Construction Fleet Safety: How Safe Is Your Fleet?

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Each May, Construction Safety Week is an excellent opportunity to revisit how your construction fleet can ensure the safety of your vehicles and workers. In 2017, the last year for which data is available, one in five worker deaths were in construction,[1] and a quarter of those construction fatalities were attributed to transportation-related causes.[2] So, the safety of your construction fleet matters far more than you may think.

But keeping a construction fleet safe and secure can be tricky, as incidents may occur outside the construction site, when vehicles are on the road and drivers are alone. Since you can’t ride shotgun with each of your drivers, how do you help them drive safely?

Powerful tools like fleet management solutions from Verizon Connect can help prevent accidents that could endanger your workers, cause project delays, productivity losses and increases in insurance premiums and incident-related paperwork. The insights gleaned from telematics technology can also help to reduce wear and tear on your vehicles, preventing breakdowns and malfunctions that are both costly and potentially dangerous.

Decrease dangerous driving

On the list of dangerous driving behaviors, speeding is the most common. Speeding endangers everyone on the road: In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, accounting for more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities that year.[3]

With fleet tracking software, you can receive alerts any time a driver has a speeding or harsh driving event that exceeds a specific threshold you’ve set for your fleet. Customizable reports and dashboards allow you to easily see summarized safety-related data, including a real-time view of the location and activities of all assets and the people operating them.

Increase vehicle safety

Fleet management solutions also improve the maintenance and management of assets. By ensuring that scheduled preventative maintenance is performed on time, fleet managers can help mitigate the risk of breakdowns or mechanical failures that can endanger workers while extending the life of fleet vehicles.

You can also take advantage of verified paperless inspections to ensure that all your assets are in optimal condition, boosting safety and ensuring minimal downtime, which in turn keeps your fleet as productive as it can be.

Track and address problem drivers

Opening up a personalized communication pathway about safety is vital. A survey of 1,500 workers in 22 organizations and found 93 percent of employees say their workgroup is currently at risk from a safety issue that is not being discussed.[4]

By tracking hazardous driving habits and associating them with specific drivers, supervisors can correct problematic behavior before it turns disastrous—all using simple reports and straightforward conversations.

Rather than a general lecture on workplace safety that workers typically tune out, supervisors can take a productive, individualized approach to safety conversations, supported by unique data that draws drivers’ attention to their specific issues.

Implement a data-driven safety program

The data produced by a fleet management solution provides valuable insight into current behaviors of your fleet. Having this level of transparency sets you on your way to creating a safety program specific to the needs of your fleet and your business.

Consider the following list of metrics to help you get started:

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  • Amount of money spent on speeding fines and accident costs annually
  • Number of speeding incidents your fleet has had over the past year
  • Total number of accidents your fleet experiences annually
  • Amount of fuel used per vehicle on an annual basis
  • Average cost of vehicle maintenance and repairs
  • Vehicle maintenance repairs by type
  • How long vehicles have spent in the garage due to maintenance
  • Total number of vehicle thefts annually
  • Specific drivers who speed or are prone to accidents
  • Details of good driving behaviors you have seen your drivers demonstrate

All this information can help you determine safety-related best practices and develop trends and benchmarks that can assist in creating a fleet safety policy and implementing driver best practices.

Safety and savings go hand in hand

Promoting good driver behavior and monitoring vehicle use does more than improve safety; there is monetary value to creating a safe driving culture. You will not only see results in how your fleet performs day-to-day, but also in your bottom line.

  • Cut speeding fines and accident costs: Monitoring events such as hard braking, harsh cornering, quick starts and speeding are indicators that your drivers are more likely to have an accident.
  • Reduce maintenance spend: When aggressive driving happens, your vehicles often take the brunt of it, spending more time in the garage for extensive (and expensive) repairs
  • Decrease insurance premium costs: Check with your insurance provider to see if they offer this type of discount for using a GPS fleet tracking solution.

GPS tracking to the rescue at Kimball Construction

Kimball Construction initially began using GPS tracking to keep tabs on its growing construction fleet in a widening area around the greater Baltimore, Maryland area, including Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia.

“We wanted to track locations, but safety was important to us,” company Vice President Steve Kimball says. “The speed limits here are around 65, but there were instances where our trucks were going 80 miles per hour.”

With a GPS fleet tracking solution from Verizon Connect, Kimball is able to monitor the location and activity of each vehicle in his fleet, 24/7 from any web browser or the app on his smartphone. Since installing GPS tracking on its 18 vehicles, Kimball has been able to run reports on location and activity tracking at any hour of the day or night, resulting in greater driver accountability as it relates to idle times, speed, mileage and hours worked.

Among the many reports offered by the software, The Speeding Report has proven particularly useful, as it provides alerts for excessive speeding, and can help detect problematic driving behavior, improve safety and reduce liability.

“Being able to track speeding wasn’t something that I thought would be that important but it’s been such a positive aspect of it. It’s great to know that they have gotten so much safer. The trucks are a huge liability and anything we can do to control that in a fair way is helpful.” Also, he’s quick to add, “Our insurance company likes it.”

Sources

[1] https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

[2] https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0321.htm

[3] https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding

[4] https://www.osha.gov/safeandsound/docs/SHP_Better-Safety-Conversations.pdf

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