The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance--an association of American and Canadian vehicle safety officials and industry representatives—held Operation Safe Driver Week October 16 to 22, 2016. As in past years, the CVSA supports this event as a means for promoting safety through an increased emphasis on traffic law enforcement, for both commercial motor vehicles and passenger-vehicles.
The statistics are sobering
The need for more attention to driver safety, says the CVSA, is demonstrated by daunting numbers. According to the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, more than 88% of large truck crashes and as much as 93% of passenger-vehicle accidents are caused by unsafe driving behavior.
Those figures suggest that truck drivers are paying attention to the task slightly better than drivers of private vehicles. Even so, 1 in 10 highway deaths involves a large truck.
Recent data also showed that 60% of large truck occupant deaths occurred in single-vehicle crashes, compared with 50% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)’s 2014 Fatality Facts. In all, it is in the interest of commercial vehicle drivers as much as anyone to protect themselves by staying sharp behind the wheel.
Unsafe conditions traced to driver behavior
The driving lapses that lead to accidents or injuries include excess speed, failure to use a seatbelt, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic signals or signs, following too closely and careless lane changes.
In cooperation with the CVSA, during this week’s event, law enforcement agencies are focused on roadside inspections and hosting educational presentations in a number of venues to help share information on how to make roads less hazardous.
Technological support for safe driving
Efforts to reduce violations mostly by stepping up traffic enforcement can help decrease accidents--but it is a largely inefficient, labor-intensive way to challenge the problem. To put it simply, police officers can’t be everywhere at once.
A more effective program would focus on detecting and reforming these unsafe habits before they result in a disastrous outcome. For commercial vehicle operators, the most useful tool may be advanced technology.
Tracking driver behavior for better results
Technology can help improve driving habits in several ways. Fleet management software offers a platform to monitor performance—capturing data on speed, rapid acceleration, harsh braking and stop sign violations—and transmit the information to fleet managers.
Back in the office, fleet managers can review metrics and road events to gain an understanding of behaviors and trends, both for an individual and the organization’s drivers as a group.
Armed with this information, managers can develop corrective measures—for example, training programs that place emphasis on the problem areas and aim for improvement.
These initiatives can be incorporated in the company’s incentive and training plan. When drivers are recognized and rewarded for safety, they are happy. Better driving, fewer violations and a lower accident rate helps create a successful and compliant fleet.
Available technology that supports and encourages safe driving is an investment that pays regular dividends all around.
Make on-road safety part of your fleet’s daily operations and your corporate culture. To learn more about GPS fleet management software with driver safety features, click here.