Driver safety becomes increasingly dangerous during the winter. Heavy snowfall and winter road conditions, such as black ice, create hazardous driving challenges that contribute to 24% of weather-related accidents each year. According to a study from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) U.S. Federal Highway Administration, more than 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in snowy and icy road conditions.
For first responders and law enforcement, this means their services are needed more than ever. To protect the public, however, fleet managers must ensure that they follow safe driving practices and the right preventative maintenance strategies are enforced to minimize unscheduled repair services. By installing fleet tracking devices into each government vehicle, a fleet vehicle’s performance can be monitored in real-time and tracked for maintenance issues before they become severe.
Here are some other ways fleet management can increase driver safety for first responders while they protect the public during winter.
Monitor Driver Behavior
Road safety is already compromised in the winter due to different seasonal road conditions, but police officers who don’t practice safe driving habits increase their risk of getting in an accident. Plus, an officer who causes an accident due to reckless driving behavior can tarnish the reputation of a police agency and lead to costly lawsuits.
With a fleet management solution, law enforcement officials can monitor and detect driving behavior such as:
- Hard braking
- Acceleration and deceleration rates
- The operational hours of the vehicle
- Turning motion
By understanding the driving habits of police officers and other first responders, law enforcement and other public health and safety agencies can implement the necessary measures to increase driver safety when responding to emergencies in winter conditions.
Follow Scheduled Maintenance Checks
Since police cruisers can see significant wear and tear, implementing preventative maintenance strategies is vital to increasing vehicle and driver safety and helping to mitigate the risk of accidents. Winter road conditions require everyone to drive with extreme caution, and a vehicle breaking down can slow down a police officer’s response time and leave the safety of the victim in jeopardy.
Law enforcement needs to immediately respond to an emergency call without worrying whether their vehicles can get them to the scene safely. Combining a vehicle’s diagnostic system with a fleet tracking device allows fleet managers to receive up-to-date reports on vehicle performance and set reminders for future vehicle maintenance checks. It also alerts when a vehicle needs:
- Fluid and oil replacements
- A brake pad inspection
- Renewed insurance and registrations
- Tire rotation
All this greatly reduces fleet costs over time and prevents minor car issues from becoming expensive repairs.
Optimize Driving Routes
First responders sometimes only have minutes to arrive at a scene before it’s too late, so they must avoid heavy traffic areas and constructions zones as much as possible. This can be challenging enough when it’s snowing, but roads that haven’t been recently serviced by snowplow operations can cause snow to build up and block roadways. Unsalted and icy, slushy roads reduce driver safety and increase the likelihood of a first responder unit spinning out.
Fleet management software offers live traffic data for continuous route optimization updates and to help law enforcement avoid road accidents. By being able to monitor the location of marked and unmarked units, dispatchers can know which police officers are closest and can respond to the scene most quickly.
Improving driver safety is an easy, effective way for fleet managers to increase response times and monitor driver behavior during the winter. Rastrac offers customizable fleet management solutions for real-time tracking that alerts to road hazards and other safety issues that could affect the safety of first responders and the public. Download our GPS tracking solutions guide to see how fleet tracking solutions can increase law enforcement operational efficiency!