Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Empowering drivers with an all-inclusive video safety approach

Jason Palmer
Jason Palmer
Transportation Intelligence, Omnitracs

With evolving technology comes evolving safety.

In 2020, we used comprehensive data to identify distracted driving as the primary cause of at least 12% of all class 5-8 collisions. From mobile technology to cognitive distractions, the average driver must work even harder to stay focused on the road today — and protect themselves from their ever-growing number of distracted neighbors.

A comprehensive video safety program is one that proactively addresses the multi-faceted layers of commercial safety on the road and in near real-time. It doesn't begin and end with turning a camera on and observing risky behavior. Instead, it recognizes the many contributing factors needed to keep commercial drivers as safe as possible on the road.

Side-of-the-road parking is not a side concern

When commercial vehicles are parked on the side of highways and interstates, like sitting ducks, drivers tremendously increase their collision risk. Fleet leaders are well aware of this, with truck parking ranking as the top issue for commercial drivers in 2020.

An efficient solution to this issue incorporates machine learning, AI, and video safety to help fleets understand what's happening on the roads their drivers are frequenting. Using this approach, we were able to help customers assess increases in unsafe parking situations during the pandemic. Our data pinpointed the trucks and rest stops that were previously open during the pandemic and were no longer available, which connected to the rise in trucks parking on highway and interstate shoulders in these areas. Our customers were then able to address these risks with their teams methodically and prepare their drivers.

Advanced analytics that uses machine vision and AI, trained through billions of miles of driving, can provide drivers with critical informative alerts that help them take immediate action to avoid unsafe situations. With this real-time risk mitigation approach, a member from your back office can reach out to a driver to see if they're stalled in traffic or stuck on a highway shoulder because they can't find parking. If it is an issue around parking, your team member can locate the driver's nearest safe parking space.

Ensure weather doesn't rain on your operational parade

Alongside limited parking is a surplus of treacherous weather patterns. Weather can go from calm to drastic within minutes. In addition to snow and sleet, rain and fog can also pose significant risks to commercial drivers. Weather is a critical factor in collision risk, contributing to one in every five truck collisions. Drivers who are alerted to impending dangerous weather conditions in real time can reduce their speed, allowing them to navigate more effectively and safely.

Further, we can combine information with risk and weather models coming out of the cloud and utilize automated, text-to-speech functionalities to proactively and safely message drivers in high-risk areas, helping them understand and navigate through shifting weather situations. We can then feed your information back through our program model to ensure we're consistently improving your programs' long-term data integrity and efficacy.

Coupling video safety with coaching

An advanced video safety program leverages cloud and edge computing, AI, and machine learning to bring data together and optimize driver performance. This approach brings beneficial insight over time, so fleet managers can ask the following questions to address and mitigate historical risk issues related to collisions: 

  1. How frequently are risky incidents happening? 
  2. Which segments of my operation are seeing these disruptions and risks? 
  3. Are there any operational disruptions that are jeopardizing route safety? 

From inattentive driving to other situations that can create increased risk, the right video safety program can help you help drivers stay better informed and self-coach. Not only does this empower drivers, but it lessens the load on management. With video safety working cohesively with reliable and insightful data, you can provide drivers with transparent and beneficial performance metrics around areas needing improvement.

Video safety evidence helps drivers further understand the increased risk of specific activities or external factors. For example, picking up a device to type in a new address for directions can be just as risky as writing a text, both resulting in a driver taking their eyes off the road for an extended period. If a driver can see that risk in visual form, it's all the more effective for long-term safety. Understanding this risk and developing new habits for mitigation are vital principles for driving performance development. 

Through reliable AI and machine learning, you can convert driver metrics into scorecards and utilize them in an incentive program for drivers. Drivers can proactively track their performance and improvements via their digital scorecards in real time. Fleet managers can feel confident in their safety approach by aligning driver incentive programs to scorecards, so they know they're rewarding drivers based on measurable improvement. Driver coaching and driver incentive programs help ensure you're setting goals and driving results within your organization. These benefits are made possible with holistic video safety visibility that prioritizes reliable data and your safety needs.

Gain all the benefits of a robust video safety program by exploring what our safety, security, and video solutions can offer. In a world progressing with innovation and insight, stronger safety is all the more on the horizon.