An industry expert stated that GPS devices could not factor in external influences which might affect a driver before he begins work. Lack of sleep and personal stress were numbered among such issues.
“We’ve seen drivers close to a fatigue related accident after only 30 minutes on the road,” he said.
“The only way to accurately measure the alertness of a driver during his journey is to monitor him in real time. This cannot be done through GPS, which uses pre-determined calculations to guess fatigue levels.”
Last month, several companies called for GPS tracking to be mandated for Line Haul drivers in order to monitor speed and fatigue. They agreed that compulsory vehicle tracker technology would improve the situation as the major causes of truck accidents are typically speed and fatigue related. The proposal essentially intends to take advantage of new GPS advances and have them implemented on a broader scale as a safety precaution. GPS devices will be capable of emailing messages to notify the vehicle owner, or specific management HUB, of a breach. They will also be capable of alerting drivers when they are speeding as well as counting driving hours to inform drivers when they are reaching a limit.
The proposal has gained the support of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC). The ALC wants the scheme phased in, to give trucking operators sufficient opportunity to implement the technology. The next step may be for governments to consider tax breaks as an incentive for companies which have made the switch to electronic vehicle tracker and report systems. Time will tell, but there is already pressure from some of the big names in the industry for such a policy to be implemented.
The National Transport Commission in Australia is currently examining the possibility of the development of a national telematics strategy to encourage more operators to use monitoring devices. According to SmartMotorist.com driver fatigue may be a factor in as much as 40 percent of truck accidents which greatly supports the push for electronic fleet management.