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Staying Alert to Drowsy Fleet Driving Using Technology

  • November 09, 2018
  • Frank Schneider
  • Reading Time: 2 minutes
CalAmp - Drowsy Driving Blog

Autumn is in the air and that means the end of daylight saving time with fewer sunlit hours. The Sleep Foundation pairs this annual event with their annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week that offers tips for busy, tired drivers. This advice is helpful for consumer driving; however, commercial drivers and their fleet managers often face different driving environments. Implementing technology, including telematics, helps ease the transition to shorter daylight hours.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that there were 90,000 drowsy driving-related crashes in 2015. These accidents tend to occur between midnight and 6 am or in the late afternoon while involving a single driver (with no passengers). The National Safety Council states “Micro-sleep of just 4 or 5 seconds can result in a vehicle traveling the length of a football field if the driver is driving at highway speed.”

National Sleep Foundation’s Avoid Drowsy Driving Tips:

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • If you’ve been awake for 24 hours or more, don’t drive
  • If you’re feeling sleepy, drink something with caffeine
  • Plan regular stops for short naps
  • Stop for a break every 100 miles or every 2 hours on the road
  • Travel during times you are normally awake

Fleet telematics and electronic logging devices (ELDs) can help teams drive safely. A connected vehicle is more than just tracking location. Telematics solutions provide information for pre-route planning that enable fleet managers to adapt to different traffic patterns after the time change or seasonal patterns in customer requests. This technology can also monitor driver behavior, helping fleet managers see trends in driving habits by route and driver. This data allows them to address the situation by assigning new routes and with increased training. ELDs assist fleets subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service (HOS) rule by automatically logging and documenting the driving time. The purpose of HOS is to “reduce truck and bus crashes by preventing driving of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) while fatigued.”

Another safety benefit from implementing telematics is keeping vehicles in proper condition. The solution connects to the engine computer helps monitor vehicle health and provides notice of maintenance issues based on the diagnostic codes. Proactive maintenance helps reduce unexpected breakdowns for drivers who are dealing with the earlier sunsets that come with the end of daylight saving time. Lastly, adding on a microservice to your telematics solution, such as CalAmp’s CrashBoxx™ instant crash alerts, provides an extra layer of awareness for fleet managers. The real-time information allows them to get emergency help to drivers more quickly. This service also provides access to detailed accident reconstruction reports that record key details of the crash and accelerate the claims process.

Telematics solutions pair well with other technology that works to combat drowsy driving, such as:

  • Steering pattern monitoring, which compares driver behavior with patterns known to indicate sleepiness
  • Cameras or even facial recognition technology to detect whether a driver is nodding off
  • Blind spot and lane detection to further aid drivers in being aware of their surroundings

During Drowsy Driving Prevention Week (November 4-11), the most important tip is for fleet managers to schedule shifts that provide their drivers get enough rest. Technology can help protect them on the road by monitoring driver behavior and helping them stay alert. For more information about how CalAmp telematics solutions can make drivers safer, visit our Commercial Fleet page here and our Insurance Telematics page here.

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