We have smart cars, self-driving cars, and cars with more safety-oriented bells and whistles than ever before, yet traffic crash fatalities continue to rise.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released the 2016 Fatal Traffic Crash Data early this month, sharing the 5.6 percent increase in traffic deaths during the last year. According to the report, 37,461 people were killed on the road in 2016. A majority of this number were caused by speeding, drunk driving, and a lack of seatbelt use. Distracted driving caused over 3,000 deaths and drowsy driving killed over 800 people.
We call them “accidents” for a reason, but, as seen in the data given above, many driving fatalities are avoidable. Driving is a necessary part of your company’s operations, but you can take steps to make sure your drivers are as safe as they can be.
With the highway safety tips given below, you can give your fleet drivers the tools they need to return home safely after every trip.
1. Don’t speed
While this is very much a common-sense practice, there are few drivers who don’t speed regularly and without thought. On many roads — and most highways — speed limits are viewed as guidelines rather than rules. While traveling at speeds that are 5-15 MPH over the speed limit may seem inconsequential, even small increases can be deadly. Driver reaction time, braking distance, and the impact speed that affects passengers are all changed by increases in speed. In fact, a study found that an accident that occurs at 50 MPH is four times as bad as a crash at 25 MPH. And for vehicles traveling at 75 MPH, the result would be nine times as bad as a crash at 25 MPH.
Stress the importance of driving at safe speeds, but don’t stop there. With a telematics device such as the Geotab Go8, you can monitor driving speeds in real time. When your drivers know that you are carefully monitoring their speeds, they will hopefully be more willing to drive at a moderate pace.
2. Wear seatbelts
Depending on your drivers’ ages, seatbelt-wearing may not be as ingrained as it should be. Encourage your drivers to wear their seatbelts any time they’re in the vehicle. You can even enforce this safety measure by using your telematics devices to report and detect seatbelt use. A seatbelt can protect the lives of everyone in the car, but it can also protect those outside the vehicle. Ejected drivers and passengers can become gruesome projectiles that endanger those in the vicinity, so make the road safer by buckling up.
3. Practice constant awareness
In the USDOT’s report, data shows nearly 7,000 deaths were pedestrians and bicyclists. While you likely won’t encounter either on the highway, all vehicles share the road with other drivers, disabled vehicles on the side of the road, and construction workers. As your employees travel, train them to stay aware of their surroundings. Debris in the road, in-vehicle distractions, driver mistakes, and plain bad luck can cause utterly devastating accidents. Remind your drivers to keep a safe distance between themselves and vehicles ahead. Devices such as Cellcontrol can keep distractions to a minimum, freeing your employees to give their full attention to their current task. With eyes on the road at all times, your drivers will be better equipped to finish each trip unscathed.