by Eliot Bensel
It’s an alarming statistic. According to the CDC, each day over eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes that reportedly involve a distracted driver. In an effort to combat these staggering figures, more fleet managers are looking to acquire vehicles with advanced safety features. Automakers acknowledge that technology previously reserved for more expensive vehicles is now becoming widely available across less expensive models; and how we keep drivers safe is continuing to evolve.
Advances in Overall Vehicle Safety
Because of advancements in technology, today’s vehicles and drivers are much safer than ever before. Safety-related technologies include emergency braking and collision mitigation, automatic tire pressure monitoring, blind spot detection and side assist, rollover mitigation and even occupant sensitive seats.
Are your fleet drivers ready for their close-up? Not only are vehicles equipped with back-up cameras, but photo technology is being used to capture infractions ranging from speeding to running red lights and toll violations. Aftermarket dash cams with multi-directional cameras are also becoming prevalent on vehicles in the U.S.
Telematics can assist your company, regardless of your industry or type of fleet. Telematics can show what you’ve been missing by providing better insights, and helping you execute on scalable improvement plans, changing driver behavior – which is key for ROI – and measuring results. Advanced analytics can take your fleet a step further when it comes to safety. For example, telematics can report on a wide range of data, from rapid acceleration and sharp cornering to seatbelt clicks and harsh braking.
Telematics is one of the most powerful technologies available for improving fleet safety. But improved safety doesn’t just happen by simply installing telematics. Opportunities to take your fleet to the next level come from a combination of telematics hardware, advanced analytics and knowledgeable consulting.
Technology, Not Distraction
As the auto industry continues to embrace new technologies, many fleet managers are curious: does modern technology help or hinder fleet driver productivity? Depending on what is available in their vehicle, drivers can make use of various functionalities (apps) transferred from mobile devices onto dashboard screens. Real-time updates, like live traffic or weather information, can help drivers determine if they need to adjust their routes. Voice-controlled features also enable drivers to respond to calls, emails and texts without taking their hands off of the wheel or their eyes off the road. There are even features that make the vehicle more like a mobile office.
It’s critical that fleet managers carefully weigh the advantages of allowing their drivers to use these technologies, while at the same time giving very careful consideration as to whether some uses should be considered as “distracted” driving.
There’s little denying that today’s technology can help keep fleets more productive and drivers safer than ever before. As we look toward the future of technology and fleet, we will be faced with more questions about safety. For example, how will self-driving vehicles be able to navigate ever-present construction zones? Technology will have to rise to meet all the demands of vehicle safety. Do you think it will? Can technology overcome the human element?
Authored by Eliot Bensel, vice president, Technical Sales & Advisory Services – Risk, Safety & Accident Management, Element Fleet Management North America. Every other month Fleet Management Weekly features insights from executives at Element Fleet Management.