Truck drivers are a lifeline between consumers and goods, delivering everything from essential items to Amazon Prime products. However, the eCommerce boom has increased demand for truck drivers, contributing to a driver shortage. In addition, the rise of “last mile delivery centers” has put local trucking companies in high demand.
Yet trucking is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., responsible for 1 in 10 highway deaths despite being only 4% of vehicles on the road. This danger impacts truck drivers, passenger vehicles, and logistics companies, but new safety technology could prevent an estimated 63,000 truck-related crashes annually.
Here’s how new transportation technology is evolving the industry, making managing fleets safer and more efficient.
1. Increased communication
When trucks began making their first deliveries in the early 1900s, there were very few ways for the motorized wagon drivers to communicate with anyone else involved in the delivery process. However, technological advancements over the 100 years have vastly improved this communication.
Now, it’s easier than ever for fleet managers to stay in contact with drivers throughout the delivery process. Trucks can be tracked throughout the trip, and 360 cameras and sensors allow fleet operators to check in on the driver’s performance and speed.
This increased communication improves safety by letting drivers decide with their carriers about new routes when they experience road delays such as unexpected construction, traffic, or weather. It also allows carriers to send automatic updates to consumers about delays in the delivery process.
2. Distraction-free driving
Thanks to texting, mobile GPS, and enhanced infotainment systems, distracted driving has been a growing problem on the road for years. Unfortunately, the issue is also underreported, as many people don’t admit to driving distracted even in a crash. Yet, at least 2,841 lives were lost to distracted driving on U.S. highways in 2018.
For fleet managers, a distracted driving crash can be a huge liability. Owner-operators can pay $9,000 to $12,000 in insurance, and history of crashes may further increase this cost.
That’s why new software is helping eliminate these distractions with hands-free navigation platforms, voice recognition, and more.
3. Collision mitigation
Beyond reducing distractions, fleet managers can actually reduce collisions by investing in collision mitigation software. This tech uses sensors to predict and monitor crashes while preventing mishaps with emergency measures such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and pedestrian autonomic braking.
A 2017 report commissioned by the AAA Foundation found that emergency braking systems in trucks with gross vehicle weights of more than 10,000 pounds would prevent 5,294 crashes, 2,753 injuries, and 55 deaths annually.
4. Automated service reminders
Maintenance issues can cause unexpected delivery delays, or worse, truck crashes. Now, you can streamline servicing by setting automatic reminders. In this database, you can also log records of previous issues and manage equipment usage.
By automating the service reminder process, you’ll keep your fleet in better working condition, ultimately saving you time while, more importantly, increasing safety.
The eCommerce boom isn’t slowing down soon, and trucking will continue to grow in demand. To stay competitive, it’s essential to manage your fleet with safety and efficiency in mind. Investing in the latest technology improves your bottom line and helps prevent tragic accidents from occurring in the long run.
For more fleet safety management tips, check out the visual below from Dolman Law.