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Safety of drivers on the roads remains the biggest priority for fleet managers, and never has the topic been more important than during COVID-19.

“As capacity continues to tighten and there are fewer drivers on the road, it’s a requirement to keep them safe,” said Cary West, director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice.

“While safety is especially important now, it should be a key issue for logistics leaders at all times”.

Mr West’s comments are echoed by research into the safety challenges facing fleet operators. A study conducted by fleet and mobile asset management systems provider Mix Telematics asked 200 fleet operators found over a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents do not have confidence that their drivers are safe behind the wheel, with 33 per cent highlighting fatigue as their biggest challenge to ensuring driver safety on the road.

Over 50 per cent of respondents placed high importance on reducing crashes amongst their drivers. Up to 37 per cent said they were not concerned with saving money, instead rating driver safety (46 per cent) and creating a culture of driver safety (31 per cent) as top compliance priorities.

“Truck drivers are working harder than ever under financial pressures with many pushing themselves to the limits to meet tight deadlines and increasing workloads, with catastrophic outcomes,” MiX Telematics Australasian head of sales and marketing Lara Churton-Hughes said.

“The research indicates more needs to be done to protect drivers and other road users from the growing threat that fatigue poses.

“Advances in telematics technology solutions now make it possible to identify and monitor drivers who are tired and distracted and has been proven to significantly reduce fatigue-related incidents by approximately 90 per cent and improve the efficiency of a fleet.”

Those involved in the study came from a variety of industries including transport and logistics, automotive, mining, oil and gas, construction and engineering.