In 2016, there was a 20.6% increase in fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles as compared to 2015, totalling up to a whopping 868 injuries and fatal accidents in a year. The top 3 causes of these accidents are due to the driver's negligence to:
- 1. Keep a proper lookout and prevent distractions.
- 2. Give way to traffic with right of way.
- 3. Have proper control of the vehicle.
The top violations for heavy vehicle drivers include speeding, which is especially dangerous due to the size and weight of the vehicles and their load, not keeping to left lanes, and not wearing a seatbelt.
A safe and well-managed fleet of vehicles can result in a lower vehicle downtime equating to a profitable business, better customer service and increased safety, among a myriad of other benefits. Every employer and driver has a role to play in raising awareness and ensuring that road safety rules are complied with.
What employers can do
It is important for employers to set a good example for their employees. Examples of what they can do include ensuring that drivers are trained and competent, and coming up with a proper regime for fleet maintenance, making sure that vehicles are up to the manufacturer's standards at all times. Drivers' work hours should be managed to prevent driver fatigue and employers can do this by limiting shift work and overtime, introducing job rotation, and giving adequate break times. Employees themselves can contribute by ensuring that they get adequate rest before driving long hours or through the night.
Technology to assist driver management and curb distracted driving
Companies can employ technology to further increase the safety of both drivers and road users. A fleet management system can be implemented, providing fleet managers with an overview of their fleet and key insights such as speeding, idling, harsh braking, vehicle maintenance scheduling status, current vehicle location and more. Complement it with the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) by Mobileye and it can prevent accidents by alerting drivers of potential incidences such as speeding, unsafe following driving distance, lane departures, imminent forward collision and imminent pedestrian or bicycle collision. It is said that reading a text steals your attention away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, where a 2-second distraction away from the road increases the risk of an accident by 24x. The early warnings by the ADAS will alert drivers to divert their attention back to the road, enabling them to react and correct their driving before any accidents can occur. The warnings also come in the form of load beeps, acting as a prevention of drivers' negligence due to fatigue.
It can also be as simple as installing a dual-lens dashcam which can record both inside and outside of the vehicle. Employers can check the recordings routinely, acting as a deterrent to drivers who do not practice road safety rules such as giving way to traffic, keeping to left lanes or wearing a seatbelt.
With all the different ways to prevent accidents, both employers and drivers alike must understand the importance of their role in contributing to the reduction of road accidents, actively playing their part in practising road safety.