Distracted Driving

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Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous problems out on the roads today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 alone, 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving. Taking one’s eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 mph means blindly driving the length of a football field. Accidents happen in a matter of seconds, so driving this distance without seeing the road can be catastrophic. 

Types of Distracted Driving

The CDC defines three significant types of distracted driving

  • Visual: This is when the driver takes their eyes off the road, perhaps checking a quick text, looking at something inside the car, or briefly closing their eyes due to tiredness. 
  • Manual: When the driver removes their hands from the wheel, this is a manual distraction. Reaching for something in the back seat, eating or drinking, or trying to change a song on your music player are all examples of taking one’s hands off of the wheel. 
  • Cognitive: Even if the driver appears to be perfectly attentive to the road, if they take their mind off of driving, they are distracted. This type of distraction is why driving while emotionally distressed is so dangerous. 

Any of these distractions are equally dangerous and can all lead to unsafe driving behaviors or accidents. 

Sources of Distraction

Cell Phone Use 

The most common type of distracted driving is due to cell phone use. Smartphones are a compulsory part of nearly everyone’s lives. People use them not only for communication but also for news, work, entertainment, and easily accessible information. The National Safety Council reports that one out of every four accidents occurs due to talking or texting on the phone. Almost everyone has used a smartphone before while driving. People are so used to having what they need easily accessible that they don’t think twice before reaching for their phones. This tendency is best avoided with the phone either switched off or out of reach. 

One reason that drivers often excuse cell phone use is for navigation. However, there are many hands-free solutions for using a cell phone for navigation without holding the cell phone or entering coordinates manually. Cell phone holders can be attached to cup holders, air vents, or dashboards so that drivers can view maps and hear navigation without having to press any buttons or hold the phone. Most smartphones also have voice commands, so one does not even have to pick up the phone to pull up a map in the first place.  

Tired Driving

One problem for fleet drivers, especially, is driving while tired. Fleet drivers work long shifts, and although the ELD mandate and HoS regulations have decreased the amount of fatigued driving that occurs, it still happens. Long drives, mainly through areas with little scenery or variation, can lead to a driver’s mind wandering or even falling asleep behind the wheel. Driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol-- going 20 hours without sleep has the same effect on the mind as a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%. The National Safety Council found that fatigued drivers are three times more likely to be in an accident. Even if a driver is not physically falling asleep behind the wheel, they may be lapsing into periods of what is called microsleep. Microsleep is characterized by loss of attention, blank stares, and a sharp decrease in reaction time. A study by the University of Iowa found that drivers drop their speed significantly and change lane position more often during microsleep episodes. They also show worse vehicle control. 

Tired driving is a problem that fleet managers can rectify by adhering strictly to the mandated rest periods outlined in the HoS regulations. Furthermore, fleet managers can utilize dashcams to look for yawning and closed eyes in the cab and drifting lanes or speed changes on the road. If they detect these behaviors, they can reach out to the driver and check in. If drowsy driving is a frequent problem, fleet managers can implement more frequent breaks, as getting out and stretching gets the blood flowing and can invigorate a driver. 

In emergencies, it is always best to play on the safe side. It is better to pull over and take a nap than to wind up in an accident due to falling asleep on the road. Naps are quick fixes, and if drowsy driving is a recurring problem, fleet managers and drivers will need to work out a more permanent solution.  

Eating While Driving

Another frequent distraction for fleet drivers is eating while driving. While working long hours on the road, it is only natural that a driver might get hungry and be tempted to eat while behind the wheel. This can be a fatal mistake, as a driver is three times more likely to be in an accident if they are eating or drinking. With the prevalence of fast-food restaurants, eating in the car is a significant problem that must be addressed. 

Like drowsy driving, fleet managers can address eating while driving with more frequent breaks and dashcam monitoring. Of course, no one expects drivers to go hungry, so being in communication with drivers is vital to ensure their needs are met. Fleet managers and drivers must work together to develop a solution to circumvent the need to eat while driving. 

Conclusion

Distracted driving is the most significant danger on the roads today. One of the most critical actions a fleet manager can take is ensuring that drivers understand these risks and are held accountable for their behavior. Keeping an open stream of communication with drivers to work with their needs and avoid the necessity for multitasking while driving is also key. Azuga has plenty of solutions such as dashcams, in-cab communication, and ELD logs so that you can monitor your drivers and keep them on optimal schedules.

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Fleet Dispatching

If you manage a fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that is fleet dispatching. If not, you may not realize just how crucial this process is to the success of any fleet-based business. 

What Is Fleet Dispatching?

Simply put, fleet dispatching is the process by which commercial fleet drivers are sent out into the field to make deliveries, service customers, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves so much more than simply telling drivers, “you go there.” Good fleet dispatching may also involve considerations for traffic conditions, road hazards, driver skill sets, customer preferences, and onboard equipment. When done correctly, it’s a skillful juggling act that helps a business reach its daily goals. When poorly handled, it can be a disaster for all concerned.

What Is a Fleet Dispatcher?

A fleet dispatcher is a person in charge of scheduling and arranging dispatch for a commercial fleet. Small fleets may have a single dispatcher to manage all calls, while larger enterprise fleets may employ an entire team. 

A fleet dispatcher must clearly understand schedules and routes, job proficiencies, fuel management, fleet maintenance, and regulations related to hours of service and other fleet compliance issues. A good fleet dispatcher knows the drivers in the fleet well and can anticipate their scheduling needs and which jobs they are most suited to handle. Fleet dispatchers must be masters of communication and have elite organizational skills.

Fleet Dispatch Software from Azuga

Fleet dispatching is as much an art as a science, and it can be overwhelming at times. The best way to support the fleet dispatchers on your team is to give them tools and technology that make the job easier. Fortunately, Azuga offers the answers to all of your fleet dispatching conundrums

Our GPS Fleet Tracking software can keep track of all the vehicles in your fleet along with large equipment and other assets. Dispatchers can use this information to see which vehicles are nearby when a job pops up. What’s more, we offer top-notch route optimization tools to help guide drivers around road construction, accidents, and other hazards that might prevent them from getting to their destination on time. We can even help you schedule routine maintenance, promote road safety, and automatically deliver dispatch notifications to drivers in the field. 

Learn about all the ways Azuga Fleet can help your commercial fleet stay productive and efficient while simplifying maintenance schedules and creating a culture of safety on the road. Schedule an Azuga demo today!

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Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, such as a residence or a retail store. This step must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure that customers are satisfied, and products move as much as possible. What is last mile delivery, and how can businesses perfect it? 

Steps of Last Mile Delivery

There are five steps to last mile delivery to go through to ensure it is accurate and efficient. 

  1. Enter orders into a centralized system
    You've been tracking the order all along. At this point, the customer is most likely also tracking it through a tracking number. It’s essential that you track the order to know precisely where it is if they have any questions along the way. 
  1. Orders arrive at the transportation hub. 
    Last mile delivery begins at this step. From here, the business must ensure that the order gets to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. 
  1. Designate delivery personnel. 
    Designate delivery personnel to deliver the parcel using a last-mile logistics solution. 
  1. Load orders onto delivery vehicles. 
    Scan each item before loading them onto the delivery vehicles. This is an important part of tracking as it updates the sender and the recipient as to the order's status. You don’t want anything to get lost along the way. 
  1. The order reaches the recipient. 
    Once the order reaches the customer, the last mile delivery process is complete. Be sure to update the tracking information to indicate the item has been delivered. 

Last Mile Delivery Challenges

Big-name companies like Amazon and Walmart are replacing last mile delivery with middle mile delivery. With middle mile delivery, the company owns the fulfillment, so the delivery process goes from the port to the fulfillment center. The problem with last mile delivery is that it is expensive: it can account for 53% of a shipment’s total costs. Supply chain inefficiencies are increasing as need grows, and so costs are only going up. It’s vital to optimize last mile delivery if you want to use it for your business. 

How to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

Technology is the answer to optimizing last mile delivery. Route planning software, for example, can minimize delivery costs and cut the time that it takes to deliver. Auto dispatching also helps to cut down on mistakes and time. Finally, gathering data and getting detailed reports can help identify problems in your operations and tell you how to improve upon your weaknesses. Fleet management software like Azuga offers all of these features and more to help optimize your last mile delivery options. 

Conclusion

Last mile delivery is still the standard way smaller businesses do their deliveries, and Azuga makes it possible to keep last mile delivery, even while competing with big retailers. Find out more about Azuga by reading our blog or visiting our website.

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Last Mile Carrier

Last mile carriers are the shipping companies that carry out last mile deliveries. Examples of last mile carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and regional carriers. Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, which may be a residence or a retail store. Last mile carriers offer many benefits, which we will outline below. 

Tracking

Many last mile carriers allow customers to track their package on a map or see how many stops away it is. Other providers give customers a very specific estimated arrival time. Previously, it could only be estimated within windows of several hours, so this is an impressive and essential feat for customer service. 

Ability to Communicate with the Driver

If anything is needed when delivery drivers are on the road, it used to be impossible to get in touch with them. Now, apps allow customers to communicate directly with their drivers to update them on any changes that come up during the delivery window. 

SMS Updates

One benefit of tracking drivers is sending SMS updates if a package is ever delayed, and even update customers on when it arrives so they can plan their day accordingly. They no longer need to worry about expensive packages being lost or stolen, since they can pick them up right away. It’s ideal for keeping customers updated and satisfied. 

Delivery Ratings

Customers can rate how their deliveries went and leave feedback that delivery companies can use to improve their methods and improve customer service even further. Customers appreciate their voices being heard, and companies need to hear how their employees are doing. 

Conclusion

Last mile carriers are an integral part of the last mile delivery system. Last mile fleets must have the technology to track delivery drivers and update customers with necessary information. Azuga offers this technology and more to help streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly with the entire last mile delivery process. Find out more on our website.

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