Tune Up for Safety - National Safety Month of June

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June is National Safety Month. The annual event is organized by the National Safety Council which works towards reducing motor vehicle crashes all across the country. With everyone's help, it seeks to make safety a priority in our communities, on the road, and at work.

Fatigued driving is among the themes in focus during the National Safety Month.

An estimated one thousand people die each year due to drowsy or fatigued driving, while the safety foundation's report says the number is over 6,000.

The Wake-up Alarm on Drowsy Driving in Commercial Fleets

A large number of drowsy driving incidents occur during work commutes. In some utility sectors like energy and oil and gas, drowsy driving is a noted hazard as personnel regularly drive home or to a remote site or camp that is hours away after a long shift at work.

Sales fleets, utility fleets, health care and other kinds of commercial fleets are creating fatigue management policies as a protective measure and to improve productivity. The U.S. Census Bureau has termed any commute of 90 or more minutes and 50 or more miles as a ‘mega commute’.

To avoid instances of workers driving back immediately after a shift if they are fatigued, companies of all sizes have drawn up policies that prescribe rest breaks. Periodic breaks and careful eating can ensure that personnel can maintain alertness while driving.

High-risk Driving - Azuga’s Analysis of Data from Over 6000 Vehicles

In an eighteen month pilot done for Philadelphia Insurance Companies, the reduction in hard acceleration by 97%, and in speeding by 69%, point to the impact of Azuga’s solution deployment on driver behavior.

Azuga has also developed a proprietary accident risk model whose findings show that accident risk increases by 8.3% when a driver is fatigued and behind the wheel for more than six hours. The findings suggest there are high-risk driving hours when accidents can increase by as much as 9.1% for every mile driven between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.

Actual accident data from over 6,000 vehicles was analyzed in Azuga’s study, along with individual Driver Scores based on the frequency of risky driving behaviors like hard braking, acceleration, posted speed limit violations, distraction, and fatigue.

Rewarding best practices by drivers and operators and publicizing their performance across the organization is a strategy to impact the safety culture of the organization. Out of sheer competitive instinct, employees in the field compare their scores with those of their colleagues and get motivated to improve their driving. This, in turn, improves their individual ranking, and it improves fleet safety. 

Safe driving practices should be reinforced all the time – both during work hours and away from work. Coming back to the theme of fatigue, the risk of fatigue-related accidents is much higher when personnel are at work for consecutive days or nights. Their fatigue level builds up over a period of weeks, which is why in addition to an adequate rest period daily, they need at least one day off every week.

Azuga helps fleets establish safe driving practices, reduce risk, monitor driver behavior, and lower costs related to driving incidents. Let’s laud and adopt the National Safety Council’s initiatives in June and beyond.