Driver behavior, including safe decision-making, can have a direct impact on crash rates and overall fleet safety. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, among crashes where fault was attributed to the CMV driver, the large majority (87.3%) were due to driver error. Of these errors, 38% were decision errors—exceeding safe speeds, for example. Encouraging drivers to make safe decisions, including those regarding speeding and seatbelt use, can reduce equipment and operating costs, and more importantly, save lives. Advances in vehicle kinematic sensors, connectivity to vehicle controller area network (CAN) buses, and video recording devices have led to the advent of onboard monitoring systems (OBMSs). The current study assessed the impact of a non-video OBMS, with in-cab feedback, on driving decisions and behaviors. This before-after intervention study (2-month/4-month) monitored revenue-producing trips in a single fleet in the U.S., during which 20 participating truck drivers drove, collectively, 1.2 million miles. The OBMS delivered real-time driving performance feedback to drivers, and summary reports to fleet managers. Speeding, seatbelt use, and other driving metrics were tracked. A reliability analysis indicated that the OBMS provided speeding and seatbelt violations accurately 86% and 100% of the time, respectively. A trend analysis of violation frequency per 1,000 miles over vehicle operation weeks showed a significant drop in speeding (37%) and seatbelt (56%) violations from the baseline period compared to the first 2-week intervention period. The study found that a non-video OBMS can serve as a useful resource for fleets desiring to improve safety.
Andrew Krum, Richard J. Hanowski, Darrell Bowman and Susan Soccolich
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute