Trucking Safety Roundup: Big Data And Distractions

Today we are going to take a look at two different aspects of trucking safety. One is how big data can go a long way in helping fleets improve their safety numbers. The other is how distractions are impacting highway deaths and trucking accidents.

Big Data And Trucking Safety

The fact is, the trucking industry burns through billions of dollars and wastes millions upon millions of hours each year sitting idle. Not only would finding ways to decrease idle time save money, it will also improve trucker safety.

In fact, researchers at Iowa State University have pinpointed a specific solution using big data and it involves data sharing.

The primary challenge is finding an effective way to share data between state traffic centers and operators around the country. The only way to improve freight safety through big data is to ensure proper communication across the board.

Road Data

The Department of Transportation has a lot of data on the conditions of American roads and highways and they want to ensure this information is of some use to motor carriers. Whether it be through better on-time delivery performance or increased safety, idle time is minimized, road data can be used to effectively increase fleet performance.

Researchers know this through fleet surveys. According to a number of motor carrier surveys, fleets consistently reported benefiting from access to real-time road condition data, traffic information, congestion data and construction project time and location information.

As the trucking industry becomes increasingly driven by technological change, carriers need to learn how to level the playing field. Still, many small carriers simply don’t have the manpower or expertise to analyze this data or use it to improve their safety measures.

One of the best ways to leverage the power of information is to employ the use of a third-party vendor who knows how to navigate the data and turn it into effective safety initiatives.

The Problem of Distracted Driving

According to auto insurers, distracted driving is becoming a major problem, not just for those driving passenger vehicles, but for truck drivers as well.

Per the Department of Transportation, traffic deaths spiked 10.4 percent in 2016, this following a 7.2 percent spike in 2015. Still, the data shows that the spike isn’t spread uniformly across the country.

As logic would dictate, distracted driving is more of a problem in urban areas. Truck drivers operating short, regional or urban routes are stuck navigating complex traffic patterns and dealing with passenger cars that often get too close or engage in otherwise risky driving behaviors.

In addition to these factors, truckers are driving more miles than ever before. From severe weather patterns to falling gas prices and other national driving trends, there are a number of causes to point to.

The Demographic Factor

Contributing to the distracted driving problem is a major demographic shift. Areas with a large number of either older or younger drivers experience a high degree of distracted driving. Truck drivers operating in places like Florida or West Coast cities find themselves dealing with road vehicles with distracted drivers behind the wheel.

Also, in states where recreational marijuana is now legal, it adds to a growing list of impairments. No longer is alcohol the only thing slowing reaction time or contributing to distractions.

In the end, as a professional truck driver, it is vitally important that you mitigate your own distracted driving. From avoiding text messaging to ensuring you are constantly on alert, you’ve got enough to worry about on the road around you without adding your own distractions to the list.

Whether it be distracted driving or using big data to improve safety measures, there’s always a safety round up to be discussed. Join us next week when we look at the week’s latest safety measures.