How can fleet technology overcome the risks associated with driver fatigue?
The risks associated with fatigue in the transportation industry is noteworthy. According to the National Safety Council, 13% of all fatal truck crashes and 28% of single commercial vehicle crashes involve fatigue.
Fatigue can affect anyone but it’s especially prevalent amongst those who drive for a living as they tend to spend longer hours on the road and are more likely to continue driving even after displaying fatigue symptoms. Other reasons for this prevalence includes fleet managers not providing adequate scheduling flexibility and unreasonable demands from consignees.
It’s a common misconception that caffeine, loud music and cranking up the air conditioner will prevent the symptoms of fatigue setting in. Taking these types of measures only help in the short-term. The only true solution for fatigue is sleep. Drivers can help to reduce their fatigue by taking regular, planned breaks as well as only driving during times when awareness is at its highest. Due to the body’s natural circadian cycle, awareness is at its lowest between 1pm and 3pm, and between midnight and 6am.
When drivers know they will be in front of the wheel for long periods of time, they need to be able to recognize the symptoms of fatigue. These symptoms include sore or heavy eyes, excessive yawning, slower reaction time, periods of daydreaming or a lack of concentration on the act of driving, impaired driving performance (such as poor gear changes), stiffness and cramps and so on. However, when drivers are in the midst of fatigue, they may find it difficult to concentrate and thus be less likely to pick up on these symptoms. So, we recommend employing additional aids to help monitor and manage fatigue.
MiX Hours of Service (HOS) by MiX Telematics is a comprehensive electronic toolkit which enables the effective monitoring of drivers’ on-duty time against driving hours regulations and the management of digital tachograph data files.
The best way to prevent and understand fatigue is to pre-empt it. By using software such as MiX HOS, fleet managers are able to electronically track the hours that their drivers spend on the road to better regulate driving hours and decrease the fatigue levels associated with driving long hours without proper rest.
Fleet management software such as MiX HOS allows drivers and their supervisors to effectively manage and reduce fatigue by giving them access to real-time, driver-centric views of accurate driving hours information. This information helps managers to make better decisions about drivers’ schedules and how much time is spent on the road by individual drivers.
Safety matters to everyone and taking action to alleviate the risks associated with fatigue should be taken by drivers, other road users (such as pedestrians) and fleet owners alike.
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