Unfortunately, there are too many safety areas to cover for many fleet managers, from distracted driving to improper training, and it can be challenging to know where to begin. This article will discuss new technology options that can be implemented to support risk management strategies in fleets and maximize the safety of drivers.
Internal and External Vehicle Monitoring
Internal vehicle monitoring is essential to ensure safe driving behaviors and vehicle performance. Since most companies have strict compliance requirements, they may consider installing a monitoring system inside their vehicles. Internal monitoring systems include vehicle telematics, in-vehicle GPS, and engine and transmission control units (TCU). These systems provide vehicle information such as fuel economy, engine performance, and driver behavior.
Monitoring driving performance through in-cabin and external vehicle cameras can help fleet managers enforce compliance and reduce risk. Fleet managers can monitor and track several areas with cameras, including speed, following distance, lane changes, hard braking, and acceleration.
External vehicle monitoring devices include dashcams and side cameras installed on passenger-side doors or on the outside windshield to provide a visual record of an accident. External vehicle cameras allow drivers to remain focused on their driving instead of taking time to take notes about what occurs during an accident or in case of a traffic stop. External cameras can also protect drivers from false accusations in vehicle accidents or other driving events.
Driver Training and Safety Compliance
Quality training programs are essential to ensure that drivers are ready to operate a fleet safely. To ensure compliance, management teams can partner with a driving services provider that provides training programs that focus on the right educational content, proper environment, and right people. In addition, drivers should be properly trained in vehicle operations, safety regulations, and policies. Furthermore, drivers should be regularly assessed to ensure that the fleet performs safely.
Risk mitigation can happen before drivers even hit the road. This can be done at fleet facilities by displaying proper safety signage. Single driver trucks should have a designated rest area where drivers would be able to take their breaks and required rest hours. Local and state laws should also be considered in this area since these may apply to specific circumstances.
Drivers should be adequately trained in terms of vehicle operations, safety regulations, and policies. Furthermore, drivers should be regularly assessed to ensure that the fleet performs safely.
RFID systems are capable of storing and transmitting data over short and long distances. They are considered a technology because the data is encoded by an electromagnetic field and read using a transceiver. RFID tags are disposable, programmable electronic devices that manufacturers and retailers use to track inventory. RFID tags are embedded with an electronic memory that holds information such as item name, item identification number, and location in a store.
Like internal vehicle monitoring systems, RFID tags can track vehicle movement. They can also record driver behavior, monitor fuel efficiency, follow maintenance schedules, improve driver engagement and retention, and reduce incidents of employee theft.
Road Sensors and Cameras
Most states use cameras and other technology to monitor road lane speeds and traffic flow. When they determine that traffic flow is not at its optimal level, they will open the lane shoulders causing drivers to move off the road toward an upcoming exit. This provides a calculated response to adjust traffic flow based on road conditions, time of day, weather, and events. That technology has now been utilized throughout fleets to manage driver performance better and respond more effectively to business needs.
By using these driver monitoring systems, fleet managers can identify specific drivers causing their fleet performance to deteriorate. This technology can also identify factors such as unsafe driving, tardiness/absences/attendance issues, or equipment damage. Because performance issues negatively affect driver satisfaction and reduce retention rate, fleet managers need instant access to driver monitoring information to resolve an employee problem. These systems have evolved well beyond simple vehicle monitoring systems when coupled with geofencing and GPS-enabled mobile interfaces for call status updates, sentiment analysis (driver satisfaction), and mileage tracking tools.
Fleet Management Platforms
A challenge for many fleet managers is providing drivers with consistent feedback on their performance and helping them achieve goals. The development of mobile applications has made it possible to use driver performance data to monitor drivers and provide them with the information they need to improve performance. This can be done by providing an hourly GPS report, analysis of routes followed by alerts on potentially dangerous roads, and an overall assessment of location-based activities (such as speeding or idling).
Fleet Management Platforms have emerged as a way for fleet managers to have a wide-ranging view of driver behaviors. With these platforms, fleet managers can view GPS information, location-based alerts/warnings, idle/over speed violation reports, fuel consumption reports, ratings from peers and other drivers in the company, vehicle diagnostics, and device usage logs. These platforms can tie into existing business software systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) to rely on data collected by those systems and help risk management activities.
Risk management in a fleet can be a challenging task, but the rewards of implementing a formal, measurable process are significant. As newer technologies change the driver experience, risk management will have to adapt accordingly. By utilizing a systematic approach to risk management from top to bottom, in-depth processes that focus on monitoring and evaluating all core elements of fleet operations can help fleets be proactive rather than reactive, thus allowing them to maintain their financial stability and stay ahead of industry trends.
Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, workers, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.