Tag Archives: driver safety

More miles. More risk. Why better routing is a safety thing.

truck-driver-safetyYou don’t need to be told that the more time you spend on the road, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. Even if you’re the most careful truck driver out there you unfortunately need to share it with a lot of unsafe drivers (you possibly have other words to describe them).

Unfortunately, as a professional driver you need to be on the road. You know well the saying that if the ‘wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning’ but to avoid becoming a statistic there are some ways to mitigate the risks.

Safer trucks have helped but records show that truck occupant fatalities have increased from 0.16 per million miles in 2009 to 0.21 in 2014. Increased traffic on the roads have no doubt contributed to the increase.

While safe, defensive driving helps there are some clever ways to use new tech to make each trip safer – by making it shorter.

Driving less miles is better for everyone

When you’ve been driving the same route for a long time you probably think you already know the best route but when you’re driving an 80,000lb 18-wheeler you generally have a few more challenges finding the best route compared to the average motorist.

And when you run a fleet of trucks, across different routes with different pickup and delivery requirements you can easily be driving more miles than you have to. Aside from the reduced risk that come from minimizing mileage there are other benefits:

  • Reduced fuel spend – With average economy for a large truck around the 6 mpg mark it make sense to curtail your gas bill where you can.
  • Less wear and tear on the truck – You most likely paid over a quarter million for the truck and trailer; make sure you get your money’s worth.
  • Improved profitability for each job – If you’re driving more efficiently between jobs then you’re getting a better return – and spending less time doing it.

So what’s involved in finding the best route for every job? Here’s how a little bit of tech wizardry can help.

Finding the best route for big trucks

As you know, if you’re driving a big rig there are some restrictions on what routes you can take. Some municipalities may restrict vehicles over a certain weight or size. If you’re carrying hazardous materials there’ll also be roads you can’t take. Then there are the practical concerns such as having sufficient room to maneuver or crossing lines of traffic. The problem doesn’t stop just because you’ve arrived at the street address, in fact it can be significantly tougher as you navigate your truck through a tight parking lot or distribution yard.

This is when you realize that relying on something designed for consumers just isn’t suitable for commercial drivers. You need a fully featured commercial navigation solution that can consider all route restrictions to find the best one.

  • Legal routes – Route using only roads that are legal for the specific size, weight and load type of your truck.
  • Driver feedback – Routes updated frequently with feedback from over 150,000 professional drivers.
  • Right-side routing – Avoid having to cross lanes of traffic by making sure your destination is always on the same side as you’re traveling in.
  • Multiple-stop optimizationOptimize your delivery route based on the stops you need to make (see also customer time-windows).
  • Customer time-windows – If deliveries can only be made during a specific time window, you can specify this in the routing software.
  • Avoiding left turns or U-turns – Choose if you prefer to avoid making certain maneuvers, useful for areas with high congestion.
  • Traffic congestion – Avoid certain roads during periods of high traffic.
  • Road closures or detours – Update routing quickly to accommodate temporary road or lane closures.
  • Unique route hazards (blind corners, hidden exits etc.) – Add spoken notes that the navigation device can read out when approaching unique hazards along the way.
  • Narrow roads or low bridges/canopies – Using the dimensions of your vehicle, you can make sure that you avoid any structures your truck won’t get through.

Even when you’ve been driving for years it’s hard to figure out the optimum route when you need to factor in so many variables. Even just working out the best route when you have multiple stops soon gets into the millions of possibilities.

Safety starts with better routing

It’s not just reducing the number of miles (and thus your exposure to the risk of being in an accident) that better routing offers you – it’s also about helping you stay calm, confident and in control all the way to the final destination.

A Senior VP of Safety & Security at Schneider National has been quoted as saying that ‘a lost driver makes bad decisions and routes themselves into trouble.’ With reliable, accurate turn-by-turn navigation guiding you from start to finish, you can make sure there’s one less dangerous driver on the road.

Triple Fatality Shows Need For Fleet Tracking

A triple fatality on the I-40 has highlighted the importance of truck driver safety, and the strict compliance codes introduced with CSA 2010.

The collision happened on the Interstate 40 in Durham between a tractor-trailer truck and three other vehicles. A witness described the accident as a ‘vision of hell’ with bits of metal, fuel and other debris littered for hundreds of yards.

Despite rescue services being on the scene within minutes little could be done for the three victims.

Truck driver charged

Investigation into the accident uncovered that the truck driver was under the influence at the time. Ronald Eugene Graybeal, 50, is in the Durham County jail after being charged with driving while impaired and three counts of felony death by vehicle.

Graybeal was driving a truck owned by an East Tennessee company, Hawley Transport, that has been cited for dozens of violations related to fatigued drivers and unsafe driving, according to federal inspection records.

In 11 fatigue cases, inspectors pulled Hawley drivers out of service and did not allow them to continue driving. Those violations include driving more than 11 hours without rest and providing false or incomplete records to show how many hours the driver had been at the wheel.

Prior to this accident, Hawley trucks had been involved in two crashes in early 2010 in Kentucky and Tennessee, including one that involved an injury.

Unsafe truck drivers are killing innocent people

This unfortunate incident has highlighted the critical need for both truck drivers and trucking companies to be on top of safety. Don’t wait for people to die before implementing safety measures.

While truck driving can be a dangerous job (and some truck driving jobs more dangerous than the rest) there are some key things that both drivers and trucking companies can do to maximize both their own safety, and that of the general public.

Truck GPS systems save lives

As DOT and FMCSA continue to tighten up regulations around driving conditions and driver safety records, fleet owners can stay a step ahead with a GPS fleet tracking solution such as Telogis Fleet. Telogis Fleet, along with Telogis Mobile, contributes to driver safety in several ways.

HOS – Telogis Mobile automatically tracks individual driver hours and provides a logged safety record that cannot be falsified. It provides an accurate and reliable way to make sure your drivers are complying with the maximum number of driving hours.

Pre and Post Trip Inspections – Telogis Mobile provides a way to have your drivers complete safety inspections and submit these electronically using their electronic navigation device.

Safe Driving – Telogis Fleet can monitor dangerous driving including harsh braking or acceleration as well as speeding. These are often symptoms of a driver more likely to be involved in an accident.

Workload Balancing – Overworked drivers are a hazard to themselves and other road users. Telogis Route offers advanced scheduling of drivers to make sure no one is overworked and routes fairly distributed among staff.

Improving the reputation of truckers

Unfortunately it’s accidents such as this, caused by a drugged-out driver, that give good truckers a bad name. You can do your part in promoting truck drivers and trucking industry as safety conscious by employing good driver systems to make sure one bad apple doesn’t spoil it for the rest of us.