What Is the Correlation Between Speeding, Hard Braking and Higher Accident Rates?

Accidents are often preventable through the right mix of training, education, and tracking. Over a 10-year period there was a 12-percent increase in the total number of people killed in large-truck crashes, from 4,245 fatalities in 2008 to 4,761 fatalities in 2017 according to a report released in 2019 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Trucking accidents can be costly, both in terms of money and lives lost. Ensuring the safety of your fleet drivers and the community you serve should always remain top-of-mind. Accidents are costly and can be a major issue, so make sure you’re doing everything in your power to reduce the chances of incidents.

First, let’s look at the impact of driver behavior, namely hard braking, abrupt turns, speeding and driver alertness. The International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics published a study that correlates hard braking and rapid acceleration to higher accident rates. The data they gathered from their research shows that the risk of accidents is greater when drivers accelerate rapidly or brake abruptly.

Here are some tips for how you can help your drivers address issues like these before an accident occurs:

Driver Training and Education

Just because your drivers have a CDL license doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from further training. Help your driver avoid hard braking, which can cause a loss of steering control, oversteering or skidding off the road as well as other accidents like hydroplaning on wet pavement. You should encourage drivers to take breaks before they’re exhausted. Tired driving has been shown to be just dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.

How Telematics Can Correct Issues

Adding telematics devices allows you to monitor your employees’ driving habits while they’re out on deliveries for example. This can alert them if they start hard braking abruptly which increases stress levels as well as chances of oversteering. It can alert them if they make abrupt turns which are also dangerous.

Setting Alerts for Your Fleet Management Dashboard

Your fleet management system will give you updates on employee driving habits so that you know when to talk to them about any adjustments in the way they drive, and what corrective actions need to be taken such as coaching or training. These alerts illustrate how telematics devices can detect various kinds of risky behaviors that often lead to accidents which result in death or serious injury. Some telematics systems such as GPS Trackit allow you to set alerts for each truck in your fleet, that only notify your fleet managers when the system records abrupt driving maneuvers.

How Telematics Track Drivers to Reduce Risky Driving Behaviors

Mike Davis of Stay Alert Traffic Safety Devices reports that accidents have been cut down dramatically by tracking driver behavior. Stay Alert is a traffic control company that relies on GPS Trackit to track 145 trucks and hundreds of electric traffic signs on trailers. Stay Alert rents and sells the large lighted traffic signs on the side of the road that may say Left Turn Ahead, Bridge Closed or Road Closed. Fleet tracking and scoring driver behavior makes each driver accountable with a record of their driving behavior.
Mike appreciates the value of driver behavior reporting. Mike explains that sometimes drivers are forced to accelerate quickly to merge with highway traffic from a roadside job site. “Speeding, hard cornering and hard acceleration. We know it’s needed. When you’re working out on the side of the road, sometimes you just have to go. Then you look at how long they maintained 75 miles an hour in a 65-zone pulling a 15,000-pound trailer. Well, now we’ve got a problem. So being able to go back to that person and the manager go back to him and talk to him.”

He says these driver monitoring features “are very helpful in disciplining the guys in their driving habits, to try to change their driving habits. It’s helped improve our driving habits a lot. Our insurance company knows that we have all this. I think it does help and they know that we’re making efforts to be as safe as we possibly can be. Last year we drove 3.2 million miles. We spent a billion dollars in fuel, and we had six accidents, only one was our fault. So, we felt pretty good about that.”

Working with telematics detects these types of behavior patterns to allow your company to offer individual coaching for drivers based on their unique performance. If you want to learn more about the benefits of a GPS tracking and telematics solution for your fleet including dash cams and ELD hardware, contact a fleet advisor to get more information about how GPS Trackit can help you keep your fleet safe.