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The National Transportation Safety Board publishes an annual “Most Wanted List” of critical transportation safety improvements, along with key “issue area” categories under which most dangerous actions fall. This year, several of the issues have implications for the trucking industry, including eliminating distractions and speeding. An overview of their recommendations, as well as how transportation technology can help support them, is below:

NTSB Recommendation: Eliminate distraction

What’s interesting about this recommendation is technology can be both the cause and solution to distracted driving. Mobile phones are a major source of safety incidents for both the driving public and commercial drivers alike, and the NTSB agency has called on the states to ban non-emergency use of mobile electronic devices that don't support the driving task, and asked mobile device manufacturers to build in safeguards to disable use by drivers in moving vehicles. 

Preventing distracted driving requires a multi-pronged approach, and technology can play a role, as well as regular training. Driver safety scorecards, a customizable platform that easily tracks driver performance and gives an objective platform to easily spot drivers who are not performing safely, track whether driver behavior is improving or worsening and assess insurance liabilities by risk level. Video solutions like a dashboard camera, also part of a comprehensive safety analytics solution, offer the opportunity to replay unsafe events for more effective coaching, as drivers often do not realize what they did wrong in a particular incident.

NTSB Recommendation: Implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce speed-related collisions

NTSB calls for technology in various forms to help minimize speeding incidents. Most fleet managers are already tracking speeding through automated alerts set up through their telematics devices and fleet management software. Managers can set notifications to alert them to speeding incidents in real-time, allowing them to immediately communicate with a driver and, over time, coach drivers around safer driving practices.

NTSB Recommendation: Strengthen occupant protection

This is a broad recommendation, but encompasses ensuring seat belt use among drivers, and can also include dangers resulting from distracted driving, like lane departure warning and blind spot detection technology. Many trucks today come equipped with these features, but even if your fleets’ trucks do not, you can create in-cab fleet safety checklists to remind them of safe driving practices, and remind them through regular trainings and coachings.

All indications in the National Transportation Safety Board's latest "Most Wanted List" of problems to fix in transportation point to one thing: in many ways, technology across that broad industry isn't just advancing, it's accelerating. It is both problem and solution.

Interested in learning more about fleet safety? Check out this blog for more ways fleet managers can implement technology to build a safer fleet.

Marco Encinas is a Marketing and Product Manager of Global Platforms at Teletrac Navman.

Marco plans the product strategy and roadmap releases globally for all of Teletrac Navman’s software platforms. He gains industry insights from customers, integration partners and R&D to improve current Teletrac Navman product features and tools, and drive development of new product requirements. Before joining the Teletrac Navman team, Marco planned product strategy and roadmap releases for both commercial and consumer product lines, developed sales training tools and product curriculum at Magellan GPS and Mitsubishi.