Accident settlements have reached an astounding level. Costing right around $20 billion, these accident settlements are the result of an annual accident rate that has reached 20% among commercial fleets. It can fall upon the shoulders of fleet owners to do something about it. But how do fleet owners ensure that drivers are staying safe beyond the use of mere incentive-based safety programs? A good place to start is to educate drivers about safe driving behavior.
Distracted Driving Causes Wrecks
Fleet drivers will increase their safety as long as three major aspects are in balance. For this, fleet managers can use the “triangle model of stuff, space, and speed”.
- Stuff refers to distractions that may arise.
- Space means keeping appropriate braking distances and space between vehicles.
- Speed refers to matching your vehicle’s speed to your environment (i.e., traffic, weather, road conditions, and speed limits).
While being a necessity for drivers, in-cab tablets and cell phones create the opportunity for distracted driving behaviors in drivers. Browsing the Internet and sending text messages must never be done while operating a vehicle. It’s hard to enforce no cell phone policies, even though they are a must.
Did you know that faulty brakes cause 5% of all truck accidents? Scheduled vehicle maintenance could have prevented 25,000 accidents annually! Tire rotations, oil changes, and more should be part of scheduled routine vehicle maintenance. To streamline the maintenance department and ensure safety, fleet managers should use maintenance logs.
Every week, between 2000 and 3000 miles is clocked by the average commercial truck driver. As quickly as every 5 miles, weather patterns can change. Imagine, along a long-distance road, how many various weather events can be experienced by the commercial driver! To help create a plan of action if a driver is stuck in bad weather, and to help route drivers around hazardous weather conditions, live map overlay features can be used by today’s fleet managers. This way, they will be able to check their fleet’s location and the weather in each location.
Emergency and first-aid kits should be carried by every driver in case of breakdown. These should include the following:
- Jumper cables
- Emergency flares
- Multipurpose tool or knife
- Cell phone charger
- Extra warm clothes
- Disinfectant spray
- Nonperishable food for two days
- 1 gallon of water
Take Advantage of Technology – Cameras
There are cameras in any number of vehicles on the road today. Fleet managers can utilize dash cameras to help coach drivers, diagnose, and identify issues. Appropriate coaching and intervention must be executed in response to driving behavior trends (identified through cameras) that are high risk. It could mean saving a business, and lives, if at-risk drivers are required to watch harsh events videos. Some transport companies have gone so far as to implement dual facing cameras to discourage and catch at-risk behaviors.
Take Time to Rest
Linked to drowsy driving, an annual total of about 328,000 accidents result in over 6000 fatalities. Drivers must be encouraged to map out rest stops and plan breaks along their route. If they feel that they need a rest stop and a break has not been planned or scheduled, they can Google “rest stops near me” to locate the nearest safe place to pull over and refresh. Mickey Genuine Parts can help maintain your fleet. Schedule maintenance at one of our certified service centers located throughout the United States. Feel free to contact us with any questions, part orders, or to schedule an appointment.