A formula for fleet safety?

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When it comes to truck safety, there is no single “golden solution” or “quick fix”—and the many studies, claims, and high horses about how fleets and owner-operators can best promote safety “mostly serve to muddy the issue,” according to a new whitepaper. Indeed, fleet safety is “multidimensional,” but it can be modeled and improved incrementally, contends Fred Andersky, director of customer solutions – Controls, at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. And he has the formula.

That math—along with detailed discussion of the many variables that go into it—is at the heart of “The Fleet Safety Equation,” a two-part paper from Bendix and Andersky. Part One, titled “Thinking Beyond a One-Step Solution to Safety,” is currently available at the Bendix website and at knowledge-dock.com.

“Safety is multidimensional, whether you operate one vehicle or 100,000,” Andersky says. “Bendix’s goal in this paper is to provide a starting point for thinking about fleet safety in its entirety, enabling an open conversation to develop solutions that fit the wide-ranging needs of fleets and independent drivers across the trucking industry.”

Peak fleet safety performance, the paper suggests, is driven by optimizing a combination of technology, drivers, culture, maintenance, monitoring, and regulatory adherence over a period of time, while also factoring in the cost of crashes.

The Bendix paper also cites a parallel with the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) 2017-2018 “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements,” which contains multiple items to help enhance safety across transportation modes.

“The NTSB’s list—with its concept of more than one approach to safety—reinforces the need to address a variety of factors when wishing to strengthen safety for the fleet and owner-operator,” Andersky says. “It’s not one quick fix, but a combination of elements that, when combined, may add up to a safer fleet. And a safer fleet can mean a positive ROI through fewer crashes, better driver retention, and other benefits.

“The more a fleet does to optimize each of the variables in the Fleet Safety Equation, the higher the likelihood that it becomes safer, especially compared to those fleets that do not take the opportunity.”

 “Thinking Beyond a One-Step Solution to Safety” explores these factors in detail, while the forthcoming second part, “Putting the Fleet Safety Equation to Work,” will consider how to assign values to the equation’s factors – and how those numbers might be used to quantify safety in practice.

Bendix invites feedback on the paper via email at FSE@bendix.com.

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones has an odd fascination with the supply chain. As editor of American Trucker, he focuses on the critical role owner-ops and small fleets play in the economy, locally and globally. And he...
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