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.
- 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.
- Monday, April 13, 2:00 p.m. (International Fleet Academy)
Charting Your Global Roadmap: An interactive workshop
- Tuesday, April 14, 2:00 p.m.
Creating Bid Proposals to Achieve Results Sooner Rather Than Never
- Tuesday, April 14, 3:45 p.m.
Fleet Finance Explained: Funding Alternatives for the Global Fleet
- Wednesday, April 15, 1:15 p.m.
Emerging Controversarial Issues and Their Impact on Your Fleet
- Wednesday, April 15, 1:15 p.m.
Turn Off the Engine! (Explore ideas & techniques to change behavior of excessive idlers)
- Thursday, April 16, 2:45 p.m.
Implementing Telematics: A Manager’s Success Story
- Friday, April 17, 9:00 a.m.
Fleet Managers Only: The FMC Executive Panel
This morning, I had the privilege to attend the unveiling of the latest Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® van in Baltimore!
Element's 50-year client, Colgate-Palmolive, has reached children around the world with free dental screenings and oral health education through the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program. In the United States, Colgate's fleet of mobile dental vans travels around the country to rural and urban communities, serving over 165 million children to date.
At today's festive event, the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® program expanded its focus on Baltimore children by officially dedicating a brand new mobile dental van, managed by Element Fleet. The van is staffed by program coordinators and local volunteer dental professionals, and it will operate six days a week through partnerships with local schools, churches and community events.
Jim Halliday, President of Element Fleet Management, spoke at today's dedication, as did Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Dr. Marsha Butler, Vice President of Global Oral Health and Professional Relations for Colgate, and other health and school officials. It was a great day, the kids were delighted to explore the new van, and Element Fleet is very proud to partner with Colgate in this unique and valuable community program.
At the BSBF dedication in Baltimore: (l to r) Jim Halliday of Element Fleet, Lee Wagoner of Colgate-Palmolive, and Scott Dunbar, Mary Ann Moeri and Rich Zambroski of Element Fleet.
April is distracted driving month, so what better time to focus your fleet drivers on this important topic?
"Distracted driving" is any visual, manual or cognitive distraction that has the potential to distract a driver from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Some of the most common distractions are talking on a mobile phone or texting while driving, adjusting the radio or temperature controls, eating or drinking, picking up objects, using an electronic device such as a GPS, applying makeup or being preoccupied with passengers.
According to numerous studies, too many drivers are still talking or texting while they drive, despite numerous laws put in place throughout North America.
Reducing your risk from distracted driving
When an employee is involved in a crash because of distracted driving, the victims have the law on their side when it comes to getting recompensed. One crucial step in protecting your fleet drivers – and your company – is to develop and implement a cell phone policy, using the following guidelines:
- Know your risk. Understand how many crashes your company has had in the past, the number of insurance claims and your premium history. Find your organizational balance of revenue and risk management.
- Don't make a policy in a vacuum. You need to talk to the people who will be following the policy.
- Communicate from the top down. Executive sponsorship is required for a cell phone policy to be successful.
- Reward and recognize. Once a policy is in place, ensure that safe drivers are rewarded for their behavior.
- Enforce it. If you don't plan on enforcing it, don't create a policy at all.
Another important step in protecting your fleet includes training. At Center for Transportation Safety, we've found that an effective training involves use of multiple methods: classroom and online instruction, work in simulators and behind the wheel. Training should focus on a driver's behavioral attitudes, including understanding the dangers inherent in distracted driving.
Let me know your experience with cell phone policies at your company.
In this month’s edition, I focus on an important part of your fleet management strategy. “Financial Decision-Making: Leasing Versus Buying Material Handling Equipment” lays out the advantages and disadvantages of each financial alternative, depending on your organization’s specific needs. I provide some advice on how to go about making an informed decision taking numerous considerations into account.
Read the article now and let me know what you think.
Are you going to the ProMat Expo in Chicago?
On the same subject of material handling equipment, Element Fleet will be at the ProMat Expo in Chicago, March 23-26. This event is the largest expo for manufacturing and supply chain professionals in North America. At ProMat, you’ll have access to the latest material handling and logistics equipment and technologies.
If you’re planning to go, please visit our Booth #4863 to talk with our material handling equipment experts. They can help you meet the equipment specialists supporting your fleet, introduce you to new industry contacts, and walk the show floor with you to make the experience more valuable in every way.
Hope to see you there!
- Avoid aggressive starts: A single second of “flooring it” can produce nearly the same amount of emissions as 30 minutes of normal driving.
- Keep vehicle properly maintained: Keeping tires properly inflated and getting regular oil changes and tune-ups not only lengthen the life of your vehicle, they improve fuel economy.
- Combine trips when possible: Warmed-up engines generate less air pollution.
- Reduce weight in vehicle: An extra 100 pounds of cargo can reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy by 1-2%. A fully loaded roof rack can reduce fuel economy by 5%. If you do need to carry the extra items, put them in the trunk or the bed of the truck.
- Drive at a moderate speed: Driving the speed limit not only improves safety, it can increase fuel efficiency by 10% or more.
- Reduce use of the air conditioner. The A/C consumes nearly a gallon of gas per tank. If it’s really hot outside and you need the A/C, open your windows to remove hot air before turning it on.
- Park in the shade: Not only does a hot car take longer to cool, heat can cause fuel evaporation, hurting the environment and your wallet!
- Use cruise control: By maintaining a constant speed, vehicles are more fuel-efficient.
- Go to http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/
- Scroll down the page to the bottom left, where there’s a box that says “Check Motor Carrier Safety and Performance Data”
- Enter either your company’s DOT number or the company name you want to look up to check the current rating. You may need to add additional information as some carriers have similar names.
- Companies are rated by the FMCSA on the following categories.
- Unsafe driving
- Crash indicator
- Hours-of-service compliance
- Vehicle maintenance
- Controlled substance & alcohol
- Hazardous materials compliance
- Driver fitness