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Have we forgotten how to drive? Removing your post-Covid blind spots

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Have we forgotten how to drive? Removing your post-covid blind spots

The effects of Covid on road and transport behaviour has seen the number of people driving increase by 6 per cent. Australians are turning away from public transport, which has seen a 42 per cent decrease, and even walking, which has decreased 8 per cent.

Many of these drivers have spent the past two years in lockdown, so this increased road activity has the potential to lead to disastrous incidents on our roads is creating a dangerous environment.

Safe driving and proper road use is a skill that can be lost without practise. With so many unpractised drivers on our roads, pedestrians used to empty neighbourhood streets and truck drivers no longer alone on the freeways, road safety is vital for 2022.

Covid has also contributed to a greater dispersed workforce, with many breaking the traditional inner-city lifestyle and opting to live further away from their workplaces – all made possible by the highly adopted remote and hybrid work option. This, however, also means that employees are willing to drive greater distances, more infrequently to their workplace.  

Even with rising fuel prices, we’ve seen a significant increase in traffic and congestion on our roads over the recent Easter weekend.

Understanding the chaos of compounding blind spots

A 2021 report by Budget Direct states that 64 per cent of surveyed drivers have been involved in at least one vehicle accident. With the ensuing behavioural effects brought on by Covid, the blind spots caused by two years of lockdown   have increased.

2022 has already seen a 19 per cent increase to date in fatal accidents on NSW roads, with this grim increased trend spanning across other states, with a 13 per cent increase in road fatalities across Victoria, and a 3.2 per cent increase in Queensland.

Directing a greater focus on public road user safety is more important now than ever before to combat changes sweeping across road users’ behaviour.

Safety in tech

With technology, businesses can help fleet vehicles operate in safer conditions by accessing the benefits digital transformation can have within their operation. Telematics are a crucial technological advantage allowing data to drive safety on the road, among the compounding poor driver behaviour we have seen develop during the past two years.

Australia’s unique landscape consists of varied roads and driving conditions, posing an increased risk to road users who venture across congested cities, to regional towns, to rural red dirt roads. The post-covid desire to escape and travel, road users are navigating this diverse landscape more frequently. Research has shown that in 2022, Australians are intending to travel further and for longer periods across Australia, most aspiring to self-drive, while 86 per cent stating the aspiration to be on the road for multiple weeks or months.

While technology has changed aspects of road safety for many road users, with the use of collision alerts and reverse cameras in newer vehicles, road users still need to be aware of the lack of visibility and agility heavy vehicles possess.

By leveraging advanced technological solutions like telematics for fleet and heavy vehicles, the overall risk to safety across rapidly populated roads is reduced.

“Road Safety Week highlights the importance of all aspects of safety on our roads. Queensland Trucking Association, Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mahon said, “Any road user embarking on long-distance recreational trips should put thought into trip planning, just as truck drivers do for their journeys. This includes meal and rest breaks, vehicle maintenance, weight and towing capacity and passenger restraint. Of number one importance is wearing a seatbelt as this is still the single most important safety precaution anyone can take in a vehicle. Our truck drivers are traveling in and around large volumes of traffic each day, whether it be in the city, highway, or rural roads. We ask all road users to show patience when interacting with heavy vehicles, give them plenty of space on the road and be acutely aware of a truck’s blind spots.”

The use of Telematics in Heavy vehicles across this varied landscape helps reduce the overall safety risk on the road for all road users, providing fleet and truck drivers a continual comprehensive risk assessment through real-time data and insights, removing barriers to achieving safety.

Bec Coleman, COO Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association NSW adds, “Telematics is changing the way road access in our regions is being managed. It’s increasing visibility of higher productivity vehicles’ movement across road networks, which supports infrastructure planning, maintenance and funding leading to safer roads.”

For fleet operations, telematics provides fleet managers with the tools and insights needed to keep drivers and equipment safe on every journey.

Safety on the road is also a primary focus for ALDI Australia, Kelly Wells, Logistics Director, ALDI Australia explains, “We recognise and are grateful for the important role our Transport Operators have in ensuring Australians have access to essential groceries every day. We treat the safety of our drivers, and the safety of the communities around us, with the utmost importance and have invested significantly in comprehensive training and data-driven technology. This includes the rollout of Telematics technology across our entire transport fleet, to ensure our teams are equipped with the tools to do their jobs effectively and to keep them safe.

“As a business with a safety first culture, we will continue to go above and beyond when it comes to maintaining the highest standards of driver safety on the roads.

Pledge to creating safer roads for all road users

While Teletrac Navman provide telematics solutions to create safer journeys for fleets, we are committed to creating solutions that enable a safe road ecosystem for all road users.

The TN driver pledge

We pledge to engage all road users and help change unsafe behaviour on the roads by creating education and awareness campaigns. We place emphasis on taking extra care around trucks.

 

Resources and Key statistics:

Compared with the case where people resumed their pre-COVID commuting patterns (the ‘base case’), our model projects a future with more working from home could mean people disperse a little farther from employment locations. When people can work from home some days each week, our model projects they are willing to tolerate longer commutes on their days in the office. This means outer suburbs, new growth areas, and the peri-urban rural areas of Melbourne could experience faster population growth than they otherwise would.


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