Driver safety is integral to the operation of a successful fleet. Drivers spend countless hours on the road — an inherently dangerous endeavor. Fleet managers promote driver safety, but they cannot control the unforeseeable risks like distracted driving, harsh braking and other dangerous habits. Human error can be attributed to 94 to 96 percent of all motor vehicle collisions. To improve long-term driver safety, fleets should leverage video technology as their solution.
Why Driver Safety Is Important
Driver Safety Is a Priority for Fleet Managers
A 2013 GE Capital Fleet Services survey found that over a third of fleet managers (36%) cited their drivers’ safety as their primary concern. Fleet managers are increasingly viewing driver safety as a top priority.
Accidents Are Expensive
On the job fleet, vehicle accidents can be highly expensive for employers. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites the National Highway Traffic Association’s (NHTA) statistic that motor vehicle accidents cost employers $60 billion every year in lost productivity, medical care, legal expenses and property damage. OSHA emphasizes that accidents also increase the cost of benefits like Social Security, worker’s compensation and disability insurance. Moreover, the average cost of a vehicle crash is $16,500 for the employer. If a worker is injured in the crash, the cost to their employer increases to $74,000. When a fatality occurs the cost to an employer could be over $500,000. All of this increases the cost of overhead for fleets. Needless to say, fleets should prioritize the improvement of driver safety and reduce or even eliminate vehicular collisions.
Accidents Are Prevalent
Accidents are unfortunately not uncommon on American roads. According to Automotive Fleet, the accident rate for commercial fleets is roughly 20% as of 2018. For some industries, like pharmaceuticals, it is even higher. Automotive Fleet cited the high number of miles fleet drivers travel every year as one factor that causes the high number of accidents. They found that typical non-fleet drivers in the United States travel between 12,000 and 15,000 miles each year and have a one in 15 chance of being involved in an accident. They then compare this to the number of miles fleet drivers travel each year (20,000 to 25,000 miles) and argue that fleet drivers have more of a potential of an accident.
How Video Technology Improves Driver Safety
Video technologies have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Tools like video telematics used to be used for route optimization and vehicle tracking. Now, with the inclusion of more precise location tracking, video telematics can be used to identify dangerous driving behaviors, including harsh braking, accelerating and distracted driving. When connected to vehicle sensors, telematics can do even more, including track seat belt use and idling. All of the telematics data can be utilized by fleets to identify drivers that exhibit dangerous driving behaviors so they can work to correct them. Having video documentation of dangerous driving behaviors can help in coaching and training drivers.
Monitoring Drivers and Their Vehicles With Video Technology
With video technology, fleets can monitor all aspects of their vehicles. Each camera placement has different strengths and weaknesses. A forward-facing camera can record the driver’s road view, and, in some cases, even analyze road conditions.
Fleets may also wish to monitor inside of the vehicle’s cab. A camera placed inside the vehicle can monitor the driver for distractions and other bad behaviors, like not using a seatbelt or using a mobile phone while in motion.
Rear-mounted cameras can record the road behind the vehicle. They capture incidents where the driver is rear-ended, in addition to situations where the driver is involved in a collision while in reverse.
Video technology can even be utilized inside of the trailer or vehicle to monitor goods being loaded, transported and unloaded. Drivers can rest easy knowing if anything happens to their cargo they will have video evidence of the event and culprit(s).
Some fleets choose to install video technology on the sides of their vehicles in order to capture sideswiping incidents that would be missed by the front or rear view cameras.
Fight Fraudulent Claims
Video technology can also play an integral role in investigating and reducing vehicular accidents. Video telematics can capture data — video and audio — surrounding an incident to accurately determine who was at fault. Many telematics services automatically upload footage after a safety incident to the cloud for data protection. With video technology, fleet managers can identify if driver error was involved in a crash. With video technology, fighting fraudulent claims becomes much easier. Drivers have proof when they are not at fault for an accident. Owning video technology-equipped vehicles can ultimately save fleets from costly lawsuits.
Video Technology and Driver Safety Statistics
Video technology like telematics can have a positive impact on fleets. A recent report cited by Work Truck surveyed fleet personnel who use telematics and found 31% of respondents reported it improved driver behavior. Forty-two percent of respondents said they experienced fewer accidents as a result of telematics.
Ensuring driver safety is a challenge for fleet managers. Oftentimes, drivers engage in dangerous or distracted driving behaviors. Some fleet managers find it difficult to identify which drivers are engaging in poor driving decisions before it's too late and accidents occur. Today, fleet managers can incorporate video technology to monitor drivers, promote safety and train others on good driving habits. Furthermore, video technology captures the truth of an accident, assisting the company as well as the drivers. Fleet managers who desire to improve driver safety should explore purchasing video technology for their vehicles.