Informa Markets

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December 23, 2022

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driver safety

Driving for Better Business: Incomplete data makes you blind to fleet risk

SHP hears from Simon Turner, campaign manager at Driving for Better Business on the importance of utilising data for driver safety.

If you want to make a real difference to your road safety profile, you need complete visibility of data. As the saying goes, it’s not what you see that catches you out, it’s what you don’t.

To make a real difference to fleet safety, we must tackle the root causes of collision. Data might include monitoring harsh braking, for instance, to highlight risky drivers. The data is indicative of a negative trend in that driver’s performance, which suggests other behaviours causing that trend. This could be distraction, fatigue, or close following, among other things.

So the indicator alone – while valuable – does not give us complete information about the root cause.

Why does complete data matter?

John Anderson, National Logistics Director for Tarmac understands the importance of data for the effective management of fleet risk: “As a logistics leader, quality data and insight powers every decision Tarmac makes and the direction we take. Incomplete or inaccurate data causes delays in identifying the critical areas where we really need to focus, and it is these few areas that really make the difference.

“The next big leap for us is integrated data across the various platforms we use. Moving to a predictive model based on data intelligence takes us a step closer to zero harm but this will only be possible by working with trusted and innovative specialists. We partner with Masternaut who help us, not just with data provision, but also with understanding the data and its impact on road risk, and how to act on that data effectively.”

What does complete data look like?

In road transport complete data means:

  • A record of written policies, policies taught and understood, and policy compliance
  • A foolproof system for capturing and acting upon defect reporting
  • Clear audit trails of defect reporting, inspections, servicing, MOTs and repair work for each vehicle
  • Regular licence checks for all drivers
  • Driver monitoring systems. The more data sources you can integrate, the better a narrative you can build of what exactly is happening on the road.
  • Telematics gives excellent indicators of driver behaviour trends and problematic routes
  • Forward-facing cameras give those indicators context eg a vehicle cutting across vs close following
  • In-cab cameras can reveal exactly what the driver is doing at the time: complete focus on driving or distracted?
  • Encourage drivers to share what you can’t otherwise see. This might include:
  1. Difficulty at access or delivery points
  2. Being summoned to a speeding awareness course or given penalties
  3. Near misses
  4. Concerns about shift patterns, contract requirements or excessive waiting time

What can you do today?

  • Check: is the data you have current? Does it have gaps? Where does your invisible data start? Is it as the vehicle leaves the depot, or perhaps the moment the driver is given the keys on the first day of work?
  • Which data sets could be improved and what value would that bring? Do you have telematics? Do you use it for driver monitoring? Would dashcam footage make this more powerful?
  • Understanding the data you have and what is missing is the first step to building a proper fleet safety profile. What you have may not tell the whole story or you may find yourself fixing the wrong problems
  • Sign up for the Driving for Better Business Programme which is free to access and supports those who manage drivers to reduce road risk in their organisation

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