Heavy vehicle operators and drivers are often exposed to high-risk conditions ? whether they're driving a large tanker, at the wheel of a service vehicle covering vast distances, or travelling to a remote worksite. Managers need an understanding of the potentially hazardous factors their drivers may encounter, and while drivers are ultimately responsible for compliance and safety, the challenge for managers is gaining visibility of adherence.
NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant last week issued a statement to congratulate heavy vehicle operators and their drivers for a 50 per cent reduction in heavy vehicle defects on NSW roads, indicating more truck drivers are getting behind the wheel of safe vehicles. While this improvement is promising, the ongoing challenge of ensuring driver compliance remains a priority for fleet managers.
So, how can telematics help managers across Australia address this challenge?
- GPS fleet management solutions and Telematics can help companies implement and gain insight into safety practices. For workers operating heavy vehicles, having a driver's licence is a requirement of the job. Being qualified as a safe driver however requires a deep level of dexterity, concentration and motivation to manoeuvre a vehicle safely through work sites, or on long journeys to remote job sites. While drivers should be aware of best driving practices, travelling through remote work sites presents additional challenges such as unstable landscapes and limited or no access to cellular communications, meaning they are particularly vulnerable. With GPS technologies, employers can track worker activity in real time and take proactive measures to remedy any risks or hazards, and respond quickly in the case of incident.
- Pressures created by time pose another challenge to driver safety, particularly for those travelling through Australia's many remote areas. The expected route and length of journey must be taken into consideration as drivers should not be allowed to work all day and then head out on a tedious journey late at night. But without management staff nearby, how can companies track the safety of remote vehicles and drivers at all times? Technologies with satellite links provide continuous coverage, even in remote areas, enabling drivers to send alerts. In instances of reduced network coverage, managers can still track a driver's last recorded vehicle location to help ensure their safety on or off highways. This can also help track on-road hours, providing greater visibility into increased risk of fatigue, and compliance to policy.
- Fleet managers also need to address vehicle operators who try to evade mandatory weight bridges if they know they're exceeding the limit. This increases the risk of incident for drivers and other road users, as loading too much weight at the back of a trailer can dramatically affect vehicle handling. This is where a GPS fleet tracking solution comes in, providing added visibility to help companies identify potential safety weaknesses and educate drivers about safe practices, and assist incident reduction and liability risk.
While improving worker compliance will be an ongoing challenge, with the assistance of the right technology, fleet managers are able to proactively monitor driver adherence to company policies and laws, and can assist in addressing driver behaviour and education. The recent congratulatory statement issued by the NSW Deputy Premier is an encouraging reminder that telematics can help improve safety not only for heavy vehicle drivers but for other road users too.