Using crash avoidance technology safely
Source: FleetAnswers For the modern fleet, avoiding crashes is of the utmost importance, ranking almost as high as limiting fuel use and improving driver efficiency. Crashes damage a company's reputation, increase insurance costs and crash avoidance technology is not a new player in the world of fleets, but it is becoming increasingly intelligent, providing drivers with a greater ability to avoid unwanted crashes.
The types of technology available is really quite varied. New vehicles are being equipped with forward collision warning systems and even automatic braking that will help protect drivers forward crashes. Adaptive headlights are also lowering the incidence of crashes. Park assist and backup rollover protection are yet another option, and fatigue warning systems can even help warn drivers when it's time to pull over and rest.
Some safety technology is not new. Antilock brakes are an important part of crash avoidance technology, and they have been standard for years. Since 2012, vehicles have come equipped with electronic stability control standard, and this lowers the risk of fatality in single-vehicle crashes by about 50 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Backup cameras, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings are some examples of these.
However, this has brought a safety problem to the fleets as well. While drivers are, in theory, safer on the road with increased crash avoidance technology in modern fleet vehicles, the technology has encouraged complacency in some drivers. Instead of following proper safety protocols, drivers are relying on their on-board safety technology to protect them. While statistics show that it does, in fact, work to lower crash incidences, complacency is never a good idea when behind the wheel of a fleet vehicle.
No matter how "safe" your vehicles are, safe driving practices must be maintained, and technology alone is not sufficient to avoid a crash. Drivers must realize this as they seek to use the technology safely. As you consider the best ways to use crash avoidance technology in your fleet, and ways in which you can educate your drivers about this, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Choose the right technologies - Choose technologies that work with your vehicle type and the type of crash that is most common for your fleet. For example, if your drivers rarely back into their parking spot or up to a loading dock, a backover prevention system may not be needed.
- Provide the right training - Train drivers thoroughly on how to use the crash avoidance technology installed on their vehicles.
- Keep technology maintained - Ensure avoidance technologies like electronic stability control is properly functioning on all vehicles.
- Insist on safety protocols - Teach drivers not to rely on crash avoidance technology alone. They should still be maintaining basic safety protocols, like checking blind spots before switching lanes and driving at a safe following distance.
- Stop driver distractions - Limit in-cab driver distractions to ensure drivers are paying attention to safety while on the road.
- Ensure proper sleep - Limit time that drivers are on the road, and encourage drivers to get enough sleep.