Any fleet’s top priority is the safety of its drivers. That’s why fleets employ modern technology to track their drivers’ behaviors on the road. Technology like dash cams and telematics can let fleet managers rest assured that they will know if their drivers engage in unsafe driving behaviors. Tracking driver behavior also allows fleet managers to provide targeted coaching geared specifically towards problems detected by their telematics and dash cam systems. However, unsafe driving behavior doesn’t mean that drivers are looking for an accident. Often, it is indicative of other problems with the way a fleet runs things. What can unsafe driving behavior tell you about your fleet drivers?
Drivers Are in a Rush.
Some unsafe driving behaviors, like speeding or hard braking, may indicate that a fleet team is rushed to get from place to place. If drivers don't have enough time to do their jobs safely, they may abandon caution in an effort to please their managers or go home on time. However, both speeding and hard braking are incredibly dangerous. Speeding was a factor in 26% of traffic fatalities in 2019. These fatalities killed over 25 people on average each day. It makes sense that accidents at higher speeds are more likely to result in fatalities than accidents at lower speeds, and managers should make sure that drivers are aware of the dangers.
Hard braking is usually a result of speeding when drivers don’t give themselves enough time to stop for obstacles that arise on the road. It takes at least six seconds for a truck going 55 miles per hour to stop, during which time they will travel 510 feet. This is almost the length of a football field, and it’s very easy to hit an obstacle in that time. Fleet managers must monitor speeding and hard braking and coach drivers who regularly exhibit these behaviors. They should also listen to find out why they drivers feel the need to speed in the first place, especially if many drivers are speeding.
Drivers Are Killing Time.
Vehicle idling may not be immediately obvious as an unsafe driving behavior. It is not necessarily hazardous for the driver but for the environment as it pollutes the air and wastes fuel. There are a lot of negatives to vehicle idling. It wastes money by wasting fuel, and fuel spending is a big part of any fleet’s budget. It causes unnecessary wear on engines and drains the battery. Furthermore, it simply means that the driver is spending time on the clock not doing anything productive, which wastes the business’s time and money. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that drivers are not regularly idling their vehicles.
Some idling happens because drivers don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Sometimes drivers take lunch in their vehicles or take a quick nap on their breaks, and they simply need to be coached or corrected. However, sometimes drivers idle because they have an excessive amount of free time, which is a problem that the business needs to address. Scheduling through fleet management software and utilizing route optimization technology can help cut down on downtime if a company finds itself with an abundance of idling drivers.
Drivers Are Frustrated.
Aggressive driving is another danger that causes accidents each year. Aggressive driving can lead to speeding, as previously discussed, but also hard cornering, swerving, not yielding right of way, tailgating, and other improper behaviors. An American Automobile Association study in 2009 found that some form of aggressive driving caused 56% of fatal crashes. Anger and frustration are dangerous states of mind for drivers.
If something is frustrating in the workplace, fleet drivers may take it out behind the wheel. Frustration can come from improper scheduling, inefficient route planning, insufficient resources for jobs, insufficient time to complete jobs, or any number of issues that they may face every day. Along with coaching these drivers, it’s crucial to listen to their concerns and attempt to make their work environment better, so they do not feel as frustrated behind the wheel.
Various issues can cause unsafe driving behaviors. You will never know the exact cause until you reach out to your drivers and discuss it with them. Open communication is vital in any workplace, and fleets are no different. You and your fleet can work together to make their jobs easier. Azuga offers technology to help make this goal a reality. Check out what we have to offer online!