Let’s face it, no matter how many precautions a fleet takes, when a driver gets on the road there’s always the possibility of something going wrong. But these days a broad range of cutting-edge technologies are helping to minimize the possibility of such mishaps.
Some of the most useful technologies are referred to as “event- triggered video capture systems,” that use small cams installed on the truck to record events, like a near-miss or a full-blown accident. Drivers are then able to go back and see what went wrong with the idea being that once the root cause of the problem is identified, the chances of it ever happening again can be minimized.
The ICEE Company, producer of one of the highly recognized brands in the frozen carbonated beverage market, recently implemented a solution from one such vendor, SmartDrive, across its entire fleet. The company says it will be using the solution to develop focused driving skills training programs aimed at reducing risk and generating fuel savings.” Having used another system in the past we were already sold on the benefits of event-triggered video capture to improve driving skills,” says Rod Sexton, vice president of operations at ICEE. “We chose to switch to SmartDrive because of the support and the coaching programs that come with the product. With the clip reviews and grading of clips, along with SmartDrive’s support, we believe we will see more efficient drivers and a measurable reduction in collisions.”
The SmartDrive integrated solution of onboard video and audio, and vehicle data capture systems, detects risky and inefficient driving actions. The SmartDrive Review Center categorizes and prioritizes the triggered driving events based on more than 70 observations. This information is then used to provide scientifically based, focused training and coaching programs that target and prioritize the areas needing improvement.
“SmartDrive’s safety program is designed to identify the most unsafe or inefficient driving skills to provide a true picture of what is really happening on the road,” says Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive. “Our ability to understand texting while driving, unsafe following, and speeding is unprecedented in the industry. Our comprehensive focus on driving skills will give The ICEE Company the personalized driver training programs it needs to improve safety and fuel efficiency. They are already seeing dramatic improvements in results, with a much easier process than what they had before. We look forward to working with them to meet their needs and achieve their goals.”
DS Waters is another company that has benefited from the use of event capture systems, this time from a solution rolled out to its fleet from DriveCam. “One of the first trends we identified with the DriveCam solution is that employees we thought were good drivers because of their accident-free driving records often were the ones speeding, running red lights and behaving most aggressively behind the wheel,” says Michael Belcher director of safety at DS Waters. “It was apparent that while they had not been involved in any accidents to date, they were truly ‘accidents waiting to happen’ and required coaching to improve their risky driving behaviors.”
“Employees whom we thought were good drivers because of their accident-free driving records often were the ones...behaving most aggressively behind the wheel.” —Michael Belcher, DS Waters
DriveCam records up to 12 seconds of what happens around an event outside of normal safety parameters, such as a vehicle swerving, or an actual collision. There are two cameras included in the device, which is placed behind the rearview mirror on the windshield, so fleets see what is happening both inside and outside the vehicle.
As for the OEMs themselves, most offer beverage vehicles with some of the latest, most technologically advanced driver safety systems and engineering.
Freightliner Trucks, for example, offers a variety of passive and active safety features on its vehicles. While the company asserts that each Freightliner cab is built to the highest active safety standards, passing stringent rollover and impact tests, it offers a variety of optional passive safety options, including, but not limited to:
- WABCO OnGuard collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation
- Eaton Vorad side object detection system
- Roll Stability Advisor and Control
- Enhanced Stability Advisor and Control
- Lane Guidance System
- Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) steering-wheel mounted airbag
- RollTek side-mounted seat airbag for rollover protection
Navistar offers similar features, along with a pre-trip inspection system that turns all of the vehicle’s lights on at once so that the driver can do one comprehensive vehicle light safety check before heading out on the road.
And Ryder also offers a variety of safety features on its vehicles. The RydeSmart telematics system is a combination GPS and something akin to a Black Box on the truck, allowing the tracking of a lot of the driver’s behavior such as hard stops, speeding and erratic driving.
And finally, NexTraq, a provider of GPS fleet and asset tracking solutions, recently launched the Driver Safety Scorecard. After months of research and development, NexTraq customers are now able to monitor and measure driving actions such as hard braking, quick acceleration, sharp cornering and excessive speeding to make sure their drivers are safe behind the wheel.