by: Karen Bradley
One of the number one concerns of every fleet manager is vehicle and driver safety. Nothing drives costs up faster than the consequences of unsafe driving, from costly accidents that could potentially result in lawsuits to increasing insurance costs. All of those factors are in addition to the human costs of unsafe driving, and the potential damage to your company’s reputation in your community.
A simple way to address those issues is through the use of dashcams. These include outward-facing and driver-facing cameras, and the video metrics that can come from the footage they provide. When combined with GPS vehicle tracking and the data it provides, fleet managers can rest assured their drivers and vehicles are where they should be and as safe as possible at all times.
What is the real cost of accidents? There are several factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Accidents are one of the costliest things that impact vehicle fleets and fleet managers. Unfortunately, they are all too common.
The more miles a driver covers, the more likely they are to be involved in an accident. That’s just the math of things. If an average driver travels between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year and has a 1 in 15 chance of being in an accident, the commercial driver who travels double that distance has a much greater risk.
In 2018, the commercial fleet accident rate was 20% according to Automotive Fleet. It’s about more than just fleet drivers though. Other drivers on the road using cell phones and driving distracted can’t be controlled by fleet managers. However, they can find better ways to motivate their drivers to focus on the road, avoid distracting and dangerous behaviors, and take breaks to avoid exhaustion and driving tired.
Distracted driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. More than 9% of fatal accidents in the US involved distracted driving according to the FCC. This is despite local and state regulations about cell phone use while behind the wheel and even new cell phone features that disable notifications while a driver is behind the wheel.
Dashcams are a part of the solution, as more advanced cameras with AI can help fleet managers monitor and correct these behaviors.
One of the consequences of a greater number of accidents is the increase in insurance costs. However, there are things fleet managers can do to mitigate them.
There are other factors too. Speeding not only increases the risk of accidents, but it can also result in driver citations. Even just a few points on a commercial driver’s license can mean a big bump in insurance rates.
Reducing insurance costs means increasing driver safety.
While GPS vehicle tracking has been a tool for fleet managers for some time now, video metrics from dashcams, both outward and driver-facing have added a new layer of data for them to work with. Advanced cameras with AI can detect everything from speeding to distracted driving to seat belt use and cell phone use. These video metrics can reveal poor driver behaviors, but they can do more than that.
First, systems can alert drivers, fleet managers, and others of poor behavior. Notifying drivers helps them correct the behavior right away before an accident happens. For example, a driver notified they are speeding can immediately slow down, preventing citations and accidents.
Fleet managers who get regular notifications about habitual driver behaviors can take action, from coaching and driver re-training to other disciplinary action if necessary.
Second, data gathered from dashcams and fleet tracking systems can be compiled into driver scorecards. Rather than just being used for corrective action, drivers performing the best can be rewarded, a leaderboard established, and safety gamified. This gamification sets up a friendly competition among your drivers and can keep your company culture from being perceived as a “punishment culture.” This helps drivers feel like they are a part of a solution rather than part of a problem.
What else can dashcams do to provide your fleet with a safety solution? Not only will they reveal driver behaviors and help you take either corrective action or positive reinforcement, but they can help you defend against false claims.
For example, if you have a fleet of gravel trucks, your drivers might often get blamed for cracked windshields, but you can prove if they were even in the area when a person’s windshield was broken. In the case of an accident, video footage can prove what your driver was doing and if they were truly at fault.
This defense against fraudulent claims in the case of accidents and other things drivers may be falsely accused of can save you thousands and prove your commitment to driver safety.
Dashcams offer fleet managers more tools than ever before for enforcing driver safety and decreasing fleet costs overall. Video metrics are a big part of that solution. Are you curious about dashcams, vehicle tracking, and what they can do for your company? Contact us here at EcoTrack Fleet Management. We’re here to help!