Drivers ‘fail to take appropriate breaks’

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More than one in five commercial vehicle drivers (22%) spends more than 4.5 hours on the road without taking a mandatory 45-minute rest break, new research has indicated.

What’s more, fleet mangers who took part in the survey said driver fatigue was the cause of 18% of vehicle accidents – second only to the number one cause, speeding (19%).

Quoted on the Commercial Fleet website, Derek Bryan, a Vice-President at Verizon Connect which conducted the survey, said: “This is one of the busiest periods of the year for many commercial vehicle operators and they have an incredibly difficult job.  There is a lot of pressure to meet strict service level agreements and cope with increased demand in the lead-up to Christmas.  But safety must always come first. 

“Simple systems can cut down time spent on admin while ensuring compliance and driver safety.  Fleet management systems can integrate tachographs so that managers can get near-real-time alerts when drivers are approaching their legal limits and ensure they take appropriate rest.  Managers can also schedule to download driver tacho data remotely to automatically ensure compliance.  The benefit is improved driver safety, compliance, and productivity, which lets managers reclaim time to focus on growing and improving the business.”

Driver fatigue is fleet managers’ top safety issue (45%) according to the survey, ahead of speeding and harsh braking (44%), and mobile phone use while driving (39%).  

However, they also said that finding the time to keep records are up to date was their most pressing concern – 32% spend at least four hours a week correcting and following up on mistakes in tachograph data, which is equivalent to 18.5 working days a year.  On average, the survey showed that fleet managers download tachograph data ten times a year, which is less than the legal requirement of every 28 days.