At the risk of being lost

Which of the following causes the most accidents at your fleet: fatigue, aggression, weather, distraction or getting lost? Accidents tend to be complex events, so “it depends” would be the easy answer. But if you were to comb through your accident data, you might be surprised at the number of accidents that happen when drivers are lost. Getting them to admit to being lost is a different story.

John Elliott, the president and CEO of Load One Transport, says his company found that 40 percent of accidents were happening when drivers were lost, such as searching for a customer building. These accidents are usually on the lower end of the cost spectrum in the $1,000 to $3,000 range: hitting cars in parking lots, mailboxes, building corners, or getting stuck in a ditch.

Load One, based in Taylor, Mich., recently installed in-cab navigation software in its fleet of company drivers and owner operators. The software is integrated with its dispatch system and onboard computing platform to automate the route plan and address data entry for drivers.

The biggest return on investment for Load One is not the reduction in accidents but in driver turnover. That “will save you more than anything else,” he says.

“Drivers looked at that as we care about them. It’s one more competitive thing to retain drivers. They learn to like it really fast,” he says. “Drivers just want their jobs to be easier. When a guy gets in, he knows how to get somewhere. He’s not stressed.”

For Load One, other benefits of using in-cab navigation also include improved on-time delivery and route compliance. In the near future, Elliott says he plans to add real-time traffic and weather to alleviate even more stress from a driver’s environment.