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How the right technology can keep safety a top priority

May 24, 2021
According to NPTC’s Benchmarking Survey Report 2020, fleets continue to increase the amount of advanced safety technologies in their operations.

Safety is—or should be—a top priority for every fleet. And as we all know, safety needs to be a message that starts at the very top of an organization and runs through all the management layers down to drivers, technicians, dispatchers, etc.

To be truly effective, there have to be actions behind the safety message that fleets espouse. That is why I was interested to see what the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) found out about the use of active safety technologies by private fleets in its Benchmarking Survey Report 2020.

According to the survey report, “Fleets continue to increase the amount of advanced safety technologies in their fleet operations. In every instance, all the safety technologies showed single-digit gains year over year.” This is great news.

Items like lane departure warning systems, collision warning systems and adaptive cruise control showed very large gains and now are in use by more than 60% of the fleets surveyed. A significant percentage of fleets—75% or more—indicated that they are also monitoring speed. That’s significant because studies have shown that speeding is a contributing factor in many big truck accidents.

According to the report, “Nearly two-thirds of the fleets (65%) reported installing both forward-facing and driver-facing [cameras] while, in 24% of the deployments, the cameras were outward-facing only.”

Data from cameras can be especially helpful to fleet managers as it provides contextual information about what was happening at the time a hard braking, hard acceleration or other recordable event occurred. If the drive had to brake hard because a passenger car cut in too close, there may not be a need for driving coaching. But if the video from the cameras shows that the driver has too many instances of hard braking because they are following the vehicle in front of them too closely, then the video can be used as a coaching tool to help the driver improve and become more aware of following distances.

I applaud the fleets from the NPTC survey for making investments in technologies that improve the safety of their vehicles and drivers. I hope for-hire fleets are making these same sorts of investments. And I encourage both private and for-hire fleets to couple their safety investments with a top-down commitment to safety and ongoing efforts to reinforce safety throughout the organization. Investments in on-vehicle technology along with driver coaching and rewarding safe drivers is a winning combination for safety on the road.

Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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