Motoring

Navigating the festive season’s roads: Prioritising safety in increased traffic

Discover how data-driven insights can enhance road safety during the holiday season.

As the festive season approaches, road traffic surges, unfortunately leading to a rise in accidents and fatalities. Fleet managers face heightened concerns, especially with the increased presence of trucks.

Tian Vorster, a national fleet manager at Bridgestone, highlights the challenges and advocates for leveraging technology, citing a 51% reduction in collisions with telematics solutions.

During the 2022/23 festive season, a staggering 1 400 lives were lost in road accidents, with trucks involved in 4% of fatal incidents. Beyond fatalities, non-fatal accidents also experienced a noticeable uptick during this season.

Vorster emphasises the critical role of logistics and freight industries in the country. However, the surge in passenger vehicles and taxis during the festive season adds an extra layer of complexity and risk for fleet managers.

Vorster refers to insights from Webfleet’s 2022 survey on trucking industry accidents, indicating that collisions are alarmingly common, with 71% of respondents reporting at least one collision in a year. The survey also identifies unroadworthy vehicles, poor road conditions and inadequate policing as major concerns for road safety.

Stationery cars in a traffic jam.

Driver fatigue and distracted driving, often linked to mobile phone use, emerge as key contributors to trucking accidents. Additionally, perennial issues such as speeding, reckless driving and overall driver health – especially related to excessive driving hours – come to the forefront during the festive season.

In light of these challenges, Vorster underscores the transformative role of technology in enhancing fleet safety. According to the survey, 51% of respondents reported a 51% reduction in collisions after implementing telematics solutions. Technologies like dashcams offer real-time data for identifying and addressing driver issues, providing coaching assistance and crucial documentation in case of accidents.

Web-based fleet management technology and telematics contribute to monitoring and addressing various concerns, from speeding to excessive driving hours. Telematics in particular aid in timely vehicle maintenance and remote monitoring of tyre pressures.

Bridgestone’s Toolbox takes the telematics approach further, providing a monitoring tool to support consultants in assisting fleet managers. By uploading data from fleet vehicles during depot stays, Toolbox issues alerts to prevent vehicles with issues from hitting the road, thus averting breakdown-related costs. It also reviews fleet maintenance policies and tracks tyre performance, offering accurate reporting to ensure optimal product selection and usage.

Vorster concludes by highlighting the pivotal role of technology, especially during busy holiday periods. While manual systems may falter amid the rush, automated solutions like Webfleet and Toolbox ensure that routine tasks and safety measures remain intact. As technology continues to revolutionise fleet management, its significance becomes even more pronounced during critical times like the festive season.

Source: MotorPress / Photos: Caxton Library. 

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