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Focus on Fleet Safety for Operation Safe Driver Week 2022

Focus on Fleet Safety for Operation Safe Driver Week 2022

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Focus on Fleet Safety for Operation Safe Driver Week 2022

Jun 21, 2022

Shannon Sickmon
Two long haul trucks on desert highway

As a fleet owner, you know how important driver safety is. Driver safety is crucial year-round, but this July it will become even more imperative that your drivers follow the rules of the road. On July 10-16, 2022, in conjunction with law enforcement throughout North America, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will focus on driver safety during Operation Safe Driver Week. During this week, law enforcement in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be hyper-vigilant regarding risky behavior on the roadways. Law enforcement will spend that week issuing citations and warning to commercial and passenger vehicles alike.

Here are some staggering statistics:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 38,824 people were killed in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020.

  • In 2021, traffic deaths hit a 16-year high to a sobering 42,915. Some transportation analysts blamed this on the pandemic—quieter roads led to unsafe behaviors, such as speeding, not wearing seatbelts and not using turn signals.

  • According to the NHTSA, speed-related fatalities have increased by 17% since 2020, consequently, law enforcement officers will focus on speeding violations. However, drivers will also be ticketed for not wearing seatbelts, distracted driving, improper lane changes and other traffic offenses.

Operation Safe Driver program hopes to improve the driving behaviors of everyone on the roadways while simultaneously reducing the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles throughout North America. With the support of the NHTSA, the CVSA and federal agencies within the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Operation Safe Driver Week will use educational and traffic enforcement strategies to decrease the number of crashes.

According to Captain John Broers, South Dakota Highway Patrol officer and CVSA president, “This safe driving initiative and campaign focuses specifically on drivers’ actions—whether it’s something a driver did, like speeding, or something they didn’t do, such as distracted driving. This focus on drivers’ behaviors is our effort to identify and educate drivers who are operating dangerously on our roadways, with the goal of preventing crashes from occurring.”

With the above statistics in mind, fleet managers, always vigilant about driver safety, can use this opportunity to talk with their drivers and ensure that they are aware of current regulations in every state through which they must travel. Take this time to talk to them about maintaining strict Hours of Service (HoS) standards and about eliminating risky behaviors.

You must also ensure the safety and well-being of your drivers even after they have left your warehouse. The easiest way to track your drivers and ensure a safe and compliant fleet is with routing and scheduling software. Robust routing software, coupled with in-cab telematics, enables you to monitor and improve your driver’s safety.

In the article below, we’ll examine how routing software increases driver well-being and what to do when unsafe events do occur.

How Routing Software Enhances Driver Safety

If you manage a fleet, you know how effective route planning can make a difference in every aspect of your enterprise. Agile routing and scheduling software makes better use of your resources, promotes driver confidence and retention, and improves customer satisfaction. But did you know it can also help improve the safety of your fleet?

Fleet safety is paramount. Your drivers are the lifeblood of your company, and every time one of your drivers gets in that rig, they put themselves at risk. Route planning minimizes the time your team must spend on the road by accounting for delivery times, driver schedules, vehicle capacities, traffic and any other factors. In an ideal situation, all your drivers would drive carefully and perfectly all the time. Unfortunately, your drivers are human, and factors beyond their control could cause them to have to brake and react suddenly.

Let’s examine how this works and how route planning software can help improve your driver’s safety.

Easy, Efficient Routes.

It’s no secret that driving a commercial vehicle requires focus and an ability to multitask. Your drivers not only have to concentrate on the route, but also on changing conditions and other drivers sharing the road. They must also keep to a strict delivery schedule and do it all within their allotted Hours of Service (HoS) restrictions. It’s a risky, stressful job, and if they don’t have set routes to follow, with step-by-step directions, it adds even more anxiety to the job.

Getting lost can cause confusion at best and risky driving behaviors at worst. Think about it—if your driver has inaccurate information about the next stop and has no technology or tools to help them find the most efficient route, they will probably speed to make up for lost time. They’ll be stressed out, trying to make it on time—and agitated drivers often make bad decisions.

The solution here is simple: implement route optimization software to plan your routes. Using advanced algorithms, route optimization software creates efficient, easy-to-follow routes in minutes. The dispatch manager can send the routes to the driver’s in-cab telematics system. This means that your drivers have the tools they need to complete all the stops on their route, on-time and without speeding.

Tracking Driver Behavior.

Using routing and scheduling software to monitor driver behavior while they are on the highway might seem like an invasion of privacy. But, if you have a driver practicing unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, it affects more than just that driver’s safety—it affects everyone on the road. If that driver is found at fault for an accident, it not only erodes your brand’s reputation, but it also directly impacts your insurance rates. You’d like to believe that your drivers are sticking to their routes and driving defensively, but if they are wasting time, driving recklessly or taking unsanctioned breaks, you’ll know with your routing software.

Advanced routing software allows you to track real time data, such as route status and gives the dispatchers the chance to observe driver behavior. Risky or unsafe behaviors are tracked and noted. Once the driver stops for the night or returns to the depot, their manager can have a daily debrief to discuss any incidents and ways for the driver to improve. This leads to a continuous improvement loop that keeps your drivers safe and on task.

Think about it this way—if your drivers know that they are being monitored, they’ll be more likely to behave accordingly. Monitoring holds them accountable for their actions—there is no way for them to claim that they didn’t do something. In an ideal world, your drivers would drive perfectly and adhere to the rules of the road at every minute. But, your drivers are human, and accidents do happen. With real-time monitoring of driver behavior, you’ll have the information you need at your fingertips to ensure compliance and reduce risk every time they get behind the wheel.

Reduced Maintenance Costs.

Route optimization software allocates each load and order to a specific vehicle and then coordinates an optimal delivery sequence. This results in the shortest possible route for every vehicle with fewer miles driven and less time on the road.

Routing and scheduling software will also account for traffic considerations along the routes. The system analyzes traffic based on the time of day, day of the week, location and even route direction. This helps your drivers because they won’t spend hours idling while stuck in traffic. It helps your vehicles because it reduces excessive idling and diminishes damage to the engine components while also saving on gas. This leads to a commensurate reduction in vehicle maintenance costs.

In general, implementing routing and scheduling software means that your drivers can safely spend less time trying to find their stops, getting lost on the way or sitting stuck in traffic. It means that you can keep your delivery promises without overworking your vehicles or your staff. Running shorter, more efficient routes lessens maintenance costs because you have less wear and tear on your vehicles.

If you’re not using route optimization software yet, why not? The system encourages driver safety, which lowers risk, keeps your drivers happy and reduces spending on both fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. It’s a win-win.

If you’re ready to save money and improve driver safety, Aptean is ready to helpReach out to one of our route planning experts to transform your fleet.

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