In 2022, many organisations face challenges with improving productivity and profitability while simultaneously retaining their best workers.
The pandemic, lockdowns and working from home have drastically changed the workforce in every industry.
However, businesses in the road transport industry have faced these same issues for years. Still today, driver safety remains the first of the priorities.
Recently, the Transport Workers Union National Secretary Michael Kaine reported that the industry is under pressure, with transport workers and employers calling for reform to ensure fair and safe conditions.
The question is: how can businesses that are working under strain put the safety of drivers first while keeping operations moving productively?
An option of increasing importance among fleets with the evidence to support its continued uptake is smart technology where the aim of driving a safety first culture is already embedded in the product.
The biggest problem truck drivers often face is that they’re on their own for long stretches of time.
In most workplaces, there are generally colleagues around to offer assistance. Professional drivers don’t have that second pair of eyes to tell them when they might be making a mistake or to provide a helping hand.
This is why, according to Chris L’Ecluse, Teletrac Navman Customer Success Specialist, leaning into digital transformation and implementing technological aids in fleets and vehicles is crucial to reducing risk — it supports drivers and becomes their second set of eyes.
“Dashcams equipped with AI can fill that need,” he says. “Unlike traditional dashcams used by general road users, dashcams equipped with AI can read situations in and around the vehicle, such as picking out road signs and identifying distracted driving.”
An audible, in-cab alarm sounds off to the driver if the AI detects dangerous driving behaviours – like a driver using a phone or following too closely to the vehicle in front – to encourage a return to safe driving.
Alerts help drivers respond quickly to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios and empower the driver to develop safer driving habits, in turn helping them be more productive within their workspace.
Driver coaching is also recognised as an area that helps transport businesses deliver long-term safety improvements.
While short-term safety improvements like alerts are important steps to prioritise driver safety, businesses need more to ensure drivers are safe in the long term says Chris.
“Supporting workers with ongoing, proactive training is key in any industry to help employees stay safe and productive in their roles,” he says. “For anyone in the transport industry, driver coaching is essential. Driver coaching programs can be bolstered with the data collected from the built-in driver coaching application in the AI dashcam. It points out areas for improvement and identifies positive driving practices to reward the driver.”
The system, by its design, encourages drivers to do the right thing by recognising when drivers improve and awarding points when it identifies safe driving behaviours like slowing down for merging vehicles or driving within speed limits.
Businesses can then use the information from the system to train their drivers in the areas that require improving, creating individualised training opportunities based on real data for each driver.
“The data removes any potential for heated discussions and helps the driver focus on improving ingrained driving behaviours they may not know how to tackle on their own or even realise they had,” explains Chris.
The benefits of a safety-aware business can extend across the entire operation of a company.
Improved safety, health and wellbeing go hand-in-hand with increased job satisfaction, higher performance, and greater productivity.
Businesses, according to Chris, will build the foundation for increased individual, team, and organisational resilience, enabling them to offer customers a reliable service.
“By being able to also detect positive behaviours, you can reinforce and reward good habits as you see them and create a healthy culture of safety in the business,” he says. “To ensure business success when resources are stretched thin, making the most of assets is vital – and the transport industry’s greatest assets are its drivers. By prioritising their safety, businesses can prepare for the long haul.”