How Tech Is Making Fleet Drivers Safer
We wrote recently about the ways in which the IoT is revolutionizing transport and logistics for businesses with large shipping divisions, and the convenience benefits can’t be overstated. Tracking routing, vehicle activity, and monitoring conditions for inventory are invaluable practices that such businesses can now enjoy thanks, in large part, to WiFi-enabled trucks and tiny sensors. But, in a similar way, the expansion of IoT and implementation of new technology is also making fleet drivers safer, rather than simply more efficient.
With specific regard to IoT and its presence in shipping fleets, supervisors now have the ability to monitor driving behaviors and compile safety goals and procedures accordingly. GPS technology and other sensors can record data about hard stops and sudden starts, and they can even send alerts to supervisors when drivers are exceeding speed limits. Naturally, this data is helpful for a fleet supervisor to have in order to better address safety. However, the technology also serves as a safeguard merely by being in place and holding drivers accountable. Drivers are simply less likely to drive recklessly when they know their habits are being automatically monitored.
Aside from IoT-specific solutions, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of new technologies and gadgets aimed specifically at keeping drivers safe in general. For the most part, these tend to combat distracted driving, and specifically driver interaction with cell phones while at the wheel. Various new tools from a range of different companies have the ability to prevent phones from sending and receiving text messages while the driver is on road. In most cases, these tools will simply stop an incoming message before an alert is sounded and send an automated reply to the sender, letting him or her know that the user is driving and will respond later. Implementing tools with this sort of capability can be fairly simple even for an entire fleet, and it can only make drivers safer.
Looking to the future, there are some early indications that automated driving systems may soon be useful in the shipping industry. Self-driving cars and trucks are just around the corner. While some believe they’ll solve problems of truck driver shortages by enabling driverless trucks to participate in shipping, they’ll also make things safer for human drivers. It’s important to remember that there are aspects of fleet driving that require human activity, even if the driving itself doesn’t. And there are existing demonstrations of trucks that accommodate this need by allowing drivers to simply sit back and enjoy the ride, which could also solve truck driver shortages simply by making the job more attractive.
Add these factors together and it’s clear that driving a truck within a company fleet is rapidly becoming a safer and more comfortable experience—and that’s great news for any company with a fleet to manage.