The harsh weather of winter months naturally brings fleet safety more into focus.
At face value, fleet safety is keeping drivers out of harm’s way. Beneath the surface, safety is a key factor in boosting efficiency and decreasing total cost of ownership. Simply put, a culture of safety instilled into all facets of a fleet can be good for the bottom line.
Preventing accidents not only protects drivers and others on the road, but also prevents additional expenses. For example, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) reported on-the-job crashes that result in an injury can cost upwards of $75,000.
Ultimately, a safer fleet relies on systems allowing a more seamless and intentional on-the-road process. In the fleet management industry, there are several services that not only provide worthwhile safety features but also increase efficiency. A commitment to reducing potentially dangerous incidents doesn’t mean a sacrifice in profits.
The following is a list of fleet management tools that not only increase safety, but fleet efficiency as well. Working together in tandem or individually, they can help save fleets money and help reduce costly incidents.
The offerings in transportation mobility technology continue to evolve. Telematics solutions emphasize efficiency via safety perhaps more than any other fleet management tool, but also help boost fuel economy and reduce fuel costs. The amount of data available through telematics, increasingly complex safety systems and advanced analytics continue to grow in importance and add to more standard telematics offerings.
According to analysts at Frost & Sullivan, telematics helps fleets save about 20% to 25% on fuel expenses through the promotion of better driving practices, including the reduction of speeding, harsh acceleration and hard braking. Optimizing routes is one of the most used features of telematics. In doing so, drivers are more likely to remain on-task and reduce mileage that could lead to further wear and tear on vehicles.
Telematics also help manage work hours and improve schedules that can help reduce fatigue – a major reason for accidents. Using data effectively can help fleet managers increase productivity by 10 to 15% and reduce overtime by 10 to 15%, decreasing daily driving time by 20 to 30 minutes based on the previously mentioned Frost & Sullivan analysis.
Telematics and in-vehicle cameras can reconstruct accidents, allowing fleet managers to build safety training programs for drivers. Additionally, monitoring driving behavior is a safety-added value that helps prevent on-the-job incidents.
Fleet vehicles can be put through great stress and strain over time. Breakdowns and unplanned maintenance can impact efficiency, and place drivers in dangerous situations. Telematics can alert fleet managers to needed vehicle maintenance, helping keep fleet vehicles safe and ready for the road. In turn, this helps avoid even more expensive repairs or accidents that can occur from inconsistent upkeep.
Implementing a fleet card program is an easy and popular way to save money on everyday fuel purchases. However, most overlook that safety is built into most fleet cards. For drivers, it eliminates the need to carry cash or personal credit cards to fill up fleet vehicles and helps drivers avoid the need to collect cumbersome paper receipts.
Fleet cards and their software platforms can help avoid fleet fraud, with the ability to track exact fuel spend and set limits on fuel purchases. The ability to quickly activate cards or cancel them at a moment’s notice if lost or stolen is another convenient safety feature. Driver ID technology helps to monitor expenditures for each vehicle driver.
Mobile fueling services deliver a variety of fuel options to fleets with trained technicians filling vehicles on site during downtime. This service, in addition to helping save on costs via bulk fuel purchasing, removes the need for drivers to carry cash or personal credit cards to fill up.
Requiring drivers to fill-up vehicles frequently can reduce productivity. According to Geotab, drivers are diverted about two miles out of the way to get gas, spending about 8 minutes at the gas station each time they stop for fuel on average. A fueling trip adds more than 20 minutes to a driver’s shift. Mobile fueling drastically reduces driver fill-ups at gas stations, helping save over 3,000 hours of fueling and over 20,000 miles of fueling trips for a fleet of 100.
For those fleets utilizing the service, safety starts before the first truck delivers a drop of fuel on-site. A mobile fueling provider, such as Shell TapUp walks fleets through the required permitting and guidelines approvals, establishing safety procedures from the onset. Fueling technicians follow strict adherence to safety procedures and protocols on- and off-site, even leading local officials and fleet staff through on-site fueling demonstrations designed to help prevent safety incidents.
Electric vehicles and EV charging
Safety is also an important element among EV fleets. More fleets are turning to electric vehicles (EVs) with each passing year, largely due to their long-term cost savings, federal and local policy, incentives and the push to decarbonize. Safety comes into play when a fleet is assessing EV implementation which also helps fleet operators run a more efficient fleet. Technical and commercial proposals are shared between teams before installation, and technicians follow high safety and security standards on charging station installation days. Following that, online platforms are used to monitor efficiency, and dedicated teams provide ongoing support to answer day-to-day inquiries and keep equipment running.