Keeping your drivers and trucks safe on the road is a top priority for your business’ success. By using a Fleet Safety Analytics System, you can show patterns of driver behaviors and keep your equipment on track with maintenance.
With increased regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and a decrease in drivers, it is more crucial than ever to have a better data collection system in place.
Depending on the fleet safety analytics system you use, this data can tell you a lot about driver behavior, vehicle operation, vehicle maintenance, and much more. This can help you better manage your drivers, give reports on accident prevention and likelihood, watch vehicle health, and alert you to maintenance issues.
By monitoring and implementing programs with this data, fleet managers and drivers can improve CSA scores, increase customer satisfaction, and help you recruit and keep drivers. With a system in place, you can:
- Plan preventive maintenance.
- Reward excellent drivers.
- Benefit from insurance discounts.
- Analyze and prepare for safety hazards on the roads.
Types of fleet safety analytics systems
A system can be as simple as a piece of paper and pen or a spreadsheet on the computer. However, electronic systems that are plugged directly into the diagnostics port or connected to the vehicle in some other way are going to be most beneficial.
This is a popular device that plugs directly into your diagnostics port. This device can report positive and negative driving behaviors, such as harsh braking and acceleration. It can also detect vehicle maintenance concerns and potential issues, such as needed and upcoming repairs. Some can even help you check your drivers to ensure they are performing their maintenance checks.
These cameras are another popular monitoring device, and they have improved significantly over the years. The newer devices can automatically upload incident footage to the cloud. Many programs even use sensor data to discover driving behavior issues, like tailgating and distracted driving. Some even have in-cab alerts to warn drivers before an accident occurs.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
There are several types of fleet safety technologies. These technologies use intense programming and artificial intelligence, computer vision, and other types of computing to check on your drivers, find problems with the vehicle and potential issues, supply traffic alerts, and can even prevent accidents and safety issues. Most electronic systems have a dashboard that gives you all the information you need for each vehicle and/or driver.
This is especially helpful when you want to view your entire fleet to see patterns in driving, behavior, or maintenance schedules. Using a dashboard, you can reward safe driving, track safety issues, discover training needs, and some even allow you to watch your drivers at the same time as watching the road – think picture-in-picture. That way, you can see what your drivers are doing and how it is affecting their vehicle operation.
Other benefits of fleet safety analytics include:
- Monitoring speeding
- Watching for extensive idling
- Planning for vehicle weight and road conditions
- Reducing overtime and downtime
- Reviewing operation practices and procedures
- Improving planned routes
- Cutting down on labor costs
- Monitoring your assets
Using fleet safety analytics reports
You want to make sure you review a variety of reports regularly so you can effectively manage the entire business. For example, predictive analytics reports can help you with managing your fleet’s time, resources, and driver operation.
Typical behaviors to note in a report are:
Driver style – This report supplies daily logs, vehicle inspection reports, violations on hours of service, and more.
How to use it: Analyze the data to find opportunities and patterns in driving styles and vehicle operation. If a truck shows consistent hard braking and has multiple drivers, there may be a brake issue to check out.
However, if one driver runs the vehicle, or shows harsh braking on each vehicle he or she drives, that is more likely to be a training issue. Use this report to help improve driver behavior, watch fuel efficiency, and unsafe driving prevention.
Vehicle operation – The information provided in this report gives you an overall view of how the truck runs on short distance or long distances, checks the costs of upkeep, gives you predictive maintenance updates, and more.
How to use it: Analyze the costs of the vehicle and keep track of how often it needs things like antifreeze fill-ups, tire changes, miles per gallon, and more.
The information you receive can help you with fleet management and name issues with the motor, problems with alignment, and reasons for fuel efficiency or deficiency. You may decide to retire a vehicle due to age or get it off the long-haul routes in favor of shorter trips. On the opposite side, you may use certain vehicles more than they have been or give them longer routes.
Focus on what matters
With all the information available from diagnostic programs, it can overwhelm managers and they cannot distinguish workable items. When implementing programs based on reports, it is vital that you focus on the data you can do something about.
For example, you might find out that a gas station along a particular route does not seem to supply quality fuel. But drivers fill up there because the next fuel stop is too far away. There is obviously little you can do about that.
Let’s say you find out one of your drivers is often late to their delivery site. After looking over the data, you discover it takes an extra-long time to leave a particular rest stop area. You investigate and find out he is visiting a girlfriend instead of getting back on the road. That’s a factor you can address immediately.
It’s important to use the data you collect and implement policies, procedures, and training. That way, you can solve current and potential problems and address training needs.
Cost of operations
With a good fleet safety analytics system, you can even find out what the vehicle’s cost is to the fleet. By analyzing the history of maintenance, the wear and tear, and how often the truck runs, you can figure out which vehicle is the most economical for certain trips or long routes. You may need to collect data for a while to identify patterns, especially year-over-year trends. Discovering whether the value of the vehicle is increasing or decreasing can help you decide when it’s time to replace a vehicle.
With this data, you’ll want to pay attention to contributing factors. For example, if your truck is showing a deficiency in fuel economy, of course, you’ll want to consider increased prices, but also look at the driver’s record. Do the fleet safety analytics show a habit of braking and speeding up too harshly? Could it be a fuel theft situation? Or are there repairs that need to be done?
You can also use these analytics to predict future maintenance needs, watch for problems with older trucks, any vehicle and equipment recalls, and set your budget for expected costs. A tremendous benefit of having applicable data is to find holes in your company. If there is an influx of violations, accidents, or regulation errors, it might be necessary to implement a specific training, reminder, or policy change.
Expectations vs. Reality
The fleet safety analytics system is also a terrific way to store general information about the truck. Key factors like engine type and size, the vehicle identification number, license plate, and other vital details. To give you a range to gauge truck and brand quality, list the information from the vehicle’s maker and compare it with the actual data.
Consider tracking things like:
- Note the vehicle’s expected miles per gallon versus what the truck’s actual MPG is.
- Document the type of oil used at each change.
- Write all inspection dates and any results.
- Keep track of the date you bought tires, what brand they are, and where you bought them.
- Make sure you track expenses. This will help you figure out the overall cost of the vehicle.
Finally, fleet safety analytics can help you discover problems and find solutions. For example, from the reports, you might see that your drivers spend a considerable amount of time filling out logbooks. Is it time to switch to a mobile-friendly version?
Or another example, a report shows a consistently late arrival time. Do you need to adjust the customer delivery expectation to allow for your driver to get through traffic?
Most would agree that driving is stressful, but for long-haul truck drivers, the intensity goes beyond navigating traffic. Using a Fleet Safety Analytics System to watch over your fleet, take care of your drivers, and analyze operations will help trucking companies in a wide range of ways.
Even better, by using the data collected and creating actionable plans, your company will reap the rewards of driver retention, preventative maintenance alerts, increased efficiency of operations, and improved customer satisfaction.
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