Fleet drivers are on the road every day driving more than any other type of road user. Unfortunately, the transport infrastructure has taken a plunge in recent times, and there are now more accidents globally than ever before. This is largely in part owing to the increased number of road users. There are also more dangerous driving antics too and declining accessibility to public transport systems. This all accumulates into an unsustainable consequence of a decline in general road safety for fleet drivers (and everyone else) – and moving forward from this is a somewhat treacherous challenge.
The Facts: Accidents
So, why do accidents happen on the roads, and why are they increasing? Realistically, there are multiple factors at play.
Fleet Drivers and Commercial Vehicles
These kinds of drivers use the roads to make their living and the demand for fleet drivers has certainly increased recently. Fleet drivers are a part of a commercial outlet that comprises multiple vehicles of varying classes, normally medium and light-weight vehicles, but sometimes heavy as well. Given the nature of the work, there ought to be a large focus on safety from fleet managers, but this isn’t always the case. Proper practices and regulated standards are there to be adhered to, but again, this doesn’t always happen. Regular training updates should also be in place to keep drivers’ knowledge and methods up to date with recent events, which will improve fleet driver safety.
Owing to the nature of their heavy presence on the roads, fleet drivers are sitting ducks for potential accidents. Some of these accidents may be random chance and just bad luck but a lot of them are also completely avoidable. They also have an added responsibility to follow safe driving procedures every second that they are behind the wheel to properly protect fellow road users, and themselves as well. It is less likely that a fleet driver will be caught out drunk driving, for example, but there is a higher chance of an accident owing to exhaustion or lack of concentration.
Car ownership has seen a spike in the last decade or so. This means more people on the road day in and day out. Regular drivers are everyday people who drive around in their privately purchased vehicles and they are generally between the ages of 17 and 70. Accidents are more common at the younger and older end of this scale owing to increased risk factors like substance misuse behind the wheel in young people and a decreased ability to multi-focus in old age.
Mobile phones are also a large contributory factor here as well. Despite the harsh penalties in place for drivers who use their phones behind the wheel, they remain a major cause of road accidents across the world. Texting and calling or swapping your music, it doesn’t matter – using a phone while operating a vehicle is illegal for good reason. It immediately takes away your visual capacity and distracts your mind from the important things like what is happening on the road and the surrounding environment.
Ways We Can Improve Road Safety for Fleet Drivers
Better Teaching Practices
The number one priority for commercial fleet owners should be to focus on safety collectively and collaboratively. This can be done in multiple ways using varying teaching methods that promote the advantages of driving safely while on the road for work or leisure.
More Accessible Public Transport
With fewer drivers on the road, the problem of road safety will inevitably decrease. Though there would still be accidents, the chances of one happening as often decline in correlation to fewer people out and about using the road networks. Therefore, making public transport a more attractive prospect could help the situation above and beyond. This could be by limiting costs around ticket purchases and increasing timetabling so that there are more flexible and suitable options for more people.
Everyone has the right to feel safe while they work. Unfortunately, fleet drivers have many external factors to consider before they can achieve this sense of security and may in fact never feel completely at ease while they are on a shift. This doesn’t mean that things can’t be put in place to ameliorate their anxieties. Managers and commerce owners have several opportunities at their feet that can and will make life better and more sustainable for their drivers and the advantages of engagement with said services are undeniable.