According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there was a 34% decrease in fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses from 2005 to 2009. But within the years that followed (2009 to 2018) fatal crashes increased by 45%. Additionally, the World Health Organization projects that if major changes aren’t made to combat road incidents, by 2030 road crashes could become the fifth leading cause of death worldwide.
For professional drivers and fleet owners, these numbers can be scary. What can be done to prevent crashes and ensure the safety of professional drivers and the Average Joe and Average Jane sharing the road with them?
Zonar’s 2021 Road Safety Report states that that drivers are concerned with cargo securement, unsafe driving practices, and cell phone use. However, it was found that tire defects actually account for 30% of all truck-related accidents, making it the most common cause of accidents with driver fatigue also high on the list.
Further, an online United States survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zonar indicated that 25% of American drivers do not agree that commercial truckers drive responsibly. Fleet managers and drivers are responsible for changing this perception among drivers.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of fleet management providers and software that can help with these concerns. Fleet owners and operators can ensure a safe fleet through inspections, predictive maintenance, ADAS, and telematics systems.
Fleet managers can prevent or even eliminate some of the concerns listed by implementing pre- and post-trip inspections. With the use of Electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (eDVIR) drivers can keep up with pre- and post-trip inspections electronically. This prevents managers from endless hours of paperwork and allows them to review and recall the exact time inspections took place.
One solution, Driveroo, is a digital auto care service platform that offers an electronic DVIR solution using a mobile DVIR app with a graphical interface for quick data input. The platform offers inspection templates and allows owners to customize their own inspection report if they wish.
Zonar’s eDVIR solution, the Zonar EVIR, uses a “Zonar tag” for placement in the inspection zone of the vehicle to be scanned with a smart device. As the driver performs the inspection, they can add notes, photos, and mark defects. The report uploads to the fleet management platform once inspection is complete. The difference between eDVIRs and Zonar’s EVIR is that the inspection can be verified using time stamps. The EVIR shows when an inspection begins, when it ends, and how long the driver spends at each inspection zone.
Pre- and post-trip inspections give drivers the opportunity to catch tire defects, brake issues, powertrain problems, and more before leaving the truck yard or construction site. Additionally, issues caught early allow time to repair a vehicle component, whereas waiting too late could cause the need to fully replace a vehicle component. eDVIRs also ensure drivers and their trucks are compliant with all FMCSA rules and regulations before hitting the road.
To even further prevent defects or vehicle issues that could become problems down the road, fleets today use predictive maintenance platforms. These platforms can monitor fleet health by analyzing vehicle fault codes, mileage, fuel levels, tire pressure, and more. Predictive maintenance platforms allow fleet managers to know what’s happening, and some of them can even automatically schedule maintenance with the dealer. In fact, many truck OEMs offer predictive maintenance services with new vehicle purchases.
For instance, Mack Trucks’ GuardDog Connect connects Mack trucks to a network of support staff and repair centers. When issues arise, GuardDog Connect detects truck problems and calls them into Mack’s 24/7 service center, usually before the driver even knows there’s a problem. GuardDog Connect can also contact Mack’s OneCall roadside assistance service if the issue needs immediate attention.
Zonar’s predictive maintenance solution, Zonar FaultIQ, works with all vehicles. It is a single platform that monitors fleet health by: decoding fault information into English; allowing you to see fault data in one view; offering expert guidance for repairs; and ultimately, preventing tow events and downtime. The platform puts every fleet vehicle on one dashboard and offers customized alerts, safety and health scores, and more.
Even further improving driver safety is the use of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). These systems are also on the rise among commercial fleets. New trucks are often already equipped with ADAS and other active safety features, such as blind spot warnings, rear backup warnings, forward collision warnings, or lane departure warnings. ADAS uses radars to detect objects around the vehicle and send warnings to the driver or even apply the vehicle’s brakes in an emergency situation.
Along with pre- and post-trip inspections, preventive maintenance, and ADAS, telematics technology can increase driver safety on the road and in the cab. A report from GPS Insights found that 30 to 40% of commercial trucking organizations deployed telematics technology in 2017. Telematics system have the ability to track vehicles, monitor drivers, and even conduct in-cab coaching with audible alerts.
Some telematics providers also offer integrated video capture that feeds to the fleet manager. Dual cameras give the fleet manager a view of the road as well as a view of the driver. Dual cameras give context to situations that would otherwise appear to be black and white, such as a hard-braking violation versus braking to prevent a collision when another vehicle swiftly—and dangerously—cuts in front of the fleet driver.
Zonar’s telematics system, Ground Traffic Control, offers fleet owners a way to monitor their fleet, pinpoint each vehicle’s exact location, access data online at any time, and accelerate performance, safety, and compliance through actionable insights. With the Zonar telematics solution, owners also have access to data from other Zonar offerings, such as Zonar Coach, Zonar Logs, ZFuel, Zonar Forms, and others.
Telematics systems are truly game-changers for fleet owners and managers. Data telematics systems capture can be used to save money and create a safer fleet.
At the end of the day, the most important asset to a company is its employees. As stated, there are multiple options for fleet owners and managers to improve the safety of their drivers while also offering the benefits of predictive maintenance and insights into full fleet data through software programs. Accidents will happen, but with the help of inspections, ADAS, predictive maintenance, and telematics systems, fleet owners and drivers can help lower the frequency of unsafe events.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Find out more about Zonar’s findings from its 2021 report and its safety solutions, visit www.zonarsystems.com.