Vehicle and driver safety central to Fleet Europe Summit
Fleet risk, safety and insurance are back at the top of corporate agendas after an 18-month hiatus during coronavirus lockdowns, when traffic levels and accident rates declined substantially.
Claims frequency rose in 2021, compared to 2020, and the cost of settling claims has increased sharply due to higher repair and replacement vehicle costs, according to industry federation Insurance Europe. A shortage of replacement parts has driven up prices and extended the time of repairs, driving up hire car costs.
If there is a silver lining to this gloomy cloud, it lies in the numerous tools available to fleet decision makers to improve the safety of their drivers and vehicles, areas that will be central to discussions at the Fleet Europe Summit in Dublin, Ireland in November.
These tools typically divide into two areas: vehicle safety features and management information.
The safest fleets treat in-vehicle safety features like a last resort. Forward collision warning systems, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and reverse AEB, lane departure alerts, blind spot warnings and driver drowsiness alarms are all helping vehicles to avoid collisions, while new centre-console airbags are improving the safety of vehicle occupants in the event of a crash.
However, genuine fleet safety cultures avoid putting drivers and vehicles at risk in the first place. Telematics and connected vehicle technology can identify drivers with higher risk driving behaviours, such as excessive speeding and harsh acceleration and braking. Coaching to correct these behaviours can be instantaneous, with technology able to deliver immediate in-vehicle alerts to advise the driver to slow down.
Driving performance data can also be used retrospectively to show drivers where and when they have been taking undue risks and to coach them towards safer behaviour. The data can also be used as evidence to support changes in business operations if it shows that drivers are behind the wheel for too long without appropriate rest breaks, if they are expected to make too many stops or deliveries in a shift, and even to highlight dangerous roads with higher accident rates so drivers can re-plan their routes to avoid them.
Experts from world-leading safety technology specialists will be addressing these issues at the Fleet Europe Summit, and detailing how fleets can harness the opportunity of connected vehicles to transform their risk profile for the better.