3 Ways to Improve Driver Behavior and Decrease Accidents

Posted by Skye Robinson | August 22, 2017 | blog, Newsletter
August 2017 Services Driver Behavior

Although some accidents are caused by conditions outside of a driver’s control, such as weather, equipment or other drivers, many accidents are the result of driver behavior—including truck driver behavior. And since traffic accidents are deadlier when large trucks are part of the collision, it’s worth taking steps to improve your drivers’ behaviors while on the road, to decrease the chances of their behavior causing any kind of harm to them or anyone else.

Large trucks mean more fatalities
When a truck is involved, it’s more likely that someone other than the truck’s driver will be the one killed in a fatal accident. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) information reported on in 2014, 81% of fatal accidents involving large trucks are multi-vehicle collisions, while 58% of fatal accidents involving only passenger vehicles are multi-vehicle.

Not only are accidents with trucks more likely to involve multiple vehicles, but the chances of someone other than the truck driver being killed are very high: 82% of those killed in the fatal accidents were someone other than the truck driver.

That’s not to say that the truck drivers are the causes of each of the accidents, but sometimes they are, as a result of their behaviors. When the driver’s behavior is the reason for an accident, the reasons mirror those of accidents caused by drivers of passenger vehicles. And the behaviors that cause those accidents are:

  • Speeding– the leading cause
  • Distraction–such as texting or not paying attention
  • Impairment–from fatigue, alcohol or illness

What can you as the fleet manager do?
You’re already keeping up with maintenance on the vehicles, to ensure that they are safe. But what about the drivers? What about the behaviors that can lead to these accidents that we all want to avoid? What can you do other than sit in the cab with your drivers and monitor their behavior?

You can take steps to raise their awareness and change their behaviors. Consider just these three ways you can make a difference as you educate, encourage and embrace:

  • Educate. Download the “Improving Driver Behaviors” kit from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), to get access to PowerPoints, videos and flyers you can use to educate your drivers and improve their behavior.
  • Encourage. Encourage your drivers to improve their health despite the hardships of their jobs. Make healthy part of your department’s culture, and follow these tips to help keep your drivers healthy while on the road.
  • Embrace. Embrace the ELD mandate and start using this technology before the December deadline. That way you can track behaviors like speeding and braking to see if there’s an issue with driver behavior that you need to address, while you also keep track of driver hours to help avoid fatigue.

Traffic fatalities are always a tragedy—always. Anything you can do as a fleet manager to improve the behavior of your drivers on the road is worthwhile to help bring that number of fatalities down.


The ELD Mandate’s Silver Linings
Although your use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) will be required, not optional, you as a fleet manager will benefit from the information you’ll be able to glean with this technology. Learn more…

10 ½ Ways to Keep Your Fleet Running Smoothly
Some counter-intuitive best practices for a fleet department that runs more efficiently, costs less, and makes best use of your best resource: your people. Read more…


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