The sleep deprived WalMart truck driver responsible for a fatal highway crash last year which resulted in severely injuring comedian Tracy Morgan and the death of fellow passenger Jimmy McNair has set a haunting example for all fleet organizations and its drivers.
Driver fatigue (WalMart driver Kevin Roper had been awake for 28 hours prior to the accident), greatly heightens the risk of crashing. In a 2007 study by McIntryre Law PC , drivers reported falling asleep as the critical reason for a crash 7% of the time, while another 41% reported minor fatigue, inattention, or pressure from work as associated factors in the accident.
Like alcohol, sleep loss impacts performance. It only take two nights with less than five hours of rest each to impair one’s ability to drive. Unsurprisingly, 65% of fatal crashes occur on long haul trips (over five miles from base), when the temptation to skip sleep to get the job done puts drivers and others on the road at risk.
So what can you do to ensure your drivers are getting adequate rest during long haul trips?
Start within the culture of your fleet company.
Practical steps to a safer work culture
Eternizing values centered around safer, healthier routines on the road requires a twostep
First, there’s education. The North American Fatigue Management Program ( NAFMP ) offers information, training modules and support to help fleet managers address the issue of driver fatigue within their organizations. It’s an important resource that extends to drivers’ families and spouses, who can be key players in sustaining safety culture buyin from your drivers.
Extend your commitment to a safer work culture with social media. As we’ve discussed on the blog before, a Facebook page is a great place to involve your entire work community in discussion, content sharing and safety awareness.
As a fleet manager, setting an example for healthy driving practices is a powerful and effective way to drive the importance of sleep deprivation awareness home. You might not be on the road, but by participating in training modules with your drivers and cultivating discussion around the pain points of managing a healthy work lifestyle, you can inspire change and strengthen a positive team mentality.
The second step to cementing a safe, sensible work culture is to acknowledge change in behavior. Since you can’t be in the passenger seat with every driver every day, integrate GPS truck tracking to pinpoint achievements in healthy driver routines.
Stop Driver Fatigue At The Source
Monitor the effectiveness of your driver fatigue education program with a robust GPS truck tracking system that provides easy to access reports for:
– Trip Summary Report: a broad overview of the tracked vehicle’s trip, with ignition on/off indications.
– Mileage Report: the numbers on approximate mileage traveled by date range per person or per vehicle (ex: per trip or per batch of trips).
– Trip Detail Report: complete information for start times/ locations, trip distances and stop locations/durations.
With the reports as data driven evidence, you can make solid observations about your drivers’ behavior. For example, you can determine the extent to which your drivers adhere to hours ofservice protocol. If your standardized rules for driver scheduling are not being taken seriously,action must be taken to ensure your safety concerns are addressed.
Reports provide the ‘backup’ you need to raise the issue and see meaningful improvements; improvements which could ultimately prevent accidents.
Get your drivers in on the conversation about tracking their trips; explain how these reports can help your organization optimize its journey planning processes to ensure drivers do not feel pressured to complete long haul trips without breaks for sleep. Consult your drivers for their input and invite them to weigh in on how to better map out 10+ hour journeys. By exercising your pledge to safer, healthier work culture, you should see results from your people.
Alert Drivers Keep Your Fleet Moving Forward
Drivers that have had adequate rest before or between shifts on long haul journeys are more productive, perform tasks at a higher ability rate, and reduce their chance of causing major vehicle accidents.
Accuracy of logged trip records is key to ensuring your fleet is moving forward safely, and more
efficiently. With a cloudbased GPS truck tracking system, you can get a clear picture of where your fleet can improve. Give your safe work culture a boost, and your bottom line, too. Get an instant quote on the reliable, affordable Ranger CT solution from GPS Commander and take action on eradicating driver fatigue in your fleet. It’s one of the most important things you can do to ensure the safety of your drivers and others on the road.