The past decade has seen numerous regulations and initiatives designed to push the trucking industry into placing a greater emphasis on driver and vehicle safety. From the ELD Mandate enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to insurance companies beginning to require telematics devices as a requirement for coverage, the trucking industry is being asked to rapidly adapt to keep pace.
While the rollout and exact details of these requirements have been met with valid criticism by the trucking industry, it’s important to note that telematics devices can make a significant impact. Listed below are five crucial ways that telematics devices enhance safety behind the wheel.
Driving Behavior Analysis
As road design has improved and as trucks have become better equipped with safety features, one factor has stayed the same—driver behavior remains the leading cause of traffic collisions. Before the advent of telematics, fleet managers had virtually zero visibility into how their drivers operated on the road. Through GPS technology and a wide array of vehicle-sensing mechanisms, modern telematics devices can detect telltale signs of risky driving (e.g. speeding, hard braking, unindicated lane changing, overly long gear shifting, rough cornering, etc.).
When a potentially unsafe driving behavior is recognized, telematics devices can automatically log the event before notifying specified personnel in real-time. This autonomous vigilance and communication empowers fleet managers with the oversight they need to ensure safe driving practices are adhered to. For example, many fleet managers choose to mandate safety training for drivers who habitually violate the rules of the road. Because telematics devices specify the exact actions drivers should avoid in the future, such corrective policies enjoy high success rates.
Vehicle Health Gauging
As any seasoned driver will tell you, a lot can happen to a vehicle between mandated professional inspections. Thanks to a suite of diagnostic sensors, telematics devices are capable of gauging vehicle health in real-time. When a disruption is detected, the driver of the affected vehicle and the vehicle’s fleet manager are immediately notified. This automatic response enables service teams to immediately assess vehicles as soon as a problem is detected and repair minor issues before they become major breakdowns. Furthermore, by addressing vehicular issues that might otherwise go undetected, telematics devices serve to improve safety by addressing faulty or at-risk vehicles before they return to the road.
Rapid Emergency Response
In the immediate aftermath of severe accidents, every second counts. Following a collision, telematics devices can instantly notify fleet managers, enabling them to contact the affected driver, understand the situation, and send for help if necessary. And in accidents that occur in rural areas or where the driver is incapacitated, telematics can help emergency responders reach those affected crucially faster. The emergency response capability of telematics devices enhances overall driver safety and helps fleets better respond to emergency situations.
Finally, telematics improve safety by reducing the time drivers spend on the road through optimal routing. Responding to unforeseen traffic and road outages can be difficult, frustrating, and costly without the right technological assistance. Telematics devices are specifically designed to be used by the transportation industry and convey clear navigational directions without being distracting. By leading drivers from Point A to Point B via the most optimal route possible, telematics naturally reduce accident opportunities while simultaneously increasing business efficiency.
Metrics for Good Driving Incentive Programs
While the efficacy of safety training for problematic drivers should never be discounted, it’s also important to remember the impact incentives can have on influencing positive behavior. By rewarding drivers whose telematics devices never or rarely report hazardous driving, transportation firms can promote company cultures that truly value safety behind the wheel. Whether the rewards for safe driving are physical prizes or benefits like additional time off, by offering prizes that drivers genuinely value, transportation companies of all stripes can significantly improve driver safety while positively impacting employee morale.