Each year, millions of people are injured or even killed in motor vehicle accidents. For the commercial fleet, no matter how large or small, one crash can raise insurance costs and hurt the company’s overall reputation. Fleet safety is a high priority for the modern fleet manager, and these three technology interventions can help improve fleet safety significantly.
Fleet Management Software
One of the biggest changes you can add to your fleet to improve its safety is fleet management software. In fact, insurance companies have recognized the benefits of fleet management, and often offer lower insurance rates to fleets that utilize this technology.
Fleet tracking improves safety in several ways: First, it provides monitoring of your driver’s behavior. You will know when drivers are not sticking with the route they should be or when they are practicing unsafe driving behaviors, like excessive speeding or braking, allowing you to make changes or issue safety initiatives to help.
In addition, monitoring driver behavior can reduce the overall risk of the fleet by limiting the number of miles driven. Automotive Fleet indicates that risk exposure for fleet vehicles is about 16 cents per mile. The fewer miles driven, the lower the risk exposure. Monitoring driver behavior ensures that drivers are not driving when and where they do not need to be.
Fleet management software can also decrease the risk of theft. While it does not prevent a thief from trying to steal a vehicle, it can improve the chances of recovery when a vehicle is stolen. When the fleet manager can provide the last known whereabouts of the fleet, chances of recovery are much higher.
Finally, fleet management software typically includes maintenance monitoring and alerts. This, in turn, makes the fleet’s vehicles safer by ensuring that proper maintenance schedules are followed. This limits the risk of vehicle failure on the road, and improves the overall safety of the fleet vehicles.
Many fleets are at high risk for theft, particularly fleets of construction equipment or conventional vehicles that have a high resale value. Even with fleet tracking, it can be hard to recover an asset before it has been damaged. Anti-theft technology helps improve the safety of the fleet by limiting the risk of theft.
Anti-theft technology can include technology that makes it harder to hotwire the vehicle while limiting vehicle access. New key systems, for example, make it more difficult for a potential thief to not only access the vehicle, but also to start it if he did access it. These new key fobs contain electronic immobilizers, which prevent the fuel pump and ignition from working if the key is not present. Even a simple car alarm can deter a thief when the alarm goes off, drawing attention to his actions.
Technology to Limit Driver Distractions
Driver distractions are another risk on the road that the fleet must address. In 2013 alone, 3,154 people were killed in distracted driving crashes, according to the U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving. Thousands more were injured in distracted driving crashes.
Technology, in many ways, is the cause of distracted driving, but it can also provide a solution. Installing Bluetooth into fleet vehicles, or insisting that drivers use their personal Bluetooth devices, helps limit drivers from taking their eyes off the road and putting them on a mobile device. Adding voice-controlled technology to media systems can also limit driver distraction. Technology that requires a phone to be locked on a dock before the engine can start, and then limits the driver to Bluetooth connectivity to use the phone while the vehicle is running, can also help.
Fleet safety is a priority to fleet managers across all industries, and technology can provide a solution to improve fleet safety. With these three technology additions, your fleet can experience better safety and also increase productivity, while continuing to deliver the customer service your clients expect and demand.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.