Commercial vehicle speeding can cause accidents and increase fleet costs. It doesn’t help the industry’s reputation either. Fleet and compliance managers actively promote safety solutions to combat speeding concerns. But talking about it isn’t enough. This article addresses technology that helps fleets monitor, analyze, and take action on driver behavior.
What are the dangers of driver speeding?
In 2019, 5,005 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, up 2% from 2018. In the same time period, the large truck involvement rate (large trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks) increased 4% from 1.61 to 1.67, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Any vehicle going too fast is at greater risk of a crash. Commercial vehicles, in particular, because of their size and high center of gravity and weight, take longer to stop and can be tipped or thrown off balance by turns when speeding. A truck can jackknife when the speeding driver has a heavy load that shifts during transport and the truck is unstable. Additionally, commercial trucks are more likely to cause a severe collision.
Speeding has a negative impact on your business bottom line too. The speeding driver will run up fuel costs, can cause more wear-and-tear on the vehicles, and require more maintenance. Your fleet’s brand can also suffer damages if others on the road associate your drivers with high-risk behaviors.
According to the American Trucking Associations, “A truck traveling at 75 mph consumes 27% more fuel than one going 65 mph; so limiting truck speed to 65 mph would save 2.8 billion gals.”
Knowing that, you have to be wondering how to stop speeding drivers. Before we get to that, it helps to understand what causes drivers to speed.
What causes commercial drivers to speed?
Poorly planned routes
Truck drivers keep to a tight schedule. They face limits on the number of hours they can drive and when they need to take breaks, yet they also want to complete deliveries on time. As a result, a poorly planned route can contribute to trucker speeding.
A well-planned route takes time, road condition, and potential delays into account. Considering these in advance can help take off the stress about making a timely delivery from the mind of the driver.
Ingrained driving habits
Drivers recognize that speeding is a safety concern. Yet, in a survey by the National Safety Council, 64% still said they’re “comfortable speeding.” This attitude needs to change.
The speeding driver may not even realize that they’re speeding when driving distracted. A driver talking on a cell phone or eating while driving can unwittingly pick up speed.
You’ll probably cover distracted driving when onboarding your commercial fleet. Still, even the best drivers can slip into high-risk behaviors, negatively affecting your fleet risk management. That’s when a driver safety solution can help.
These common causes of truck driver speeding can be combated. Read on to learn more about how to reduce speeding.
How are speeding citations calculated?
Like a teenager asking what the consequence would be before deciding whether or not to break a rule, you may get asked: “How much is a speeding ticket in a semi-truck” or “How much is a speeding ticket in a commercial vehicle?” Of course, the answers will vary based on context. Yet, to generally answer “how much is a speeding ticket for truck drivers” we can say that, while the dollar amount varies from state to state, the penalty will often consider:
- Driving speed
- Posted speed
- Where the speeding was recorded
- Driving conditions at the time
Additionally, beyond the fine, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) speeding ticket can also mean:
- Disqualification from driving. Two or more serious violations “within a three-year period will lead to a disqualification for 60 days, and a subsequent conviction within three years will get you a 120-day disqualification.”
- 50% higher Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points for the same speeding ticket conviction compared to non-CDL peers
- Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score point severity reflecting the amount of speed over the limit
Another common question is: “Can fleets face action over speeding drivers?” A lawyer filing suit after a truck accident will typically bring the initial suit against the speeding truck driver’s company. Determining liability for the different parties will be part of the legal action. Top questions that need answers include whether the truck driver was operating the vehicle conscientiously and if there were any equipment-based or mechanical malfunctions.
How can fleets reduce driver speeding?
The National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence (NSTSCE) in 2019 surveyed nine carriers that had experienced significant improvements in safety and concluded “a strong safety culture, advanced technologies, training and management practices all are key.” There was no single fix that made a significant difference but here are some of the areas you can change:
Be proactive about safety
Addressing driver safety begins first with educating drivers about the dangers. The truck driver needs to know to adjust speed when driving in heavy traffic, construction zones, or when there’s low visibility or wet pavement due to rain, sleet, snow or fog. The FMCSA further cautions truck drivers to slow down on curves (which often have reduced speed limits), on exit and entrance ramps, and when driving with a full load.
Driver coaching and incentive programs emphasizing a culture of safety can help. Both are made easier with fleet software. Fleet managers can easily run reports to identify the drivers with the greatest number of speeding events. They can also create rules to get notifications of drivers speeding or driving aggressively and provide additional training for those drivers.
Invest in AI dashcams
AI dashcams can help fleets stop accidents and proactively detect unsafe driving such as speeding, and can instantly alert drivers to modify their behaviors.
AI dashcams also provide data to calculate driver risk scores to help predict future accidents. Motive’s DRIVE risk score objectively measures risk against its broader network of over 400,000 vehicles to give you a holistic understanding of your drivers’ performance over time. The scoring incorporates safety events like speeding to determine a driver’s accurate risk profile.
Additionally, you can use the dashcam video evidence to protect innocent drivers and avoid the fallout for your fleet from a potential nuclear verdict.
Adopt GPS tracking technology
Installing GPS tracking technology can easily improve route planning. Real-time tracking and maps give managers the ability to proactively reroute trucks based on road and weather conditions and vehicle location. Sharing vehicle locations also enables accurate ETA calculation and can support exceptional customer service by providing real-time alerts along the way.
At Mohawk Materials, GPS tracking has made for a more efficient operation. “Before, my plant managers would have to call to ask where the truck is and would have to wait 30 minutes for the next refresh to give an update,” says owner Wes Beck. “Now, they don’t have to call me at all. They can check right on their phone and find out where that truck is.”
The ability to geofence or create virtual boundaries can also raise driver awareness when they’re in a school or construction zone. They’ll receive alerts to remind them to drive with greater care, at slower speeds.
How Motive’s AI-powered safety platform helps reduce speeding
Motive’s safety platform offers several features focused on addressing speeding concerns and reducing accident costs:
- Real-time in-cab alerts to drivers with dashcams
- Real-time email alerts so fleet managers can act quickly to correct driver behavior
- Centralized view of driver speeding events in the Fleet Dashboard provides actionable context for immediate coaching
Speeding is also one of the driver behaviors that impact the driver’s DRIVE risk score. Motive’s fleet safety solution automates post-trip coaching using video to correct driver behaviors based on the trends observed on the trip.
Plus, Motive’s advanced event intelligence and in-house safety team analyzes dashcam videos within seconds of incidents to provide a greater understanding of context and severity.
As a result, Motive customers have reduced accidents by up to 30% through real-time in-cab alerting, automated post-trip coaching, and predictive insights from the DRIVE risk score.