The top priorities for most fleets are driver safety and containing costs. The pandemic has caused some tactical shifts in executing these priorities, as follows:
Contactless driver training. Fleets had to pivot regarding safety training as social distancing became the norm. It’s no longer possible to gather dozens of drivers for in-person safety training. Fleets responded by holding virtual training, but behind-the-wheel components became tricky. Fleets had to balance driver health with safety regulations. As a result, some fleets have drivers train alone behind the wheel while an instructor coaches them over the radio. With wariness surrounding in-person training, fleets need to find innovative ways to train drivers from afar.
Rapid detection of at-risk drivers. Telematics data can provide information up to the minute, which allows fleets to correct risky behaviors moments after they occur. Some risky behaviors telematics can detect are hard braking, frequent lane departures, hard cornering, and more. Fleets can provide driver-specific safety remediations rather than generic safety training.
Ongoing distracted driving challenges. Distracted driving has been a buzz term in the industry for years, and it isn’t showing signs of improvement. As technology advances, fleets add more screens and devices to the vehicles. Many drivers have to take calls for work while on the road, as there is no other time to fit in meetings. Compounding the increase in fleet software and work requirements, many drivers have personal cell phones as well. Controlling screen time and use are the most significant ongoing distracted driving challenges facing fleets.
A rise in preventable accidents. Many preventable accidents within fleets are the result of a distracted driver. Most fleets have a collision rate of 20%, and roughly 40% of those are preventable. Vehicle repairs represent a considerable amount of fleets’ expenses. Addressing the 40% of those avoidable accidents can yield significant cost savings and improve driver safety.
Unprecedented safety concerns. The pandemic created new safety concerns for commercial drivers, which left many fleets grappling for solutions. Fleets lack historical data to contextualize these issues and how best to respond to them. As a result, many fleets are comparing what other trucking businesses are doing to drive safety changes. Some fleets now require drivers to wipe down shared vehicles before and after entering the truck, while others are accelerating how often they change cabin filters. Without data to support this, fleets are taking on the added cost in the hope that their efforts will keep their drivers healthy.
Fleet safety is a constant concern for trucking companies, but the pandemic changed the dynamics of containing risks. To stay up to date with the latest safety trends in trucking, contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers.