Since the turn of the century, we have seen a considerable reduction in accident frequency due to significant technological advancements. Driver safety has been enhanced by things like automatic braking, improved tire design and a variety of safety features that no one had thought about just a decade ago. But with advancement also comes new exposures.
Drivers now share the road with many other commuters, big-box delivery trucks, last-mile Amazon deliveries, ridesharing independent contractors and utility service workers. Many of these drivers are preoccupied with cell phones and a variety of other impairing distractions. In addition, 20 mph e-scooters are whizzing by on the sidewalk and it is predicted that we may soon add robotic delivery drones to the equation.
So, yes, cars are safer, but how do you combat the new exposures that come with technology?
- Read. It is the only way to keep up with new risks as they emerge. Perhaps in-cab cameras would benefit your fleet? Perhaps additional training is needed on the risks that e-scooters pose to your drivers.
- Understand the inherent exposures that your fleet possesses. Is there a vehicle in your fleet that can drive autonomously already? Do your large truck drivers have difficulty viewing vehicles approaching from adjacent lanes?
- Minimize distractions in the vehicle and create policies related to them. Address factors like the use of cell phones when driving and limit consumption of food in the vehicle.
- Factor in increases in journey times for your drivers. There should be nothing gained by speeding.
- Talk. Discuss techniques for handling these hazards as a group. Your drivers are faced with these risks every day in the field. Who can provide better intelligence than them?
- Keep your vehicle use guidelines updated. Communicate these guidelines to your drivers as often as possible – at least every time there is a modification to them.