Safety Tips Every Fleet Should Know
Fleet safety has a direct impact on your bottom line. Fatigue, distraction and inadequote surveillance are three of the top ten contributing factors in accidents caused by truck drivers According to a three-year study conducted by the Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA), these risk factors increase the chance of an accident by between five and nine percent. Out of the 141,000 large-truck accidents analyzed, driver error was the primary contributing factor in 87% of crashes. So how can a company both address driver performance and improve the outcome of accident claims? Let’s take a closer look at how to improve driver safety and reduce cost.
1. Educate Drivers about High-Risk Times
By emphasizing proper rest and self-care, companies can help drivers operate at their best. The hours of service (HOS) regulations enforced by the ELD Mandate have increased awareness of the dangers of driver fatigue. Timing is everything when it comes to driver performance. Educating drivers about high-risk times can reduce accidents and improve safety. The chance of accidents increases the longer a driver has been on the road. Crash rates increase significantly after only four hours of driving.
The effects of fatigue are most severe at night. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), long-haul trucks are twice as likely to be involved in a crash between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am. Educating drivers on these statistics arms them to be more vigilant during high-risk times.
2. Emphasize the Importance of Rest & Self-Care
The results are in: tired drivers are dangerous drivers. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) advises companies to incorporate fatigue management into their safety programs.Educating them about proper sleep habits can reduce cumulative fatigue on the job.
A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identifies three predictors of fatigue involvement in crashes:
- Total hours of sleep within the 24 hours leading up to the crash.
- Duration of last sleep period.
- Sleeping in short, broken periods.
Drivers should be encouraged to stay consistent with their sleep schedule both on and off shift. Obviously, their personal time is their own, but sleep quality is too impactful to leave unaddressed
3. Enforce Mandatory breaks
Drivers who take their mandatory breaks are significantly less likely to cause a crash. Having a regular schedule and being able to sleep at night, rather than drive, are also contributing factors to accident rates. According to a recent study, taking a rest break between the second and sixth hours of a shift greatly reduces the risk of an accident.
How your drivers use their break can be even more influential at improving alertness and reaction time. Just a few minutes of brisk exercise can improve brain activity. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins into the blood and promotes the expression of proteins in the brain that enhances spatial awareness, short-term memory, and focus.
4. Eliminate Distractions in the Cab
According to a recent study, route guidance systems are a huge distraction to drivers. Researchers recorded the amount of time that drivers spent looking away from the road while using certain devices. Subjects were asked to manually input an unknown cell phone number into a phone, change the radio station by hand, or use the route guidance system.
Using the route guidance system was consistently the most distracting, even when using the hands-free voice activation. You heard right, using voice-activated navigation is more dangerous than dialing a cell phone! Older drivers, age 55 and older, took more than twice as long as drivers 35 or younger.
5. Install Network Connected Fleet Cameras
It can be hard to enforce lifestyle habits that reduce fatigue and improve road performance. Oftentimes, a watchful eye is the best remedy. Having front and rear-pointing cameras installed in your company vehicles not only improves driver accountability, but provides valuable documentation in the case of an accident.
Installing network connected vehicle cameras is one of the most effective ways to mitigate liability and improve your bottom line. Combine this with encouraging healthy habits in your drivers, and you’ll be on the road to higher safety standards in no time.