While commercial truck drivers make careers out of their skills in transporting essential products and keeping our supply chain moving, the potential for risky and unsafe driving behavior is still a concern for fleets.
Although unsafe driving behaviors are a common occurrence in any type of vehicle or driver, the size of equipment, rising insurance costs and potential for litigation in the event of an accident means that fleets stand to lose much more if an accident should occur.
Common Causes of Trucking-Related Accidents
So, how can a fleet help mitigate the risk of these types of unsafe behavior behind the wheel? It starts by understanding some of the most common types of unsafe driving habits.
By gaining a better sense of what kinds of driving habits are likely to cause the most risk, fleets can focus their coaching efforts on eliminating these types of behavior, to not only have a tangible impact on their safety but also for everyone they share the road with.
Some of the most common types of risky driving behavior include:
1. Speeding and Erratic Driving
According to one study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), speeding was a factor in 17 percent of truck crashes in which one large truck occupant died. In addition, the study also noted that other related risky behaviors include sudden acceleration, hard braking, and lane drifting - each elevating the likelihood that an accident may occur.
While behaviors such as speeding and hard braking are bad habits, sometimes it is what a driver isn’t doing behind the wheel that can be a contributing factor in an accident.
In fact, the same FMCSA noted above examined the role of distractions in causing accidents on the road. The research found that 6 percent of fatal accidents involving trucks were due to distracted driving and, of that 6 percent, 16 percent were due to cell phone use.
3. Fatigue from Lack of Rest
The rigors of life on the road can also play an adverse role in driver performance and behavior behind the wheel. We are all accustomed to what a lack of proper rest does to our focus, reaction times and general productivity. Truck drivers are no different.
Driver fatigue is also among the top causes of large truck crashes, with the Federal Motor FMCSA estimating that driver fatigue may be an associated factor in 13 percent of accidents that involve a commercial truck. Although fleets carry insurance coverage, if a fatigued driver causes an accident, the fleet could be held responsible. Carriers also may be considered accountable in the event that a fatigued driver does not follow federal regulations on rest breaks.
Addressing Unsafe Driving Behaviors with Video Intelligence
While the thought of improving driver behavior across your fleet may seem daunting, with the right technology it doesn’t have to be. In addition to common fleet mobility solutions like electronic logging devices (ELDs) that help monitor and regulate drivers’ Hours of Service, fleets are increasingly turning to video solutions to help them get a better handle on driver coaching.
With camera options that face front, sides, back and interior of the vehicle, fleets are able to get a 360-degree neutral perspective of their vehicles on the road, not just to protect themselves in the event of an accident, but to identify and correct unsafe driving behaviors before they lead to a preventable collision.
The Power of Data and Safety Analytics
While video footage only can be a powerful eyewitness in providing context into what happens on the road, a video platform that pairs those clips with data and analytics can provide a more complete picture and enhance driver coaching opportunities. In fact, 10 percent of drivers can account for up to 65 percent of a fleet's total risk.
This means that having the right analytics at your fingertips can help pinpoint those select drivers who are in most need of coaching. For example, through Trimble Safety Analytics™ dashboard, users can access important metrics like individuals’ CSA violations, hazardous driving behaviors and Hours of Service (HOS) details, helping fleet safety managers make driver training decisions directly based on this data.
Advanced Solutions to Enhance Fleet Safety, Productivity and Compliance
As cold weather approaches and many parts of North America begin to experience cold weather, snow, ice and other hazardous conditions on the road, eliminating unsafe driving behaviors is more crucial than ever.
At Trimble, we provide collaborative and innovative solutions for shippers, carriers and everyone in between to help unify the entire supply chain through the right mix of technologies. Connect with us to better understand how our Video Intelligence platform is just one of the many ways we can help your drivers, your freight and your company operate safer and more efficiently than ever before.