friendly.

And, he makes sure that trucks are upgraded regularly.

According to this manager, the driver is pretty much the key to a safe operation. Consequently, he tries to make his control of the vehicle as efficient and safe as possible. He says that manufacturers share the newest safety features with him, many of which are incorporated into the new equipment specs. And drivers share their problems with him concerning visibility, dash controls and seat comfort.

Many components are field-tested to determine which components perform the best in terms of cost and efficiency. All the information is discussed with the group, and if he determines a feature will effectively improve safety on the vehicle, he retrofits it on the fleet.

New tractors are equipped with dual-fender mirrors and heated spot and side mirrors to improve the driver's visibility of blind spots and help drivers see better in bad weather. Tractors also have dual “porch lights” so the driver can see better while hooking his trailer, and swivel interior lights so he can easily see his paperwork. Line tractors also are equipped with fog lights to help the driver's visibility and safety on the road.