Although we should always be aware of distractions while driving, April is a time to take particular note since it’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. One company that’s using this national event to bring more awareness of distracted driving and safety to its fleet is Penske Logistics, which is introducing the SmartDrive® video-based safety program, the next generation of truck fleet safety technology, in over 2,800 heavy-duty trucks across the company’s North American operations.
“We’re committed to running a safe fleet and strive to ensure that our truck drivers are equipped with the latest fleet safety technology, late model vehicles, and ongoing safety coaching,” explained Penske Logistics President Marc Althen. “This new safety technology allows us to take our dedicated carriage fleet safety to another level to the benefit of the motoring public, our drivers and customers.”
How will video help Penske take safety to another level? According to Penske Vice President of Safety Jason Herr, the recorded videos serve as what’s commonly referred to in the world of sports as game film: “We’re able to review incidents and coach drivers to be better and safer drivers. We view this new program as an extension of the digital supply chain in our industry.” And drivers agree. Stephen Skeens is a Penske truck driver based in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area who makes dedicated runs for an automotive supplier to Louisville, Kentucky. He explained that the cameras will “correct things for those with bad habits.” Talking to fellow drivers at other companies, Skeens sees video-based safety programs as becoming more popular. Reinforcing this message is Daniel Grivej, a Penske operations manager in Flat Rock, Michigan; his truck drivers have SmartDrive cameras in their fleet. “I would say the drivers were hesitant at first, but now they consider it part of their job. I do think the cameras are an effective coaching tool.”
More than 40,000 people were killed on our roadways in 2017 and many of those deaths were due to distracted driving. Cell phones, dashboard infotainment systems, evolving voice command features – all pose a threat to our safety. Just one second of your attention – or your drivers – is all it takes to change a life forever.
While cars and phones now offer advanced voice controls and other features intended to keep drivers’ eyes on the road, apps like Facebook, Google Maps, Snapchat and others have created new temptations that drivers and passengers find hard to resist.
But, it may not just be these electronic distractions that are causing problems. In many instances, it is a company’s in-house staff that causes distractions. For instance, do your dispatchers call a driver when the driver is on the road? Be sure your entire staff is aware of how their actions impact your drivers. Talk to your staff internally about your company’s distracted driving policy and safety culture as you do with your drivers. Coach them as you do your drivers so they understand how their actions can affect your drivers.
For detailed insight into the effect of distracted driving in your fleet, check out the SmartDrive SmartIQ® Beat Snapshot. And, to help bring attention to distractions in your fleet, print this Distracted Driving Infographic and post it throughout your facilities. Help your drivers understand the risks they face and continue to make your fleet safer.