In the second in our series about Safety in US Trucking, we look at why such an initiative is necessary and how truck operators can improve safety.
This year’s focus is on speeding – perhaps the most widespread poor driving behavior. Across the world, as traffic levels dropped during the Coronavirus pandemic, it was widely documented that excessive speeding and reckless driving increased. State highway safety officials across the US reported a severe spike in speeding, dangerous driving, and accidents.
Despite an 80% decrease in traffic in New York City in March compared with January, 20% more speeding tickets were awarded. Even more shockingly, tickets for driving 21-25mph above the speed limit rose by 40%.
Unsurprisingly, accidents occurring in this period were significantly worse than normal and in Minnesota crashes and fatalities more than doubled compared with the same period in previous years. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) outlined examples from across the nation.
So, it’s more important this year than ever that Operation Safe Driver Week is going ahead. In addition to increased enforcement activity, education is also a fundamental part of the campaign to tackle unsafe driving behaviors. Awareness-raising events will take place across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police said, “As passenger vehicle drivers are limiting their travel to necessary trips and many commercial motor vehicle drivers are busy transporting vital goods to stores, it’s more important than ever to monitor our roadways for safe transport.”
According to the latest available data, overall fatalities on US roads decreased by 2.4% in 2018. But the news for trucking operators is not so positive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) factsheet reports that in 2018 there were 4,951 people killed in crashes involving large trucks, an increase of almost 1% from 2017.
The majority of this increase was the deaths of occupants of other vehicles in the crash. Across the United States, an estimated 531,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported crashes in 2018 and an estimated 151,000 people were injured.
We fully support Operation Safe Driver Week. It’s our mission to increase fleet and vehicle safety across the globe. I a forthcoming blog How to improve truck safety and avoid Nuclear Verdicts, we will explain steps carriers can take to boost the safety of their vehicles, drivers and in turn all road users.
Over the coming week, thousands of trucks will be taken out of service by enforcement officials because of safety concerns highlighted in checks. Last year the figure was over 12,000, with almost 3,000 drivers also disallowed from driving. Each day trucks and drivers are off the road costs money and affects business.
Proper compliance including regular (daily) safety checks, maintenance, and record–keeping would highlight almost all the issues picked up by enforcement checks. We urge operators not to wait until it’s too late but to take precautionary action.
As well as enabling paperless compliance, driver information storage, and vehicle checks management via the CameraMatics Go app, our truck and fleet safety solutions include a range of features to combat dangerous driving.
Working with us, Dynes Motor Company caught 66% more non-compliance issues, had an 86% reduction in re-offending non-compliance and a 72% reduction in erratic/unsafe driving behaviors. Ultimately this led to a 23% reduction in accident claims.
CameraMatics features include AI-enabled driver warning alerts, such as Forward Collision, Driver Fatigue/Distraction, and Distance Control. Vehicle cameras give drivers full visibility around their vehicle and protect other road users. Fleet managers are alerted to potential issues before it’s too late and have an instant and complete picture of every vehicle, wherever it is, whatever it is doing to give you complete protection.