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With road accident figures still at an alarming rate, it can be quite unnerving thinking about general road safety. An article published by Fortune revealed that “2016 was the deadliest year on American roads in nearly a decade,” with 40,000 people dying last year due to crashes, which is 6% higher than the statistics in 2015. These figures have a trickle-down effect, not only impacting drivers’ families, but also industries such as the transportation sector and fleet services.
For fleet companies, the road is their bread and butter. On a daily basis, they are faced with accidents that impact their businesses. But, recent developments in technology have offered them a solution to promote and exercise safety for their drivers and their vehicles.
Read on below to find out the top safety tech trends that will reshape the fleet service industry in 2017.
Commercial fleets are now seeking ways to reduce distracted driving and road accidents with the use of technology, particularly semi-autonomous features built into vehicles.
Some of the known safety tech features on modern fleet vehicles are:
“Active frontal crash avoidance systems and adaptive headlights are showing some of the best results in reducing accidents and are becoming more common,” said Dan Frank, president of Wheels, Inc. “And rearview backup cameras are becoming standard. Manufacturers are doing a better job offering safety packages for fleet that do not require expensive model upgrades.”
Currently, automakers tend to offer the aforementioned safety technologies on high-end vehicles. However, in 2018 all models will be required by law to have a backup camera as per the finalized regulations drawn up by the US Department of Transportation in 2014.
There’s a growing problem related to distracted drivers in America, which has led to many tragic incidents. In data presented by Center for Statistics and Analysis, vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers results in at least eight people being killed and over 1,160 people injured per day on US roads.
Distracted driving also affects businesses with fleet services. Safety + Health reports that fleet vehicle crashes are among the most costly worker injury claims, averaging over $21,000 per incident. Thankfully, technology has provided them with a way to reduce potential costs due to road accidents. According to a post by Telogis, some fleet supervisors are leveraging GPS tracking to monitor their drivers’ behavior, building a safer working environment, while also cutting costs and increasing efficiency.
Fleet tracking services allow companies to monitor their drivers through real-time data and help them outline comprehensive safety goals and procedures. Supervisors can easily monitor distracted driving as these tracking services are able to identify driving behavior including hard stops and starts, exceeding the speed limit, and route management. As connected devices gain prominence, the next wave of development will connect fleet tracking devices and safety management software. Soon, most if not all fleet service companies will be embracing these management tools to not only prevent, but also help predict incidents and accidents.
Another road safety trend that will be determined by technology is the use of self-driving vehicles. Automobile companies such as Toyota and Volvo suggest that the use of autonomous vehicles will potentially lessen traffic injuries and fatalities. The car companies have recently been urging congress to finalize a nationwide self-driving car standard.
“Despite these important developments and major technological advances, the U.S. lacks the critical consistent national framework to advance these life-saving technologies,” said Anders Karrber, Volvo Cars VP of government affairs.
The first self-driving truck was initially unveiled in 2015 in the state of Nevada, followed by several tests around the world. The vehicle uses an automated driving technology that allows the truck to use Wi-Fi, GPS, cameras, and sensors. The main truck in the convoy will dictate the speed and direction that the other vehicles will follow.
Soon, these driverless trucks will be dominating roads and will promote safety for pedestrians and other drivers.
As new forms of technology offer innovative ways to make roads safer for fleet drivers, the hope is that annual road accident rates will decrease dramatically in the years to come.