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Truck fleets turn to new computer modeling to identify crash risks

Technology has taken trucking industry safety to new levels. As a result, the industry hopes to see a reduction in truck accidents and tractor trailer crashes caused by reckless driving, making roads and freeways in Ohio and across the nation safer.

For years, computers, GPS trackers and devices that monitor driver communications have provided information about truck fleets, drivers' practices and conditions surrounding accidents. Enhancements of these tools give fleet managers new ways to find out what's happening in their vehicles in real time. New innovations enable managers to offer real-time corrective advice to drivers before accidents happen.

Predictive analytics -- using data collected in the past to predict future behavior -- helps fleet managers identify drivers who pose a safety risk in the future.

One example of how predictive analytics identified an at-risk situation involved a driver who had an outstanding safety record. However, data indicated that the driver had begun to vary his shift-starting time and had stopped driving on weekends. His average speed had increased over time.

The analytics program recommended coaching, but management ignored the warning. The driver was involved in a high-speed crash a few weeks later. As it turned out, changes in his personal life, such as hurricane damage to his home and an injury to his ankle, had triggered the objective changes in his driving data. The accident may have been avoided if the driver's manager had talked to him about these external stressors.

Information about which Ohio truckers have integrated predictive analytics in their operations is not readily available at this time.

Source: Truckinginfo, "Using analytics for proactive predictions," Jim Beach, July 23, 2012

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