Driver safety is an ongoing challenge for Australian road users and unfortunately, this issue is getting worse. There have been more than 1,250 road deaths in Australia in the 12 months leading up to April 2018, and this number is up 19 per cent from the same period last year.
It’s apparent from these statistics that driver safety needs to be top priority for any business operating a fleet of vehicles. This is especially important with Fatality Free Friday taking place on Friday 25th May, which urges Australian drivers to pledge their support for safer driving behaviour. While the target is to have a fatality free Friday, the ultimate goal is for longer-term improved safety.
588 fatalities in the last 12 months have been drivers. However, it’s important to note that responsibility doesn’t sit solely with the driver. The Work Health and Safety Act makes it clear that businesses must proactively manage the safety of each driver, whether they’re onsite or out on the road.
Keeping track of how vehicles are being driven is crucial, but one of the most challenging things is encouraging drivers to maintain a high calibre of safe driving at all times. Transport businesses can take advantage of near real-time data to take a proactive approach to reducing fatalities on the road by:
- Help improve driver behaviour
The vast majority of drivers are well-intentioned and don’t set out to put other road users or company vehicles at risk, but accidents can happen. In 2017, six states and territories logged zero deaths on Fatality Free Friday, however, Queensland and Tasmania recorded two fatalities. While these are promising results, there’s room for improvement.
With a connected vehicle system, fleet managers can effectively help curb unsafe driving behaviour by tracking driver behaviour on the road. Near real-time access to data on how individual drivers are manoeuvring on the road gives fleet managers visibility into unsafe driving behaviours like driving too fast, braking harshly or taking corners too hard. The software sends configurable alerts back to base when safety thresholds are crossed. With the ability to take quick action, businesses can target repeat offenders to curb unsafe driving habits before they lead to more serious incidents.
- Monitor driver location
Driving involves a level of risk and it can sometimes be hard for fleet managers back at base to know what’s happening out in the field. A comprehensive vehicle tracking system enables drivers to alert head office of their precise location and puts help on the way almost instantly in the event of an emergency.
- Keep on top of vehicle maintenance
Vehicles need to be up-to-date on maintenance in order to help keep your driver safe and productive. Failing to carry out timely maintenance can result in vehicle breakdowns, putting your driver at increased risk of incident. A vehicle tracking system uses data on time, engine use and mileage to provide scheduling alerts. This enables fleet managers to stay on top of preventative maintenance and help reduce the risk of vehicle faults.
As Fatality Free Friday approaches, a focus on safer driving behaviour is crucial and can lead to a longer-term, positive impact on driver behaviour. One death on our roads, on any day of the year, is one too many.
Jim McKinlay is the general manager, APAC, of Verizon Connect.