It is estimated that between one quarter and one third of reported road casualties occur in road accidents involving someone who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road for work purposes.
These are quite stunning figures which should shock us all into changing our habits for good, but human nature leads most people to think “it will never happen to me”. Granted, companies today are getting better and better at promoting occupational road safety, taking advantage of the myriad of solutions on the market and using technology such as telematics and in-vehicle cameras to help. This is all good, but many companies are falling into the trap of thinking that simply installing these devices solves the problem. It doesn’t. Gathering the data is one thing, but managing that data is the crucial next step and the only way that these solutions can truly work in managing road risk and bringing down those shocking statistics.
Take the shocking camera footage released in the national press recently which showed a truck driver who crashed into a family’s car whilst looking at his mobile phone. A horrific accident with a tragic aftermath. Incidents like this are real…they happen. And as fleet operators we should be examining our own internal systems and controls to make sure our drivers are not putting themselves and others at risks like this. Camera footage needs to be analysed as a matter of routine, as does telematics data concerning driver behaviour. All of this brilliant data is worthless without the correct procedures in place to manage that data.
The example above is of course the very worst-case scenario imaginable. But let’s translate the concept into an incident that many companies experience on a daily basis. How many times have you had reports or suspicions of vans being backed into bollards? The odd dent in a bumper caused by over-enthusiastic reversing? Irritating, yes. Expensive too. But life-threatening? No. So these incidents are often overlooked and often not even recorded. But think about it like this – if a driver is prone to this kind of carelessness or lack of driving skill, the chilling reality is that the bollard could be a child on a bike the next time.
This problem compounds when dealing with multiple depots or branches. If indeed an incident or accident is recorded at all, where can it be found? In a folder, or a filing cabinet at that branch? Who is responsible for the records, and are all branches following the same procedures? Often a company’s incident data is in total disarray without them really knowing…until it’s too late. The managing director of a company with a very respectable reputation and a fleet of 40 vehicles recently admitted to us that he had “no idea where the paperwork is, if any.”
In summary, every tier of data you have that involves driver management needs to be proactively analysed and recorded in one place with a robust audit trail get the complete picture. Most importantly, ANY concerns highlighted by your data must be acted upon. With so much essential information landing in your inbox day in and day out, using fleet management software really is the only way a company can effectively organise, view and manage the responsibilities that arise from the data you collect, and get that all-important peace of mind that none of your drivers are going to turn into a statistic in the national press.