One of the objectives behind our Windshieldink license plate messaging app is to help improve road safety for everyone. In light of a series of commercial vehicle collisions in 2017 resulting in fatalities, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is taking steps towards achieving a similar objective. The OTA published a five-point action plan to define what needs to be done. You can download (PDF) and read their plan “Improving the Future of Truck Safety”.
Some might say “who cares”, we don’t work in the trucking industry. We should all care. We share the roads with trucks and generally we are in the smaller vehicle if a collision occurs. It’s a good idea to understand what the OTA are trying to try to achieve.
OTA Five Point Action Plan
The OTA plan have some interesting recommendations for their industry, albeit missing one recommendation that we at Windshieldink feel is important (more on that later). Some of their recommendations are obvious and some are new ideas. One hopes that the Ontario based trucking companies are not the only ones discussing the OTA plan. The ideas put forth are relevant for all jurisdictions.
For ease, we’ve listed their five main action items. The document link above details all the action items.
- Enforcement: enforce existing laws and mandatory drug testing.
- Enhanced Vehicle Standards: apply driver assist technologies industry wide.
- Infrastructure Improvement: reduce road congestion and reduce frustrations.
- Training: improve operator training and the public’s knowledge on road sharing.
- Education: stop distracted driving, add new safety policies, use best practices.
Ontario itself has approximately 200,000 truck drivers. The intention of the OTA five point plan is to help make a difference on Ontario’s roads. We wish them the utmost success.
So what’s missing from the OTA plan?
Taking advantage of the eyes and ears of the public is missing from the plan. We call it “crowdsourcing”.
The general public can play a key role in ensuring road safety and commercial driver safety. The need for a fleet operation to make it easier to receive public feedback on driver incidents is not mentioned in the OTA plan.
Unfortunately, the travelling public experience firsthand how drivers perform safely or unsafely. The public should be viewed as a valuable safety reporting channel for fleet operators that so choose to hear from them.
Is public feedback on driver safety important? It should be.
Ask Crime Stoppers if the public informing them of crime is important. Does the SPCA want to hear from people about pets in hot cars? Yes. Is customer feedback reviews on their products useful to Amazon. Very likely. These organizations, and many others like them take advantage of public feedback in their daily businesses. In order to do this they provide various communication options to reach out to the public (via a website, phone number, email, Twitter, comment forms, etc.).
We’ve all seen the 1-800 How’s My Driving stickers on the back of some commercial vehicles. They are great but we don’t see enough of them. This can be further improved with the use of today’s modern messaging technology.
How can Windshieldink help?
The Windshieldink platform provides a cost effective channel for acquiring public feedback. Fleeter was developed with the goal of harmonizing fleet safety with public safety while demonstrating a company’s commitment to road sharing.
Unlike a phone based How’s My Driving program, Fleeter targets individual license plates whereby a corporate email address is linked to each one of the license plates in a fleet.
Using the Windshieldink app, anyone can quickly send a message to the license plate number of a vehicle. The message is received by the email address assigned to that individual license plate. The app allows a person to include a GPS location in their message. The fleet operator knows the exact vehicle and the time and place it was reported. It could be something as simple as a truck parked in a bike lane. Learn more about Fleeter here.
Road safety is a concern for everyone.
Technology and telemetry are great steps forward and ever evolving. But let’s take a step back for a moment and not forget about how invaluable public feedback can also be.
Read more about this topic in a previous written article; Crowdsourcing Fleet Safety.
We’re interested in hearing from you. Send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.