As safety systems become more prevalent, so too do pressures on fleets to actively manage them – and their drivers, who are the most affected.
Learning to manage safety systems and convince drivers to buy in can be challenging — but the rewards are incalculable, according to participants in the “Adopting Advanced Safety Technology” panel at CCJ’s Spring Symposium 2015.
The panel, hosted by CCJ Technology Editor Aaron Huff, consisted of Dennis Dellinger, president of Cargo Transporters, Chris Wright, senior regional safety manager, Saia LTL Freight and Jeff Mercadante, vice president of safety for Pitt Ohio.
All three panel fleets are early adopters of myriad safety systems from anti-lock brakes years ago to advanced collision warning systems and in-cab cameras today.
“Over time that we realized that ‘safety’ and ‘family’ go hand-in-hand as a corporate culture. And really, ‘safety’ is the paramount issue. Because safe drivers go home to their families in the evenings,” said Dellinger.
However, adoption of new technologies can be upsetting to some drivers who often resist change.
In in-cab cameras, for instance, draws particular angst. But Mercadante says the value of these cameras has been huge by boosting safety and reducing preventable collision and associated costs. “It saved us millions of dollars.”
Added Wright: “All told, the amount of severe events have done down significantly. And the safety technology has definitely improved driver attention on the road and helped encourage good behavior behind the wheel.”
Moreover, safety technology has actually helped with driver turnover: “We’re just not firing people for having accidents anymore.”
For the most part, if a driver vehemently resists most safety technology, it’s probably a red flag, says Dellinger. “If you have a professional driver, they’ll work through it.”