Complacency 101: The Cause and Cure


The commitment from management is to provide a working environment free from unsafe conditions that may affect the health of the employee, the safety of the employee, and the safety of the public. The review of losses, unsafe driving behaviors, injuries, and near misses can be the result of several different items. However, the “root cause” that can often be ignored or unseen is complacency within the operation, management, and driver. This article will take a look at some causes and cures for complacency.


Complacency is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”.

The unsafe acts (speeding, multiple lane changes, backing without looking, etc.) may be a result of drivers becoming complacent with their driving habits. They begin to rely on their past experiences and skills to complete future tasks. The result of these actions could be what leads to the next incident that affects the company and its reputation.


There are many causes of complacency are many and can be different for each person, as everyone has different goals, needs, and values. Therefore, training and safety programs need to be adjusted for each driver so everyone’s needs are met. The following are some top causes that may lead to complacency: 

  1. Repetitive functions on a continual basis without incident

  2. Focus on production and not safety (shortcuts, risky behaviors)

  3. Management does not expect high safety performance

  4. The company does not review each accident/behavior in the same manner. The changes usually occur after serious accidents/injuries.

  5. Employees are not corrected after unsafe behaviors

  6. Distracted driving


The “cure” for complacency cannot be easily summed up, but may be achieved through deliberate, continued effort in applying safety strategies and habits to the operation. The company must remain focused on continued improvement and not rely on past successes. The continued efforts could include the following:

  1. Focus on self-improvement

  2. Safety training (continued training programs)

  3. Share all safety concerns and safety information

  4. Correct unsafe behaviors 

  5. Create high performance standards and enforce them

There is a fine line with being content and becoming complacent. Therefore, each person controls whether or not complacency creeps into your home life, work life, or other areas. The focus should be on what is ahead, the next load, the vehicles in front of them, how to secure loads, and other several thousand decisions made each day on the road. The management team can act as motivators, mentors, and trainers to each driver and can have a great impact on reducing complacency within the organization. Remember, it is not just the company that relies on an alert, attentive driver, but our families as well.

For additional information on complacency, contact Great West Casualty Company for any questions or concerns. Also, feel free to contact us with any truck insurance questions or quotes. 

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