Few people enjoy driving on highways next to large trucks. For many people, the fear is enough to keep them off interstate highways entirely. Research conducted by vehicle lifecycle management company Solera Holdings found that 88 percent of Americans indicated they have driven next to or near a commercial truck driver in the past year. More than half of all respondents (56 percent) said they’ve felt unsafe driving near a commercial truck driver in this timeframe, with 64 percent saying they have witnessed unsafe driving behaviors in commercial truck drivers.
Statistics say drivers are wise to be nervous. In 2021, fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck were up 13 percent compared to 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest traffic fatalities estimates report. There were 5,601 fatalities involving at least one large truck in 2021, compared to 4,965 fatalities in 2020.
Despite safety efforts deployed by many fleets, Americans feel greatly impacted by unsafe fleet driving behaviors. But, there is a clear opportunity for technology to play a role in making drivers safer.
“The industry has come a long way in improving driver safety standards, and it’s important that we continue on this journey collectively – especially as there are public perceptions to overcome,” said Michal Yariv, VP and GM of Strategic Initiatives at Solera, in a statement. “First and foremost, driver safety needs to be a top priority for fleet managers to ensure drivers can do their job and get home safely at the end of the day, and video technology with built-in driver coaching is the key to achieving optimum safety.”
Video-based safety and AI technology, for instance, can help reduce the likelihood of accidents by identifying distracted driving and coaching drivers out of unsafe behaviors and aggressive driving – a top unsafe behavior witnessed by respondents (37 percent) – ultimately helping to prevent the risk of accidents.
Another added benefit of technology in addition to improving driver safety is the added protection for a fleet’s reputation through exoneration measures. Solutions such as Solera’s SmartDrive creates documentation of incidents, providing a full picture of who is really at fault and often helping fleets avoid the costs associated with accident settlements. Having video record of driving events is essential for exoneration as well as commendation when commercial drivers drive defensively and save lives, said the company.
Edited by Erik Linask