Everyone on the road wants to get home safely, yet for heavy vehicle drivers there are factors that can make this journey harder than it needs to be. In particular, fatigue and other road users are two of the biggest dangers. To truly tackle road safety, the transport industry needs to look at how it can better regulate and raise awareness of these risks.
Hacking Technology For Change
There are many ways to address driver fatigue, from legislative changes to training and culture change. Of course, technology is here to stay, as it now plays a huge role in the day-to-day of a transport operation. How can technology help improve safety?
In April, experts in tech, business and health gathered in Canberra for ATA’s FatigueHACK. Under the guidance of industry experts and specialists, it was three days of innovation, collaboration and, most importantly, building awareness of one of the biggest issues surrounding the heavy vehicle industry. In the end, Augmented Reality walked away with the $6000 prize and the chance to further develop its solution, a high-tech steering wheel with sensors to measure a driver’s Electrocardiography (ECG).
Chris L’Ecluse, Teletrac Navman solutions specialist, said he picked the Augmented Intelligence team of entrepreneurs and health clinicians as a frontrunner early on, as its solution was a unique integration of existing technologies. Many amazing ideas came out of the day, from truck stop AirBnBs to safety awareness campaigns. “There were some fantastic ideas… which from my perspective warrant further investigation, some of which are very easy to implement”, Chris says. With the same brief, access to mentors and real-life accounts from truck drivers, all attendees pulled out completely different results.
“There are a lot of different ways to fight and manage fatigue, and we should be thinking about taking the best ideas onboard,” says Andrew Rossington, Vice President of Transport Solutions at Teletrac Navman and judge at FatigueHACK.
Getting Into The Heads Of Drivers
While managing fatigue for truck drivers is essential, they’re not the only ones on the road. It’s been estimated by the insurance industry that more than 90 per cent of all fatal crashes involving trucks are the fault of drivers of light vehicles.
In response, transport bodies have called for initiatives to help the public understand the impact of their driving habits – whether its sitting in blind spots so truck drivers can’t see them, or rapidly changing speeds.
Australia’s Road Safety Week, which ran from 30th April to 6th May, was a great opportunity to get the word out. Teletrac Navman launched #TipsFromSafeDrivers, an initiative that invites truck drivers to share their best safety tips with non-truck drivers. Throughout May, insights and advice will be showcased on the competition website. At the end of the month, the truck driver with the best tip will receive a $100 Visa prepaid gift card. By sharing first-hand accounts from behind the wheel, other drivers will gain insights about how their behaviour impacts others on the road.
With education, increased awareness and the right technology, we all have the power to change the culture around road safety. It will be a long road, but ultimately a rewarding one if it means lives can be saved.