Safe driving is a concern for everyone, but if you work for an organization with a large fleet, driver safety is at the top of the list.
That’s because organizations with fleets are more prone to accidents since their vehicles log the most miles on the nation’s roads. By using safety technology, however, fleet managers can monitor aggressive driving and reduce road-related accidents.
Tech to Boost Safety
One of the most important solutions for tracking driver safety is in-cab fleet management technology that uses GPS to capture real-time data on speeding, hard braking and harsh turns. This information is sent back to the office, where managers analyze and evaluate any unacceptable behavior and schedule follow-up coaching as needed. Fleet management also issues alerts for safety issues such as failure to engage seat belts, off-hours or unauthorized vehicle use and maintenance problems that require immediate attention.
Mobile apps are another important tool for monitoring poor driving. Apps with monitoring capabilities use scorecards to track unsafe road behavior and send data to drivers’ smartphones, allowing them to adjust their driving habits. The apps also let drivers benchmark their performance against other drivers on their teams to ensure they are meeting company standards.
Another solution that enhances road safety, though it remains underutilized by fleets, is performance management analytics (PMA). This technology consolidates data collected from a vehicle and generates reports detailing individual and team driving scores over specific periods of time. The reports highlight dangerous trends so they can be addressed before they become a problem.
Fleets Tap Emerging Technologies
When it comes to emerging technologies, features once reserved for high-end automobiles will soon be standard in fleets. Autonomous vehicle systems, such as rear and frontal collision avoidance systems (CAS), use sensors or radar to gauge the distance between vehicles and obstacles, then alert drivers to a possible collision.
Some CAS solutions link to automatic braking technology or emergency braking systems that engage the brakes when a collision is imminent and the driver has not reacted. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are encouraging automakers to make automatic braking systems a standard feature on new vehicles.
Fleets also are starting to use head-up displays (HUD), which the military already has used for years. HUDs project information, such as speedometer and tachometer readings and directional data, to the windshield as a transparent display for easy viewing. Some systems allow drivers to answer calls with hand movements so their eyes never leave the road. Newer HUD systems even have overlay animations of hazardous road conditions in the form of augmented reality (AR-HUD).
Driver safety technology has made great strides in recent years. Soon it will be possible to run a fully connected fleet that integrates all of these innovations.