Speed on Secondary Roads - Managing Speed Far More Important on Side Roads than Interstates

Fifty-nine percent of all large truck travel in US happens on non-Interstate roads, and large truck crashes on these roads occur at nearly three times the rate of crashes on Interstates. Everyone agrees that reducing speed reduces the risk of crashes on all roads. More importantly, these first first two statistics reinforce the growing industry perception that controlling speed on all secondary roads and locations where fleets operate is crucial - for public and fleet safety, as well as the bottom line.

Let's first look at the dollars and cents argument for controlling vehicle speed. Direct costs such as fuel consumption and maintenance downtime may not be as significant at the lower speeds typically associated with non-Interstate miles travelled. Crashes on the other hand (nearly three times more likely on secondary roads on a distance-traveled basis), affect the bottom line in both immediate and less tangible ways. Depending on severity, who is at fault, court costs and judgments, these unforeseen and widely variable costs can spell the end of careers and even move a year's profits to the loss column. If reducing speed reduces crashes in the higher risk non-Interstate zones, then managing speed in these higher risk zones becomes a significant operational requirement for any fleet manager.

A longer-term financial consideration is the impact of crashes and citations on a fleet's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score. These public scores for all fleets are determined using the safety measurement system recently put into place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). See more at: http://blog.ryder.com/2013/04/the-importance-of-your-csa-scores/#sthash.foVHfdQm.dpuf

As the industry begins to accept speed management as the easiest driver behavior to control, fleet wide speeding trends as well as the number of crashes make up two of the seven categories that the FCSA uses to determine your score. A higher score is not good, and the math is simple on this one.  Higher score = higher insurance premiums and perhaps more importantly, lost customers. While fleets may not be able to control the cost of fuel, they can control and improve their CSA scores over time. This makes insurance premium costs a more controllable and foreseeable line item for the operation of your business.

From a pure public and fleet safety argument, there is a reason that crashes on side roads and frontage roads are more likely. Interstates are controlled access environments, with traffic moving in the same direction, at generally the same speed, with no sharp turns or unknown road conditions. Secondary roads on the other hand have pedestrians, schools, animals, bicyclists, safety zones and usually traffic coming in the opposite direction or crossing at an intersection. Public perception of driver behavior associated with specific fleets is more likely to gain momentum, good or bad, in a local community that regularly sees fleets that use its local roads. This makes 45 in a 35 a far more compelling event to discover and important driver behavior to change.

SpeedGauge is finding more and more statistics that bear out the importance of speed management on secondary roads. We are always looking at posted public speed limits as well as the customized speed zones created by our customers. These zones represent self-designated areas where their vehicles are regularly traveling, and where fleet managers want to more directly manage driver speeds. As we interact with the industry and directly with fleets, we believe we are now seeing a trend in fleet managers who want to control speed not just on the Interstate. The secondary roads where their vehicles spend more time and travel more miles are definitely top of mind in every speed management conversation we have.

This entry was posted on July 1st, 2013 by bobby and is filed under Recent News & Updates.