I think we can all agree that safety is important for its own sake, especially when we are talking about driving multi-ton trucks around. But there are plenty of specific reasons why businesses are looking to improve safety in their fleets. For example, there are issues of liability and risk assessment that must be paid every year when maintaining a fleet. If there should be an accident with, say, an 18-wheeler that results in a fatality, this could be a financial disaster in addition to being a human tragedy. Such an event can cost companies millions of dollars in legal fees while impacting the corporate image, company morale and the bottom line.
Fortunately, though, there are technologies that companies can leverage to influence and change driver behaviors in order to mitigate risks. The same telematics technology that can save fuel can help managers understand the safety characteristics of their fleets and how to change driver behavior.
I recently spoke with Joyce Tam, product manager for Field Service Solutions at Trimble about this very topic. She pointed out that there are many ways that telematics solutions can be used to create a safer driving culture. There are distracted driving deterrents, ways to monitor the aggressiveness of drivers, and ways to gain insights when accidents do occur. But more and more companies are trying to address safety proactively. Fleet managers are looking at speed as an indicator of safety, looking at speeding incidents as one of the major human-related causes of accidents. GPS technology can help managers understand driver behaviors, their speed on different road segments and their maneuvering characteristics.
Are drivers braking hard? If so, why? Are they not paying attention, causing them to brake at the last minute? Are drivers showing characteristics of aggression, accelerating and turning in an aggressive fashion? Telematics technology can monitor these behaviors and provide a safe driving score for each driver and fleet. Managers can then look at issues and draw up ways to influence the whole fleet. In the past, says Tam, fleet managers utilizing these techniques have seen a 30 percent accident reduction. When managers pay attention to driver behavior, these drivers become less aggressive and more attentive and alert.
What’s even better news for fleet managers is that these solutions can provide cost savings while also helping promote safety. Safer driving correlates to fuel conservation, and when companies use the metrics provided by telematics solutions, they can see the connection between safety and saving money.
According to Tam, Trimble’s (News - Alert) solutions are well suited for proactive prevention. They are built around monitoring driving behavior, tracking aggression, acceleration, deceleration and turns. They help managers look at speeding and other red flags. In addition, managers can customize their data sets based on their own parameters. Trimble’s solutions work for companies that have 10 to 10,000 drivers, making them applicable for any size fleet.
Edited by Jamie Epstein