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Accidents, injuries, and personal losses are some of the consequences due to unruly fleet driving behaviors. Unfortunately, heavy-weight vehicle accidents record the maximum number of fatalities in the United States. Taking safety measures and creating awareness are crucial for avoiding hazardous driving.

5 Riskiest Fleet Driving Behaviors 

Safe driving practices for fleets are a must. The owners, operators, managers, and drivers must take all precautions to mitigate risky behavior, such as speeding, being distracted, tailgating, getting aggressive, and being tired. These are also the 5 riskiest fleet driving behaviors.

Speeding

    Speeding poses a significant risk for fleets due to the following reasons.

  • It hinders the attention span and thus prevents the driver from reacting promptly, which increases the chances of accidents.
  • The impact of the brakes is not immediate, which increases the stopping distance.
  • In case of a collision, a vehicle at higher speed results in a more impactful hit leading to more significant damage.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the below statistics show the worrying consequences of speeding and highlight the need for executing Safe driving practices for fleets to reduce accidents due to speeding.

TABLE 1.1-SPEEDING-RELATED DEATHS AND PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL TRAFFIC DEATHS

YearSpeeding-related deathsPercent of total traffic deaths
200012,55230%
200112,92431%
200213,79932%
200313,49931%
200413,29131%
200513,58331%
200613,60932%
200713,14032%
200811,76731%
200910,66431%
201010,50832%
201110,00131%
201210,32931%
20139,69629%
20149,28328%
20159,72327%
201610,29127%
20179,94727%
20189,57926%
20199,59226%
202011,42829%
202112,33029%
Source:  NSC analysis of NHTSA FARS data and National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, May) Speeding: 2017 data (Traffic Safety Facts. DOT HS 812 687). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It is unfortunate to see the above statistics. Thus, to prevent such behaviors, the following are some tips and risk prevention strategies to adhere to rules and regulations about speed limits.

  • Imparting education and training that emphasizes the importance of adherence to speed limits.
  • Proper signage and reminders should be portrayed on each road, especially on motorways.
  • Self-monitoring devices such as GPRS should be inbuilt into vehicles that prompt the driver to remain within speed limits.
  •  Heavy fines and penalties must be levied on drivers who do not maintain speed limits and road safety rules and regulations.

Implementing the above strategies for risk management in fleets cultivates a sense of responsibility that encourages drivers to focus on safe driving behaviors.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior that diverts attention from the road and significantly increases the risk of accidents. It is crucial to stay focused and prioritize safe driving practices.

Distracted driving poses significant risks in a fleet setting due to the following reasons:

  • If the driver is distracted, there are more chances of an accident as their reaction time increases.
  • Leeds to reduced productivity as the driver spends more time in other activities and thus takes more time to reach their destination.
  • Businesses lose goodwill and reputation as a result of accidents. 

Moreover, should the driver fail to adhere to appropriate conduct, the fleet owner may encounter repercussions such as monetary fines, penalties, and, in extreme cases, suspension of their licenses.

Below are some examples of common distractions and their potential consequences.

DistractionPotential Consequences
Texting/Using a Mobile DeviceAccident risk is increased, and reaction times slow down
Talking on the PhoneReduced response time and leads to less situational awareness
Eating/DrinkingVehicle instability
Grooming/Personal CareReduced concentration leads to poor driving skills
Using In-car TechnologiesLoss of attention due to cognitive and visual distractions

The potential consequences of these distractions may lead to accidents, injuries, damage to property and assets, legal implications, changes in insurance premiums, and loss of goodwill. Therefore, every driver must realize the importance of concentration for everybody’s well-being while on the road.

Below are some of the Fleet risk prevention strategies to minimize distractions

Practical SolutionsDescription
Silence or turn off your phoneRefrain from using or checking your phone.
Use a phone mountMount your phone safely for convenient access.
Set up pre-programmed settingsMake necessary adjustments to the vehicle’s settings.
Plan your route in advanceLessen your dependency on the GPS.
Avoid eating and drinkingAvoid eating or drinking while you drive
Limit in-car distractionsAvoid distraction-causing activities
Delegate tasksTake help from co-passengers in case required
Take regular breaksAvoid getting too tired
Be mindful of emotional distractionsAvoid having tense or emotional talks while operating a motor vehicle.
Practice mindfulness and focusAlways be mindful, aware, and present when driving.

By following the tips mentioned in the above Table, the driver can help himself from being distracted.

Tailgating

Driving too closely behind another vehicle, providing little room for safe braking or maneuvering, is known as tailgating. It is a risky move that slows response time and raises the possibility of rear-ending crashes.

Tailgating poses significant dangers in fleet operations due to the following reasons:

·  Tailgating Increases the Risk of Rear-End Collisions

·  Little room for safe braking reduces the provision of limited reaction time.

·  Chain reaction collisions may occur, especially when the driver drives at a high speed.

·  Due to inadequate space for safe braking, the impact of the collision is higher.

Fleet operators can lessen the possibility of accidents and improve all-around road safety for their drivers and other vehicles by encouraging the latter to maintain a safe distance.

Maintaining safe distances between vehicles is crucial for road safety. The recommended safe following distances may vary depending on various conditions, but here are some general guidelines:

Safe DistancesDescription
1. Following Distance (Normal Conditions)Maintain a minimum of a 3-second following distance behind the vehicle ahead.
2. Following Distance (Adverse Conditions)Maintain a minimum of a 4-second following distance behind the vehicle ahead.. in adverse weather,
3. Stopping DistanceTake into consideration the vehicle’s speed, road conditions, and braking capabilities, and maintain a safe stopping distance.

Following are some tips and techniques for drivers to avoid tailgating.

– Stay away from distractions and be attentive.

– Modify your speed to maintain a safe distance.

– Steer clear of aggressive techniques, including abrupt braking or acceleration.

– Regularly check your rear-view mirrors to be alert of oncoming traffic.

– If a car is tailgating you, safely change lanes so it may pass.

– Use turn signals to express your intentions and keep your speed constant.

By following the above safe driving behaviors tips and techniques, drivers can help in avoiding hazardous driving.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving can be dangerous. It can lead to accidents as it poses a risk of road rage, tailgating, and speeding.

Following are some of the negative impacts of aggressive driving on fleet safety.

·    Chances of Accidents

·    Losing focus and reduced Reaction Time

·    Legal Implications and Reputational Damage

·    Loss of assets and repair cost

Thus, stay calm and alert at all times. If you are mentally exhausted or disturbed, it is best to take a break and relax. Once you are calm, resume driving due to the following reasons.

·  Once the mind is at rest and free from stress and anxiety, you focus and concentrate on safety.

·    Sensible driving helps minimize fuel consumption and saves energy and fuel cost.

·    Lesser or no accidents build the fleet’s reputation and thus increase goodwill.

Promoting safe driving practices for fleets is very crucial. The above risk prevention strategies help in reducing the chances of accidents and building a good reputation.

To address and prevent accidents, here are some effective fleet risk prevention strategies:

·  Regular training and educating the drivers about traffic laws and the adverse effect of speeding is necessary.

·   Communicate the companies’ policies, rules, and regulations for speeding.

·   Install inbuilt speed regulator devices such as speed limiters.

·   Reward and recognition for drivers who practice safe and non-aggressive driving.

By implementing safe driving practices for fleets, the operators can effectively address and prevent aggressive driving incidents, creating a safer and more professional environment for their drivers and other road users.

Fatigue and Drowsy Driving

Driving involves concentration and can be tedious activity if done for long and continuous hours as it can lead to fatigue. Following are some of the risks associated while fatigued or drowsy:

·    Lowers the reaction times which can delay judgment.

·    More likelihood of drifting out of lanes.

·    Possibility of missing road signs, signals, and instructions.

Promoting safe practices for fleets can help in fighting fatigue. Therefore, organizations must educate drivers periodically on the importance of getting sufficient sleep. They must also be made aware of the fact that following a healthy routine is beneficial in keeping the mind active and improving concentration. Make sure to educate them about the ill effects of alcohol and other stimulants. Try to avoid calling them or discussing work-related matters after their shifts.

Limiting driving hours to the implementation of fatigue management policies helps in a great way. Following are some of the Tips and Policies to Prevent Drowsy Driving Incidents:

·   Drivers should not be allowed to drive continuously, instead should be encouraged to take breaks.

·    Drivers should only be allowed to drive for a specific number of hours in a day.

·    Organizations should install fatigue monitoring systems.

·   Fleet operators must directly ascertain the health conditions to find out whether the driver looks exhausted or not.

By taking timely action and by implementing risk management, managers can mitigate the risk.

Conclusion

Risky fleet driving behaviors such as speeding, being distracted, tailgating, getting aggressive, and fatigue can lead to accidents. There are ways to minimize these risks by adhering to traffic rules and regulations. Also being mindful and stress-free plays a vital role. It is the responsibility of each driver as well as the operators to educate and train the drivers to prioritize safe driving practices for fleets and be responsible drivers. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do I create a fleet-wide policy to discourage speeding among drivers?

To create a fleet-wide policy to discourage speeding, establish clear speed limits, provide driver education on the dangers of speeding, and implement a system for monitoring and enforcing speed limits.

2. What are the most common distractions faced by fleet drivers, and how can I address them?

The most common distractions include mobile devices, in-cab technology, and external stimuli. Address them by implementing strict no-phone policies, offering training on managing in-cab technology responsibly, and promoting focus and mindfulness during driving.

3. What are the legal implications if a fleet driver causes an accident due to tailgating?

The legal implications of a fleet driver causing an accident due to tailgating include penalties, fines, increased insurance premiums, legal liabilities, and potential lawsuits.

4. Are there any specific training programs or resources available to help drivers combat aggressive driving tendencies?

Yes. Special training programs and resources are available to help drivers combat aggressive driving tendencies. Look for

  • defensive driving courses,
  • fleet driver safety training, and 
  • online resources provided by reputable organizations.

5. How can I identify signs of driver fatigue and implement measures to prevent drowsy driving within my fleet?

Signs of driver fatigue can include excessive yawning, difficulty keeping eyes open, drifting within the lane, and feeling lethargic. Implement measures to prevent drowsy driving by encouraging regular rest breaks, promoting adequate sleep, and educating about the dangers of driving while tired.

Posted in Fleet Safety

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