Improving Driver Safety
Sept/Oct 2012

For most Americans, driving is a rite of passage into adulthood. It represents freedom, independence, and for some, sovereignty from a tethered world. But with it comes responsibility. In fact, drivers owe it to themselves—and to the thousands of other motorists who share the roads—to make safety their No. 1 priority.

Yet, today’s media-rich environment and advances in modern technology expand our interactive lifestyle and ultimately impact our driving habits. So, it comes as no surprise that the government is taking a more active role in the safety of our nation’s highways and streets. This “intervention” is an effort to reduce the number of crashes that result from driver negligence.

For example, in a recent landmark case in the state of Massachusetts, an 18-year-old teen was found guilty of vehicular homicide as a result of texting while driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. That teen is now facing one year in prison and a 15-year driver’s license suspension.

It’s a tragic story. And unfortunately it’s one that’s recurring over and over again. Massachusetts is only one of many states adopting laws in an effort to better regulate our driving habits. And with those laws come stiffer penalties, but it goes beyond the individual. Companies of all sizes, especially those that manage multiple vehicles and drivers, are under the same close scrutiny.

Fortunately, there are effective tools to improve driver safety, reduce risk, and lower operation costs. These tools include IVMS (in-vehicle monitoring solution) units and instructor-led and online driver behavior modification training.

IVMS (In-Vehicle Monitoring System)

Research has shown 80-95% of all vehicle incidents are related to human factors. That’s why fleet operators are turning to IVMS to provide a 360-degree view of their drivers and the status of their most valued assets.

The data collected by IVMS units vary, but most offer technology that monitors vehicle and driver performance, their behaviors, and ultimately offers a live analysis of any potential incident. Services may also include driver identification, vehicle access control, and driver scoring.

MiX Telematics goes a step further to include driver training and safety consulting, which tie the driver to the vehicle for optimal performance, asset utilization, and safety. Additional services offered include driver certification management, journey management, and driving policy development—anything a company may need to promote safety, security, and peace of mind.

With feedback from the IVMS units, each driver’s performance is reported in realtime to the driver and his or her managers. These reports encourage better driver behavior that positively impacts safety and fuel efficiency. In addition, understanding where and when vehicles travel can result in better management control to reduce unauthorized trips and improve route planning.

The goal of implementing IVMS units across a fleet is ultimately to ensure the wellbeing and safety of drivers and passengers. The hope is that road fatalities and injuries can be reduced while improving overall road safety.

Driver Behavior Modification

Driver behavior modification solutions, which include instructor-led and online training courses, have raised the bar for safety in industries across the U.S. and Canada. Companies may also access MiX’s dedicated team of fleet analysts and client care managers who offer critical realtime driver data and actionable reports, leading to sustainable safety and cost-savings solutions.

These fleet analyst teams supply each client with essential driver trends (i.e. acceleration, braking, and speed) and scores that are based on a proprietary rating system. When problems are identified and documented, specific training programs are created to address each risky driving behavior. This allows a company to not only target, but also improve driver behavior before it results in an unfortunate incident.

Benefits of IVMS and Behavior Modification

Through the use of IVMS technologies and the implementation of driver behavior modification solutions based on realtime data, companies are realizing the benefits of a true 360-degree approach to fleet operations. They have realized additional benefits from a reduction in fuel costs, saving on insurance premiums with safer drivers, and trimming down vehicle-maintenance expenses.

In fact, up to 62% of operating costs may be influenced by implementing fleet-management solutions. Realtime and historical tracking, along with in-cab driving alerts, assist commercial fleets of all sizes to optimize the management and utilization of their vehicles and drivers.

Ultimately, driving is as much a part of our day as answering a call in the office, or heading to an important meeting. Unfortunately, it’s also a task that’s too often taken for granted. So, it’s critical—whether a company is responsible for hauling products across the state or transporting kids to school—that fleet operators and drivers alike remain proactive in maintaining high standards of driving behavior.

MiX Telematics’ advanced technology, years of knowledge, and highly skilled instructors are transforming vehicle and driver safety. See what it can do for your operation!

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