Author: Russ Salo

Substantial Fuel Cost
Savings

While choosing electric vehicles may not be the best option
for some businesses, there are many businesses which could see significant
benefits and cost savings by changing out their gas or diesel fleet vehicles
for electric vehicles. Below are some of the most significant benefits
businesses can see from going green with their fleet.

It’s important to note that there are a variety of electric
vehicles so the exact fuel cost savings can differ depending on which option a
company chooses for their fleet (fully battery powered, or hybrid gas/electric
models). Even if a company chooses a hybrid gas/electric model vehicle, the
savings in the amount of fuel used will be substantial beginning immediately
after incorporating the new vehicles into the fleet. Obviously, if a fully
battery powered model is chosen then the fuel costs drop to zero. While the
electricity usage costs will go up for a company incorporating electric
vehicles into their fleet, there are many other benefits to choosing electric
which will help outweigh the increase in electricity costs.

Less Maintenance and
Maintenance Costs

Since electric vehicles have fewer moving parts when
compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, electric vehicles require less
maintenance and thus have lower maintenance costs. In fact, an electric motor
only consists of one moving part, the shaft, which is very reliable and
requires little or no maintenance. Most other aspects of the car, being
electronic devices, consist of no moving parts, so like the shaft require
little or no maintenance.

Environmental
Benefits

The environmental benefits of choosing electric vehicles are
perhaps the most well-known benefits as they are typically the main selling
points in the marketing strategy for promoting electric vehicles. There is no
doubt that electric vehicles are a better choice for the environment and the environmental
benefit can be seen most clearly through improvements in air pollution and air
quality. This is an important benefit particularly for decreasing strain on the
public health systems, reducing health issues associated with poor air quality,
and is essential for companies with commitments to reducing emissions and carbon
footprints. Although not the ultimate solution to stop global warming, the
switch to electric vehicles does at least help slow down the onset.

Safety Benefits

A bonus benefit for businesses who choose electric vehicles
for their fleets is the increased safety which comes along with the vehicles.
While all passenger vehicles are required to go through strenuous safety and
crash tests, electric vehicles have a few features which make them even safer
for drivers – what business manager or fleet manager doesn’t like the sound of
that? Due to the heavy battery packs in electric vehicles, their centre of mass
is much lower than a typical gas or diesel powered vehicle, which makes them
less likely to roll over in the event of a collision. Also, due to the lower
amount, or absence, of fuel in electric vehicles, the vehicles are far less
likely to catch fire in the event of a collision in comparison to gas or diesel
fueled vehicles.

It’s easy to see that electric vehicles can provide a number
of business benefits to those companies which choose to transition their fleet
vehicles to electric models. Not only are you saving your business money when
you choose electric, you’re also helping the environment and offering safer
vehicles for your fleet members. The benefits of choosing electric vehicles
also increase when paired with the GPS telematics devices GPS to GO is so proud
to stand behind as they unleash a new level of management for your fleet to get
the most out of your fleet vehicles whether you currently have gas- or
diesel-powered vehicles or electric vehicles. For more information on how GPS
to GO can help your fleet realize its full potential, contact us today at
1-877-477-8680 or online at www.gpstogo.com

How many hours a week do you spend stuck in traffic? The time spent hitting your brakes, inching forward ever so slowly, or at a dead stop altogether adds up by minutes and hours easily and costs much more than just wasted time for fleets. Fuel used idling can add up to a significant loss for companies, and there is research that suggests traffic jams are linked to stress, higher blood pressure, and weight gain, however this doesn’t have to be the case for your drivers. To be able to combat traffic congestion and the costs and health issues associated with it, the types of traffic congestion and categories that cause it must first be explained to get a better idea of the ways to beat it.

There are two types of traffic congestion – recurring and non-recurring. Recurring traffic congestion happens on a daily basis due to the lack of capacity of the road. Simply put, there are more vehicles travelling on the road than the road can physically fit. Non-recurring traffic congestion on the other hand does not necessarily occur on a daily basis, as it consists of temporary disruptions such as bad weather, vehicle collisions and construction.

The four main categories for causing traffic congestion are: Environmental (non-recurring), Mechanical (non-recurring), Human (non-recurring), and Infrastructure (recurring).

Environmentally caused traffic congestion occurs because of weather, from rainy or foggy weather, to the extreme snowstorms that stop drivers in their tracks, weather can have an uncontrollable effect on not only traffic but road conditions as well. It’s not just the large storms that can cause traffic headaches; even a gentle rain can have a compounding effect on traffic if all drivers slow down together.

Mechanically caused traffic congestion can sometimes fall under the human-caused category if a mechanical breakdown was caused my improper vehicle maintenance, however, it could also happen as a result of a sharp or large object on the road that is unavoidable. The biggest traffic congestion headaches that can happen as a result of a mechanical breakdown is when other drivers merge into surrounding lanes, creating a traffic snarl, instead of stopping to allow the broken down vehicle move to the shoulder of the road so traffic can resume a steady flow. While in some cases a driver may have been able to prevent the issues, even some of the most seasoned and responsible drivers have found themselves in these situations.

Human caused traffic congestion can be as a result of distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, or emotional driving. The most common traffic congestion caused by humans is known as “phantom traffic jams”, which occur when drivers make quick decisions and engage in behaviours like last minute braking, causing a ripple effect. Depending on other traffic conditions, this one action can slow traffic in that lane and the surrounding lanes or area for hours. These situations are known as “phantom traffic jams” because as drivers get through the sluggish spot, it will seem as though absolutely nothing caused the slowdown. The effects of a last-minute braking become much worse when a collision occurs, even something as small as a fender bender. If a collision does occur, the time getting the involved vehicles off the roadway causes even more residual traffic, and traffic slows down even worse when “rubbernecking” (when drivers slow down to look at an accident) occurs.

Infrastructure caused traffic congestion could again, like mechanical, be argued to be human-caused, however while humans created it, infrastructure is so vast and the world around it changing so rapidly, that it’s not necessarily the fault of engineers who didn’t foresee the demands which would be put on the roads at exponential rates. From potholes that cause slowdowns to bottlenecks in areas that simply out-populated their roadways, infrastructure is a hidden troll that amplifies traffic problems in many urban and suburban areas. Ironically, efforts to improve infrastructure and eliminate traffic congestion issues through construction can often cause significant traffic congestion.

With so many ways traffic can go wrong; it can seem daunting trying to figure out a way to avoid the hiccups that are sure to pop up in your daily commute. The task can seem even more intimidating for fleet managers who can have fleets of all sizes on the roads at any given time. So how can you avoid traffic congestion?

While some factors are outside your control, Geotab’s GPS tracking system technology provides a modern-day solution to the traffic challenges your fleet may face, saving your company time and money lost spent sitting in traffic and saving your drivers the potential health risks linked to traffic jams. Not only can Geotab’s GPS tracking system track fuel usage, it also allows fleet managers to identify and reduce unproductive miles, and see how much time is spent idling so they can better manage routes. If you are interested in saving your business money and time with Geotab’s GPS tracking system, contact us today!

Texting and driving is dangerous, there is no doubt about that. But while so much focus has gone into encouraging drivers to put their phones down, the other causes of distracted driving have been pushed aside despite also being very dangerous. It’s important for fleet managers to understand the different types of distracted driving so they can incorporate them all into training and reminders to their drivers to limit or remove all distractions to prevent costly or deadly accidents that are often very much avoidable.

What is considered distracted driving?

Simply put, distracted driving occurs whenever something takes a drivers’ attention away from driving, even for a second. In recent years the prominence of texting and driving and the consequences of partaking in that specific form of distracted driving have been at the forefront of road safety campaigns as it is illegal in Ontario but the truth is there are many ways a driver can be distracted which can result in similar consequences as texting, which unfortunately can include serious injury and death to truck drivers and others on the roads.

Did you know there are four different types of distracted driving?

It’s true, distracted driving doesn’t only require your eyes or hands to be off the road, and there are in fact four different types of distracted driving. So what are the four types of distractions?

  1. Manual: this type of distraction includes any reason which causes a driver to take their hands off the wheel while driving. This type of driving distraction is extremely dangerous as every driver should be ready to steer and change gears at all times, which becomes even more important if you are in harm’s way and don’t have the ability to maneuver your vehicle to avoid a collision.
  2. Visual: this type of driving distraction includes anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. Though some may think glancing out the window for a few seconds at something that’s caught your eye isn’t dangerous, those people should think of the size of a football field. They should think of a football because at an average speed of 88.5 km/h (or 55 mph), taking your eyes off the road for only five seconds is the equivalent to driving with your eyes closed for the entire length of a football field. Now think of the damage that could be done driving that far on a road with other cars and pedestrians with your eyes closed.
  3. Cognitive/Mental: this type of distraction includes thinking about something other than driving when behind the wheel. This is a common occurrence and often a difficult distraction to avoid since people often have a lot on the go but it’s important to try and keep your mind as focused on the road as possible. While you may feel you are driving just fine while thinking of other things, in the event another vehicle has an emergency and/or comes into your path, not having your thinking set on defensive driving to avoid being in a collision could make the difference between a few seconds of reaction time and whether an accident occurs or not.
  4. Auditory: this type of driving distraction consists of having your attention preoccupied by noise including a ringing phone or a conversation both on a mobile or Bluetooth device or in-person with a passenger. This is an important one for both drivers and passengers to keep in mind as you can picture yourself talking to someone, a conversation includes the auditory distraction as well as visual if the driver takes their eyes off the road to look at their passenger, as well as manual if the driver uses their hands to emphasize their conversation.

We’ve all seen it – a car in traffic speeding past, zooming in and out of lanes of traffic passing whoever they can and tailgating drivers who aren’t keeping up to whatever speed limit they seem to be following in their own little world. While some might say this person has road rage, these are in fact behaviours that qualify as aggressive driving. Although not considered road rage, aggressive driving including the behaviours mentioned above can often lead to road rage which is defined as an instance of violence and criminal behavior that stems from a traffic altercation where the sole purpose is to harm other drivers. So what causes people to drive aggressively? And how can we help put an end to the dangerous behaviours that are the cause of countless accidents resulting in injuries and deaths each year?

Research studies have found a number of reasons that could influence a driver to exhibit aggressive behaviours when behind the wheel. One of the most socially intriguing factors they found was the idea of anonymity. In a study completed by the NHSTA and American Psychology Association (APA), found that people were more likely to perform acts of aggression in an environment that masked the identity of the perpetrator, such as driving at night or with tinted windows. Other factors which researchers believe influence aggressive driving behaviours include learning such behaviours from parents, peers, and different forms of media like television and movies. Another study done over the course of 6 years by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered a link between increasing commute times and an increase in incidents of road rage. So how can Geotab telematics help correct aggressive driving in your fleet?

There are a number of telematics-related tools that can support fleet managers in curbing aggressive driving among their staff. These tools include:

– Using Driver Scorecards, which aggregates behavioural data among all your drivers and ranks drivers by how safe they drive by calculating the number of risky maneuvers they make on the roads.

– Gamification, which uses driver scorecards information and incentivizes drivers through safe driver recognition award programs.

– Driver Feedback, which uses driver behaviour data in real-time from devices like Geotab GO TALK to provide in-vehicle audible warnings and feedback to drivers about their behaviour.

– Training and Safety Education, which allows managers to use individual driver behaviour data to personalize driver training and education so each driver can work on specific habits they need to improve on.

It’s also important for fleet managers to recognize and be considerate of employee stress levels, such as time constraints on routes that can cause a driver to speed in fear of being late. A good practice to bring into your fleet’s routine is informing and reminding drivers of relaxation and coping techniques for any drivers who may be more prone to drive aggressively as a result of feeling stressed or angry.

Aggressive driving and road rage are not only negative qualities you don’t want associated with your business, but also are incredibly dangerous to your drivers and others on the roadways. By using the technologies offered by Geotab, and some fairly basic training, you can eliminate aggressive driving from your fleet. To get started using Geotab telematics with your fleet, contact us today.

Full enforcement of the ELD mandate in the U.S. has been in effect since April 1st, 2018, so if you or members of your fleet drive through the United States and haven’t been stopped yet, you should prepare for your first stop with the following information to ensure your drivers are aware of what is expected during the inspection to get them back on the road swiftly.

When a commercial vehicle driver is stopped for a roadside inspection they are required to present their record of duty status for the 7 days prior to the inspection. Geotab Cloud ELD (Geotab Drive) offers three methods to present driving logs to Department of Transportation enforcement officers. These methods are through web services (preferred method of FMCSA), by email, or through the display option presenting the logs off a tablet or phone.

Although your drivers should be trained on how to use the Geotab ELD device prior to hitting the roads, it is also important to know it is mandatory at all times to have instructions on how to use Geotab Drive in the cab for the driver and officer to reference. If in doubt on what the process is, or what is needed during a roadside inspection, drivers can also reference the new workflow called Inspection Mode as part of the Geotab 1802 software/firmware. Inspection Mode will also display a new warning to officers when they attempt to leave Inspection Mode telling them to return the device to the driver. This warning is to help prevent officers from looking at other places within the app that they shouldn’t be on.

Inspection Mode Screenshot

Display Warning when leaving Inspection Mode

Heatmap showing successful Geotab ELD data transfers in the first 90 days of 2018

For additional information on roadside inspections you can watch the video webinars below with Officer Kimberly Hill, Motor Carrier Inspector, Indiana State Police

ELD and Roadside Inspections Part 1 [Video]

ELD and Roadside Inspections Part 2 [Video]