The way technology has advanced in recent years makes it possible, at low cost, for operators to monitor their trucks while they’re on the road, to an extent where they might well be sitting inside the cab themselves.
With modern vehicle electronic systems integrating with telemetry technology (GPS, GSM, internet, streaming video etc), ‘live’ data can be transmitted from truck to base and back again, creating a communication link unimaginable just a few years ago. The question is, how does this tech help save lives asks Paul Collings?
For all their sophistication and technological wizardry, today’s ‘safety trucks’ can only do so much to prevent an accident from happening. Technologies like ABS and EBS, stability control, lane monitors and active braking do help save lives but when all is said and done, without a skilled, alert and positively motivated driver behind the wheel, the rig will become a runaway deathtrap sooner or later.
It’s all about driver behaviour and without the help of technology, fleet owners and managers would be none the wiser as to the way any particular driver behaves when alone on the road.
“Video recording technology from DriveCam gives fleet managers daily feedback on how every driver is behaving behind the wheel. Every risky manoeuvre executed by the driver is recorded and analysed by a team of experts based in the USA,” says Louis Swart of Drive Report, the agents for DriveCam in SA.
“This analysis is fed back to clients via the internet and then stored in a software system that produces comprehensive driverbehaviour profiles. With these to hand, fleet managers can proactively counsel drivers on risky driving habits, coach them where necessary and implement unbiased, accurate incentive programmes.”
While conventional fleet management systems use engine data to monitor and schedule vehicles and drivers, the power of in-cab video/ audio to bring out the best in drivers goes a step further, the power of sight and sound.
“It’s a proven fact that people perform better when they know they’re being watched and measured. It should not be regarded as a policing device but rather as a safety and productivity tool,” says Swart.
As evidence of this, clients have reported a marked drop in accidents and a rapid return on investment through a number of cost-saving avenues, be that lower fuel consumption, reduced ‘mystery’ damage, lower drivetrain wear and fewer traffic fines.
“Insurance companies are now offering lower premiums to our clients,” says Swart. “What’s more, the video clips used in determining culpability in an accident offer such hard evidence that the case can be resolved in a matter of days, without the innocent party having to pay a hefty excess to get its truck repaired,” says Swart.
More proof that managing safety is smart business.
2009 FleetWatch magazine and FleetWatch On-Line.
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