How to use real-time data to improve your fleet’s safety and efficiency
Managing a fleet of vehicles comes with serious responsibilities. Driver safety is a crucial priority, and important government regulations must be met. Companies need to track maintenance, evaluate driver performance and monitor weather and road conditions.
Regulations aren't just bureaucracy. They're formulated around hard data and designed to reduce the likelihood of crashes and save lives.
The North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies found that moderate rain increases the likelihood of accidents by 75%, and that this number jumps to 250% in heavy rain.1 Canadian Weather-Related Vehicle Crash Statistics indicate bad weather conditions are present in 43% of accidents in Canada—twice as many as in the US.2
The same report identifies snow is a factor in 30% of accidents, and that number jumps to 40% in rain, and up to 50% on wet roads. And these numbers don't consider driving habits and behaviours, which are also proven contributors to accidents on the road.
The good news is that you can efficiently meet and even exceed new and evolving safety regulations with Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
In fact, few areas of business are poised to take advantage of IoT in more immediate and profound ways than fleet management. Sensors and software automate much of the monitoring work, providing real-time data to help substantially improve both vehicle and driver performance.
Bonus: Adding efficiency to your operations with IoT can also reduce fleet management expenditures along the way.
Whether you're dealing with a small number of local delivery vehicles or an extensive fleet of 18-wheelers, here are three ways investing in current and affordable IoT technologies can boost safety.
Know the road ahead
Bad weather is bad news. Heavy rain drastically increases the likelihood of accidents, compromising safety and impacting business continuity. You want to be able to predict bad weather, avoid it and, when necessary, take the proper precautions while stuck in it. These are things IoT devices are especially good at.
Vehicle-based IoT sensors provide highly accurate, location-specific data that drivers and managers can act on in real time, including:
- road temperature
- air temperature
- sonic waveform
Add in intelligent risk forecasts and alerts for hazards such as frozen roads and strong crosswinds, and you'll be able to strategically plan alternate routes that help reduce delays, fuel burn, and—most important of all—the chance of an accident.
Evaluate and improve driver performance
Poor and aggressive driving habits cause accidents. Whether it's someone failing to adjust to unfavourable road conditions or driving dangerously in fair weather, poor driving habits and decisions pose a major risk to your fleet.
Proof: According to government statistics, aggressive driving is responsible for nearly a third (31%) of fatal crashes, and the average collision cost to employers per accident is $16,500.
IoT sensors offer a way to help bring these numbers down. They track driver alerts, providing a wealth of actionable data to help you manage employee road performance, including:
- whether and when they drive above the speed limit
- how fast they accelerate
- how much time they spend idling
- whether they tend to brake sharply
With IoT designed for fleets, you'll be able to compare driver performance and inform training and coaching programs. Most importantly, you'll create a safer, more efficient fleet.
Adapt to safety regulations and fight rising operations costs
Both the US and Canada have updated—and continue to update—safety regulations to ensure drivers aren't fatigued and that vehicles are properly maintained. The right IoT technology can simplify the process of adapting to new and changing safety regulations, including:
- electronic logging devices that automatically track a driver’s Hours of Service (HOS)
- diagnostic sensors that collect data from the vehicle's engine control module
- automatically generated reports for law enforcement and government agencies
The data captured by IoT devices for regulatory purposes doesn't just help with compliance and safety. It also tracks which drivers are on- and off-duty, monitors vehicle location and provides updates on engine hours and kilometres driven. Plus, it outputs complete engine diagnostic reports, including fault code data, RPM monitoring, and coolant temperature.
With this data at your fingertips, you'll be able to better manage maintenance, reduce the chances of accidents caused by mechanical failure and save time and money on paperwork, scheduling and potentially even insurance premiums.
Managing a safe fleet via proper vehicle maintenance and well-trained, dependable drivers is a crucial corporate responsibility that can be leveraged into a potential boon for business. And it all starts with IoT. Learn more about how IoT can benefit fleet management—now and down the road.
1. Stevens, Scott E. et al “Precipitation and fatal motor vehicle crashes” North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies
2. Data from Canadian Weather-Related Vehicle Crash Statistics