By: Peter Carr EROAD Director, Regulatory Market Development ANZ
If a driver decides to plant their foot on the accelerator, there’s not a lot the people back in the office can do about it at that moment in time. But there are things that can be done before and after to make it more likely that this burst of speed happens less often or only for good reason.
First, though, let’s answer the question of why the people back in the office need to care. Firstly, transport law tells them to care because they can actually influence whether a driver feels the need to speed. Secondly, health and safety law tells them to care because the driver is pursuing the company’s business and undertakings and the company needs to manage the risks these pose on all parties and bystanders. Thirdly, risk is implicit in transport and exacerbated by excessive speed.
Responsibility implies power. What power does the operator have? The operator holds the powers of preparation, punishment, and reward… so long as the operator can see enough of what is going on to use these fairly and effectively.
Culture and practice are more important than technology, but speed management is one area where technology is well ahead of the problem – and not just with engine governors and better, smarter braking and crash avoidance systems.
Telematics support smarter scheduling to reduce the risk of drivers feeling the need to speed. They also have a proven ability to put the operator in the cab with the driver – prompting the driver where necessary, providing feedback to support coaching and training, and evidence to support discussions of when or whether higher speed was appropriate to the circumstance. The simple act of an in-cab visual prompt to the driver to mind their speed is enough to prevent a significant chunk of speeding. Combining it with the certainty of management reviewing over-speed events and discussing them with drivers has seen some operators all but eliminate over-speed events.
Even so, failing to plan is planning to fail, as the saying goes. Businesses need clear policies aligned to objective standards and processes that give them life before even the best technology can help. But the truth is that there is no longer any reasonable excuse for not having these policies and processes, or for not knowing the standards, or, in consequence, for at least exploring the right technology.
So, if you haven’t got them, what are you waiting for?
About the author
Peter Carr is the Director Regulatory Market Development with EROAD Ltd, responsible for working with government policy agencies and regulators across Australia and New Zealand on road safety, funding and taxation matters. Prior to joining EROAD, Peter was responsible for advising the New Zealand government on: the operation and performance of the land transport revenue, funding and investment systems; the rates of Road User Charges and Fuel Excise Duty; the use of tolling, debt and public-private partnerships; and the regulatory settings for heavy vehicle dimensions, mass, and access.