By Sam Bowman
When it comes to fleet management, management teams face several challenges to ensure a productive workforce. However, if one thing trumps most, it’s safety. Risk mitigation processes should be a staple in fleet managers’ portfolios, and they should be implemented early on to ensure adequate safety across the fleet.
Unfortunately, there are too many safety areas for many fleet managers to cover, from distracted driving to improper training, and it can be difficult to know where to start. This article will discuss new technology options that can be implemented to support risk management strategies in fleets and maximize driver safety.
Internal and external vehicle monitoring
Internal vehicle monitoring is essential to ensure safe driving behaviors and vehicle performance. Since most companies have strict compliance requirements, they may consider installing a monitoring system inside their vehicles. Internal monitoring systems include vehicle telematics, onboard GPS, and engine and transmission control units (TCUs). These systems provide vehicle information such as fuel consumption, engine performance and driver behavior.
Driving Performance Tracking thanks to cameras in the cabin and outside the vehicle can help fleet managers enforce compliance and reduce risk. Fleet managers can monitor and track multiple areas with cameras, including speed, following distance, lane changes, hard braking and acceleration.
External vehicle monitoring devices include dash cameras and side cameras installed on the passenger side doors or on the exterior windshield to provide a visual record of an accident. The vehicle’s external cameras allow drivers to stay focused on their driving instead of taking the time to take notes on what is happening during an accident or when traffic stops. External cameras can also protect drivers from false accusations in vehicle accidents or other driving events.
Driver training and safety compliance
Quality training programs are essential to ensure drivers are prepared to operate a fleet safely. To ensure compliance, leadership teams can partner with a driving service provider that offers training programs focused on the right educational content, the right environment, and the right people. In addition, drivers must be properly trained in vehicle operation, safety rules, and policies. In addition, drivers should be regularly assessed for ensure the fleet operates safely.
Risk mitigation can happen before drivers even hit the road. This can be done at fleet facilities by posting appropriate safety signs. Single-driver trucks should have a designated rest area where drivers can take their breaks and required rest times. Local and national laws should also be considered in this area as they may apply to specific circumstances.
Drivers must be properly trained in terms of vehicle operation, safety rules and policies. Additionally, drivers should be regularly assessed to ensure the fleet is operating safely.
RFID systems are capable of storing and transmitting data over short and long distances. They are considered a technology because the data is encoded by an electromagnetic field and read using a transceiver. RFID tags are disposable programmable electronic devices that manufacturers and retailers use to track inventory. RFID tags are embedded in an electronic memory that contains information such as item name, item identification number, and location within a store.
Like internal vehicle monitoring systems, RFID tags can track vehicle movements. They can also log driver behavior, monitor fuel efficiency, track maintenance schedules, improve driver engagement and retention, and reduce incidents of employee theft.
Road sensors and cameras
Most states use cameras and other technology to monitor lane speeds and traffic. When they determine that traffic is not at its optimum level, they will open the shoulders of the lane, forcing drivers off the road to an upcoming exit. This provides a calculated response to adjust traffic flow based on road conditions, time of day, weather, and events. This technology is now used across all fleets to better manage driver performance and respond more effectively to business needs.
By using these driver monitoring systems, fleet managers can identify specific drivers that are causing their fleet’s performance to deteriorate. This technology can also identify factors such as dangerous driving, lateness/no shows/attendance issues or property damage. Since performance issues negatively affect driver satisfaction and reduce retention, fleet managers need instant access to driver monitoring information to resolve an employee issue. These systems have evolved far beyond simple vehicle monitoring systems when combined with geolocation and GPS-enabled mobile interfaces for call status updates, sentiment analysis (driver satisfaction ) and mileage tracking tools.
Fleet management platforms
A challenge for many fleet managers is providing drivers with consistent performance information and helping them achieve their goals. The development of mobile apps has made it possible to use driver performance data to monitor drivers and provide them with the information they need to improve their performance. This can be done by providing an hourly GPS report, an analysis of the routes followed by alerts on potentially dangerous roads and an overall assessment of location-based activities (such as speeding or idling).
Fleet management platforms have emerged as a way for fleet managers to get an overview of driver behaviors. With these platforms, fleet managers can view GPS information, location-based alerts/warnings, idle/overspeed violation reports, fuel consumption reports, ratings from peers and other drivers company data, vehicle diagnostics, and device usage logs. These platforms can be linked to existing enterprise software systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) to build on the data collected by these systems and help risk management activities.
Managing risk in a fleet can be a difficult task, but the benefits of implementing a formal and measurable process are significant. As new technologies change the driver experience, risk management will have to adapt accordingly. Using a systematic top-down approach to risk management, thorough processes that focus on monitoring and evaluating all critical elements of fleet operations can help fleets be proactive rather than reactive, their thereby maintaining their financial stability and staying ahead of industry trends.
Sam Bowman writes about people, technology, workers and how they come together. He enjoys using the Internet for the community without having to leave his house. In his spare time he enjoys running, reading and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.