Driver behavior is the reason for over 88 percent of large truck crashes and 93 percent of passenger vehicle crashes1. Despite the evidence, many commercial and passenger vehicle drivers continue to partake in risky driving. The impact of these behaviors – such as speeding, distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change and failure to obey traffic control devices – can be grave.
Eliminating these through education and training should be the top priority of any fleet or safety management, day in and day out. It’s also the goal behind the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) upcoming annual Operation Safe Driver Week, which will bring increased CMV and passenger vehicle traffic enforcement on the road to track these behaviors from July 15-21.
There are a few steps fleet managers can take to help their drivers ace the event and make driver safety a year-round priority:
Schedule a pre-event training
Use Operation Safe Driver Week as an excuse for fleet-wide or one-on-one trainings. Look at what behaviors drivers have most commonly displayed in the past, and coach them to avoid those. Ask drivers to share personal stories, as peer-to-peer advice resonates well. If you use some type of camera or event replay system, the footage is a great way to show examples of both good and unsafe driving events, getting drivers’ permission if you plan to use in a fleet-wide forum. Consider a BBQ or picnic, to make the training more attractive and a sort of reward.
Also remind drivers what behaviors you’re tracking, as well as any disciplinary measures around them or incentivizes for safe driving. One customer told us that that “just showing drivers what can be seen and identified through the [GPS tracking] technology improved their behavior.” There can never be enough training and reminders on safe driving.
Brush up on defensive driving skills
Even if your drivers are being safe, it doesn’t mean other drivers around them are. Passenger drivers often cut them off, serve into their lane, or show other types of erratic behavior. Make sure drivers are brushed up collision avoidance techniques like looking what’s going on a few cars ahead, observing for work zones or police lights, watching blind spots, monitoring for subtle clues a nearby vehicle is about to change lanes and being mindful of adjusting for the conditions (weather, road, light, etc.)
Outside factors can’t always be controlled but they can be managed, making defensive driving skills are of equal importance to practicing safety themselves.
Tight deadlines, over-scheduling and lack of sufficient fatigue monitoring tools make driver fatigue one of the hardest risks to manage. But it’s a direct cause of some of the most dangerous behaviors, including slower reaction times, poor lane tracking, late breaking, random slowing of a vehicle, missing road signs, impaired speed maintenance, straying concentration and even 3-5 second “micro sleeps.”
Make sure drivers are taking care of themselves physically. Educate your drivers on fatigue warning sings such as constant yawning, excessive blinking, chin on chest/shoulder, eyes glazing over. Remind them, if any of these occur, they have permission to (and need to) take immediate action and rest. They shouldn’t feel they need to be a hero in the face of fatigue – a 20-minute nap could save their life.
To see how the Teletrac Navman Safety Analytics Solution can help you monitor and improve driver safety, request at a demo at https://www.teletracnavman.com/get-a-demo-now.