Drivers are at the heart of fleet operations. Everything they do impacts the business in a direct way. How safely they drive is the most impactful. Making safe driving a company culture can be hard, but it is worth the effort. Knowing that a safer fleet is a more productive fleet, here are 5 ways in which drivers can contribute to a safer fleet.
1. Fewer fines, demerit points and citations
Risky driving behavior such as tailgating, distracted driving, stop sign violations and speeding will result in a ticket for the driver – if they are caught in the act. In many countries, professional drivers get more demerit points for offenses since they are expected to set a very high standard. Not only will this result in hefty fines to be paid but the accumulated demerit points can disqualify a driver from driving either temporarily or permanently. The latter will be a huge blow for the fleet – given the driver shortage. It will also be a blow for the driver from a career point of view. The business disruption caused can wreak havoc on a fleet and its customers.
Safer driving means 100% compliance with all the laws and best driving practices. Using technology to alert drivers on risky driving helps improve compliance greatly, thus resulting in fewer fines and demerit points, avoiding potential business disruption.
2. Fewer risky driving incidents, fewer accidents
Most fleets have very less visibility to the full extent of how prevalent risky driving is. Risky driving is not always caught by the authorities – the fleet only gets to know when a driver does receive a ticket or a citation.
Regardless of whether a fleet comes to know of risky driving, the overall risk keeps increasing with an increase in risky behavior. Things come to a head when there is an unfortunate accident caused by risky behavior. With 4842 large trucks involved in accidents causing fatalities in 2020 alone, a fleet having no visibility into risky driving is taking on a huge risk. Nuclear verdicts and compensation payouts can be debilitating for a fleet business.
Using technology to actively understand the risk profile of drivers working in a fleet and working on reducing the risk via driver coaching is key to fewer risky driving incidents. This is especially the case with speeding, impairment and distraction being the most common driver related causative factors of accidents. Fewer risky driving incidents result in fewer accidents, which is money, time and reputation saved for the fleet.
3. Lower insurance rates
With increased mileage and increased occurrence of risky driving incidents, accidents are on the rise. These accidents are resulting in higher payouts for settlement. These payouts, sometimes up to $10M are strangling the industry. This has led to increased premiums in the commercial auto sector.
Insurance companies go by the safety record of a fleet and evidence of practices in the fleet that can minimize loss. Using technology to reduce risky driving, and thus reduce accidents (at-fault) with an ability to reconstruct accidents when they do occur will help insurance carriers offer more competitive rates to fleets.
4. Better CSA scores, better business
FMCSA made the Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) scoring to ensure fleets and drivers follow best practices related to safety. The score is calculated based on accident reports, fines, citations, violations, etc. A lower score is better.
Risky driving behavior such as distracted driving, speeding, etc., reflects poorly on the CSA score for the fleet. Fleets with poor CSA scores can lose business as customers want reliable shipping for their goods. A better CSA score (better safety) leads to better business, as most customers will prefer a safer fleet for their goods.
By using technology to stay on top of risky driving behaviors, proactive fleets can take necessary remedial actions to ensure a good CSA score. On the other hand, fleets that have no visibility into risky driving behaviors or have no remedial training programs are in a reactive mode – they will have no control on their CSA score.
5. Better fuel economy
Fuel and driver pay are the top expenses for any fleet. With fuel prices at the highs, they are, the focus on fuel economy is greater than ever. Risky driving behavior such as hard braking can adversely affect fuel economy and vehicle maintenance. The causation of hard braking often is another risky behavior such as distraction or tailgating. Maintaining a good speed and avoiding hard braking can improve fuel economy by 15-30%!
Thus, a safer fleet that is compliant with traffic laws is likely a fuel-efficient fleet!
While fleets understand the value safe driving brings, they need the right tools to gain visibility on driver behavior and to effect positive change in terms of safety.
Video telematics is the magical silver bullet for driving a culture of safety in a fleet and for the benefits it accrues.
- AI on the edge detects risky driving such as distraction, cell phone usage, tailgating, etc., in real time and provides alerts to the drivers. Drivers can proactively take steps to reduce the risks at the moment – thus reducing the likelihood of a bad outcome.
- With edge AI and real-time coaching, the number of risky driving incidents as well as the severity reduces significantly. Instant feedback to the drivers helped improve fuel economy by 6.6%.
- Video telematics provides safety managers and fleet managers with insights on the risk profile of drivers – helping them identify safe drivers who need to be recognized for their contribution and drivers who need to be coached. Video telematics further identifies specific behaviors that need remediation, along with specific example videos of risky driving. This enables personalized and actionable driver coaching that improves safety in the fleet.
- With video telematics, a fleet can protect themselves and exonerate drivers in a not-at-fault accident, eliminating frivolous lawsuits and unfair claims. Even in unavoidable accidents, video evidence prevents the exaggeration of claims.
Video telematics can be a game changer for fleets – improving driver safety, reducing expenses, and improving reputation. For telematics service providers, integrating video telematics in their offering to fleets helps them grow their business and provide more value to fleet customers.
If you are a telematics service provider thinking of providing video telematics to your fleet customers, contact us today!