The Element Fleet blog is written by various fleet experts we've invited to participate. They offer their opinions and comments on issues related to fleet management, maintenance, telematics, trucks, vehicle accident management, driver safety and more. You also have the opportunity to respond or ask questions. So go ahead and join the conversation.
Just a note: The opinions of the writers don’t necessarily reflect the position of Element Fleet Management on these subjects.
- The increasing importance of safety and productivity in van and truck upfitting. Fleet managers are giving increased consideration as to whether an upfit will be ergonomically safe for the driver over the service life of the vehicle.
They’re also increasingly focused on how upfits can be designed to enhance productivity. In our Truck Excellence team, we look at what clients are doing with their trucks. Are they climbing in and out of them numerous times a day? Do they have particular needs for servicing their own clients? At the Red Cross, for instance, the people driving the vehicles are not professional drivers – they’re nurses, aid workers, etc. These workers have a dual role. As companies push to meet their bottom lines, they’re considering alternatives to get the job done. They want the upfitting to accommodate that and make it safe, comfortable, and productive for the driver.
- Customized re-designs of interior packages. Clients turn to us and say, “What can we do to redesign?” We look at what they’re hauling, their requirements or the vehicle itself (how much room for payload, etc.), what hours they operate, whether there’s an option in terms of the body’s material, and make recommendations. For the Red Cross, for example, we wanted to get out of being classified as a DOT vehicle and into a lighter GVWR, but haul the same product.”
- Increase specification of LED Lighting. One very specific upfitting trend we’ve noticed is a growing interest in LED lighting. It takes less energy and provides better lumen, more of a maintenance-free operation, and lasts longer.
- Try driving a big truck using our virtual reality truck simulator – test your skills in this video game-like immersion experience!
- Improve your fleet strategy and get personalized tips from our experts about reducing your fleet’s total cost of ownership – discover what you could be doing more effectively.
- Our Truck Excellence team, our Material Handling Equipment team, and our heavy duty truck experts will be on hand to consult with you about your fleet.
- We’ll discuss best practices in truck fleet management that will help you be more productive at lower cost
- We’ll have some fun giveaways and a drawing for a Bose wireless speaker – enter to win!
That quote personifies how we feel here at Element Fleet. Doing what it takes to satisfy you, our customers, is one thing – but earning your loyalty is another major level of commitment, and we re-commit to that every day.
Because April is Customer Loyalty Month, I wanted to say “Thank you” for allowing us to partner with you in achieving your organization’s success. We enjoy working with you, finding new solutions to your challenges, and delivering the proactive service that helps you be more successful.
And I’m happy to say that we have a pretty good track record for customer loyalty. We have more than 300 customers who have been with us for 15 years or more – over 150 who have been with us 30 years or more, and around 20 who have been with us an astounding 60 years or more.
If you’re a fleet manager, you care about driver safety and consider safety factors when developing your vehicle selector. Element Fleet Management’s Accident Management team recently completed a high-level analysis for a pharmaceutical client to test whether All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vs. Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) could affect the probability of getting into an accident. The following processes and assumptions were included in our analysis:
- Element examined detailed accident management data reported during CY 2014 for a pharmaceutical client and two additional benchmark pharmaceutical clients.
- Incidents not applicable for an AWD vs. FWD analysis were removed, such as parking, glass repairs, acts of nature, vandalism, other party faults, etc.
- Incidents most likely applicable for an AWD vs. FWD analysis were left, such as collision with a stationary object and/or animal, skidded or slid, driver lost control of vehicle and pedestrian collision.
- The resulting accident dataset included a total of 273 incidents with cars and light vehicles of various years, makes and models distinguished by AWD vs. FWD through model designation.
Out of 273 total incidents, 68% of the collisions occurred in a FWD vehicle and 32% of the collisions occurred in an AWD vehicle. This represents nearly a 2 to 1 ratio in favor of AWD, using collisions as the criterion.
While there may not be definitive research showing improved safety from the use of AWD vs. FWD, this analysis points out how critical it is to consider numerous factors – even factors outside the normal “safety equipment” options – when choosing your selectors.
Does your fleet have both AWD vs FWD vehicles? I’d be interested to hear about your experience in terms of accident rates.
- Increase the distance between the vehicle you are driving and the vehicle in front of you. Statistics have shown that most drivers keep a 2-second distance between vehicles travelling at speed. The 4-second rule gives the driver a better chance of stopping in time to prevent a collision.
How to determine the 4-second rule:
Pick out an item on the side of the road, whether it’s a tree or lamp post. When you see the car in front of you go past that tree or post, count off how long it takes you to reach that same marker. Anything less than 4 seconds when travelling at speed could mean that you are following too close to the vehicle in front of you.
- Keep your eyes scanning ahead of you as far as possible to detect potential hazards and give yourself time to react if needed.
- Always know the location of each vehicle around you, including vehicles behind you.
- While stopped at an intersection, always make sure you can see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you from your normal sitting position. To avoid rear ending the vehicle in front of you if it makes an unexpected stop in the intersection, look left, right and left while counting “123 go” before starting up your vehicle.
- If a vehicle cuts you off, stay calm and maintain the correct following distance to include slowing down if needed.
- Avoid conversations in your vehicle and thoughts that keep your mind off your driving.
- To prevent accidents – or in some cases to define who was at fault – some companies choose to install cameras in the vehicles. There are several companies that market this technology and can provide you with data that will justify the return on investment. This technology can possibly fill in the gaps of ‘who said what’ and what actually happened. However, the accident footage is not always admissible in court.