Changing perceptions: In-cab solutions, according to a Verizon Connect survey, can help fleets mitigate risk and improve safety

Changing perceptions: In-cab solutions, according to a Verizon Connect survey, can help fleets mitigate risk and improve safety

It’s likely you are already focused on the safety of your fleet, possibly including specifying vehicle safety systems and training drivers in order to mitigate risk and lower accident costs. It might also be important to help change the perception that other motorists have about commercial vehicles and drivers.

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It’s likely you are already focused on the safety of your fleet, possibly including specifying vehicle safety systems and training drivers in order to mitigate risk and lower accident costs.

It might also be important to help change the perception that other motorists have about commercial vehicles and drivers. That, in part, was one conclusion of a recent survey commissioned by Verizon Connect.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was partly intended to identify misperceptions that motorists have about the level of danger posed by commercial vehicles and drivers. Here are some of the findings:

  • 67% of the respondents believe commercial drivers are taking risks that put others in danger because they are more focused on their schedule than on safety.
  • 83% believe they pose less risk on the road than commercial drivers;
  • 81% said they have witnessed a commercial vehicle driving dangerously; and
  • 54% of those people also say they have witnessed an accident involving a commercial vehicle.

Unsafe driving behaviors with commercial vehicles reported by survey respondents include speeding (69%), abrupt lane changes (55%), driving erratically (46%), running or nearly running off the road (38%), and taking turns too quickly (37%).

While that makes clear some of the reasons motorists consider commercial vehicles less safe, it’s likely they aren’t aware that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data paints a much different picture. In fact, only 3% of all severe crashes in the U.S. involve commercial vehicles.

Still, the rate of severe crashes in densely populated areas is increasing faster for lighter commercial trucks (27%) than heavy-duty trucks (16%). Perhaps that is not surprising considering that with e-commerce growth, there are more local deliveries being made than ever before, often in populated areas. 

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Also, maybe because high-speed crashes tend to make headlines, 58% of the survey respondents believe more accidents happen on highways. In reality, the data suggests that 70% of fatal commercial truck crashes occur on roads that are not interstate highways.

Survey respondents also agree that several common fleet measures to improve safety can be effective. Those include 24% who cite testing drivers regularly, 20% who point to the value of screening drivers carefully before they’re hired, and 14% who believe in establishing clear policies and driving practices.

Most respondents also believe the most effective way to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial vehicles is to monitor drivers when they’re on the road. City residents in particular, according to Verizon Connect, are interested in mandating video monitoring for commercial vehicle drivers. 

In the survey, 84% of respondents living in cities agree that commercial vehicle drivers should not be allowed on the road without monitoring their driving habits. In suburbs, that was also the conclusion of 69% of the respondents and 67% in rural areas agreed as well.

Overall, 74% agree that commercial vehicle drivers shouldn’t be allowed on the road without some sort of video monitoring of their driving habits. Additionally, 42% believe installing a dashboard camera is key to reducing the number of accidents involving commercial vehicles.

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To provide data insights that can be used to help commercial drivers operate more safely, Verizon Connect recently launched a new smart video solution. Verizon Connect Integrated Video, according to the company, uses a dash-cam and leverages AI and machine learning to capture and classify video of harsh driving events.

Additional features of Verizon Connect Integrated Video include Speed Overlay, which enables fleet managers to view the speed of the vehicle directly within a video clip to determine if it is the factor that caused the event. There is also a Video on Demand feature, which allows managers to request 40-second increments of available footage.

While perceptions around the safety of commercial vehicles and drivers may not be fully accurate, misperceptions do persist. With smart video monitoring and other emerging technologies, Verizon Connect says, fleets can help their drivers improve safety, protect themselves against false claims in the event of an incident, and lower their company’s risk. 

RELATED: Read our executive interview with Verizon Connect’s Erin Cave.

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