Safety is a top goal for any fleet manager.
Staying informed about the latest technologies and practices that can help monitor and improve brake safety is essential.
Telematics and GPS Technology
Telematics and GPS technology offer invaluable tools for monitoring and enhancing brake safety in work truck fleets.
Fakkema stated, "GPS and telematics technology can assist with brake safety in many ways."
To illustrate, fleets can monitor brake safety effectively by employing an accelerometer, a device that detects hard acceleration and abrupt braking events.
The data collected through this technology can be conveniently accessed via a fleet management portal, enabling fleet managers to pinpoint where these incidents occur and enhance driver performance and behavior through targeted coaching.
Incorporating telematics and GPS technology into the mix further enhances brake safety measures by identifying drivers exhibiting risky behaviors, such as:
- Excessive braking system use characterized by harsh braking.
- Prolonged brake usage.
- Failure to downshift when necessary.
Leveraging this data empowers fleets to address these behaviors, improving brake safety across the entire fleet.
Brake Wear Sensors and Predictive Maintenance
Integrating brake wear sensors and predictive maintenance technology is a game-changer for fleet safety and operational efficiency.
Fakkema emphasized, "Brake wear sensors provide a 'real-time' view of the brakes, assisting drivers in thorough pre- and post-trip inspections."
These sensors are especially crucial in newer commercial motor vehicle (CMV) models, where brake linings may not always be visible during inspections.
Predictive maintenance offers real-time analytics to prevent unexpected breakdowns on the road. It allows motor carriers to address issues before they escalate into costly maintenance problems.
Fakkema pointed out that repairing CMVs at terminals is far more cost-effective than on the roadside. Additionally, fault detection aids in understanding what needs to be repaired when responding to incidents on the road, improving overall fleet safety.
Data Collection and Analysis
Brake-related violations consistently rank among the top five infractions in North America each year. This underscores the critical importance of prioritizing brake maintenance for all carriers.
To enhance brake safety, fleet management software can collect various data points related to braking.
“Brake force is an important data point that should be collected if available. Officers and inspectors nationwide are utilizing the Performance Based Brake Tester (PBBT) more often, which can be used to measure the brake force,” Fakkema added.
Monitoring Driver Behavior
Monitoring driver behavior, especially concerning braking, is instrumental in identifying risky behavior patterns and improving overall fleet safety.
Technology can provide insights into hard braking and quick stops, enabling carriers to create driver scorecards and leverage gamification for performance improvement.
Gamification incentivizes safe driving practices, encouraging drivers to adopt better braking habits.
Fakkema said, “Since brakes are always a top roadside violation, fleets should have technology to identify risky braking behavior. Hard braking can wear the brakes out sooner and cause wear and tear on the braking system, which causes a safety risk and potential roadside violations.”
Embracing Tech to Enhance Safety
Brake safety is a vital aspect of fleet management in the work truck industry.
By embracing telematics, GPS technology, brake wear sensors, and predictive maintenance, fleet managers can proactively enhance brake safety, reduce maintenance costs, and ultimately, save road life.
Here are Fakkema’s top brake safety tips for work truck fleets:
- Conduct Thorough Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections: Brake safety starts with rigorous pre- and post-trip inspections. Neglecting these inspections can lead to missed brake issues and potential safety hazards.
- Prioritize Brake Maintenance: Brake-related violations should not be among the top concerns for your fleet. Make brake maintenance a top priority to ensure the safety of your drivers and the public.
- Leverage Technology: Utilize available technology to its full potential. Monitor driver behavior and brake components to maintain a positive safety culture within your fleet.
As Fred Fakkema emphasized, "You can't just talk about it but do it" — take action to ensure the brake safety of your work truck fleet.