The impact of vehicle tracking on driver safety

By Masternaut.

Employee welfare is at the top of every organisation’s agenda. Safety notices, PPC and PAT testing are all good examples of helping people stay safe in the workplace, but how can you increase the safety of those who spend the majority of the day on the road?

Commercial drivers in the UK have a 30-40% higher incident rate than private drivers. For this reason, thousands of logistics companies are using technology, such as in-cab coaching devices, to improve best practice behind the wheel.  

The in-cab coach is a small device that is mounted to the dashboard. Once activated, it transforms signals from a vehicle tracking system into instant auditory and visual feedback about driving styles. This makes the driver more aware of poor practices like harsh acceleration and sharp cornering, enabling them to self-correct in real-time. The vehicle tracking system also sends all of this data to back-office staff, where it can be used to highlight training needs or reward best practice.

A study on the impact of immediate feedback on driver behaviour – 2018, demonstrated a decrease in harsh events when in-cab coaching is installed. Across a 13-week period, the study recorded an average reduction of 1.5 harsh driving events per hour. The average vehicle in the study drove for over 480 hours across the 13 weeks, which results in over 720 fewer harsh driving events in vehicles where in-cab coaching is installed, and the driver is receiving feedback. When looking specifically at speeding, the same study found that in-cab coaching feedback reduced speeding incidents by 53%; from 5 speeding events to 2.35 events per 100 miles.

From a safety aspect, this represents an enormous benefit, not just to commercial drivers, but also to every other road user. This is vital because drivers represent a business when out on the road, and how the public perceives a business is increasingly important in a crowded and competitive business environment.

The in-cab systems, as mentioned earlier, alert drivers to harsh driving actions. These harsh actions also lead to increased wear and tear on vehicle parts such as tyres and brake pads. Therefore, in addition to improvements in driver safety, reducing wear and tear also helps fleet costs as vehicles suffer less unscheduled maintenance work and less time off the road.

While allowing for instant driver correction through audio and visual feedback, the data produced by the in-cab coaching system allows fleet managers to identify adverse trends in specific driver’s actions. Once identified fleet managers can then put training programs in place to correct issues and improve driving standards within their fleet. These training programs can be tailored to correct specific issues which have been highlighted by the data produced. The data also allows those who consistently demonstrate good driving behaviour to be identified and rewarded for their excellent work.

The data produced from in-cab coaching systems also provides a great resource to develop a company sustainability plan. It is more important than ever that companies have a clear sustainability plan in place which informs decision making going forward. These plans can set out fuel usage targets and, in some cases, can even be used as a guideline to transition from fossil fuel vehicles to electric.

It is clear that fleet managers have to deal with many important areas surrounding the running of a commercial fleet. However, vehicle tracking technology such as in-cab coaching devices are helping thousands of organisations improve the safety of remote staff, as well as increasing driving standards, fuel economic and operational efficiency.

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