In-Cab Speed Warnings: Guide for Fleet Safety Managers

January 21, 2021

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Key Takeaways

Speeding (driving faster than the posted speed limit) is a leading cause of accidents among commercial drivers. In this guide for fleet managers, learn about in-cab speed warnings—including how they work, their benefits, and why fleets are increasingly adopting this new safety technology.

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Why should speeding be a top priority for fleet safety managers?

Speeding is proven to be a high-risk behavior—especially for commercial (CDL) drivers who may be operating heavy duty vehicles, carrying hazardous waste, or transporting passengers. Coaching CDL drivers on the risks of excessive speed is very important for preventing accidents, reducing costs, and protecting your fleet.

Here are three reasons why reducing speeding should be a top priority for fleet safety managers:

  1. Speeding increases the likelihood of an accident: Perhaps the most severe consequence of driving faster than the posted speed limit is the increased likelihood of an accident, injury, or fatality. A study presented at the University of California, Berkeley found that for every 1% increase in speed, the probability of an accident increases by 2%, the probability of serious injury increases by 3%, and the probability of a fatality increases by about 4%. Additionally, the World Health Organization estimates that in high-income countries like the United States, speeding contributes to 30% of deaths on the road.

  2. Speeding is a leading indicator of other unsafe driving behaviors: Many studies have shown that speeding is correlated with other risky driving behaviors, like distracted driving and tailgating. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that motorists who speed have higher rates of other driving errors.

  3. Speeding decreases fuel efficiency and drives up costs: Not only does speeding increase the likelihood of an accident—it also impacts your business’ bottom line. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 MPH, and drivers who speed have a highway MPG that is 2.7% lower than other drivers.

All of the above data points are excellent reasons to make speeding a focus of your fleet safety program. Furthermore, Samsara data shows that speeding has increased among CDL drivers recently. Although there was a decline in some unsafe driving behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, speeding has experienced the opposite effect. With less congested roads due to COVID-19 lockdowns, CDL drivers might have been tempted to drive speeds that they otherwise would not be able to reach on heavily trafficked roads. Heavy and severe speeding (11 MPH or more over the speed limit) rose 20% above the pre-COVID-19 baseline in April, and we’ve seen this trend persist throughout 2020. This is an indicator that drivers have a higher probability of getting into an accident, and this risky behavior needs to be prevented.

What are in-cab speed warnings?

An in-cab speed warning is an alert that sounds when a vehicle’s speed is above the posted speed limit or a predetermined maximum speed. Essentially, in-cab speed warnings (or in-cab speeding alerts) let the driver know when they are speeding, so that they can reduce their driving speed to an appropriate level.

In-cab speed warnings are a popular and effective safety tool for commercial fleets, especially since they can be introduced as part of an aftermarket video telematics solution. This makes it possible to provide in-cab speed warnings to CDL drivers without investing in new fleet vehicles that have a built-in speed warning system.

How do in-cab speed warnings work?

Some new commercial and non-commercial vehicles have built-in speed warning systems. However, most commercial fleets rely on an aftermarket video telematics solution to provide in-cab speed warnings. These solutions are incredibly effective. In fact, a recent Frost & Sullivan report found that video telematics solutions reduce speeding by 65%.

For example, maximum speed alerts allow fleet managers to specify a high speed drivers should never exceed (like 70 MPH, for example). If a driver ever exceeds this set speed, they are alerted to reduce their driving spee via a voice alert. 

What are the benefits of in-cab speed warnings for fleets?

In-cab speed warnings are an extremely effective way to reduce speeding and prevent accidents. Here are just a few of the benefits of in-cab speed warnings for fleets:

  • Correct speeding in real time: In-cab speed warnings make it possible to alert drivers to potentially dangerous behavior in real time—and reduce driving speed—without needing to be in the cab with the driver.

  • Coach drivers effectively at scale: If you have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of drivers, personalized coaching can be a challenge. In-cab speed warnings allow you to simultaneously coach all of your drivers based on their own driving behavior in real time, which is much more effective than standard safety training videos with actors. Furthermore, real-time behavior change leads to scalable coaching, since safety managers are not spending time coaching after an event.

  • Reduce accident risk and associated costs: For every 1% increase in speed, the probability of an accident increases by 2%. By reducing speeding, you can reduce accident risk across your fleet, decreasing the likelihood of expensive repairs, payouts, legal settlements, or additional insurance costs.

  • Save money on fuel: Although increased safety is the main benefit of in-cab speed warnings, they can also deliver significant cost savings. Drivers who speed have a highway MPG that is 2.7% lower than other drivers. By reducing speeding with in-cab speed warnings, you can reduce fuel costs.

How else can fleet managers reduce speeding and improve driver safety?

A recent Frost & Sullivan report found that safety was the number one priority for 36% of fleet managers, with reducing driver distraction a top concern. Furthermore, they found that accidents involving fatalities cost fleets $10.8 million on average. 

In-cab speed warnings are an incredibly effective way to reduce speeding and minimize accident risk across your fleet. However, in-cab speed warnings are most effective as part of a holistic fleet safety program. That’s why it’s so important to choose a video telematics partner like Samsara that can help you address other areas of driver safety, too—including harsh braking and acceleration, distracted driving, tailgating, and more. A multi-function safety solution like Samsara can deliver significant ROI in terms of lower CSA scores, fewer accidents, and reduced costs.

Take Dohrn Transfer Company, for example. They achieved a 23% reduction in hours over the speed limit due to real-time monitoring and proactive coaching with Samsara. 

"Since we started working with Samsara, we have a clearer, more holistic view of safety," said Dohrn’s COO Robert Howard. "We have more data. We’re able to give feedback to our drivers faster and more accurately. We use that information to make better decisions and to show how much safety is improving at Dohrn."

Make safety a competitive advantage with Samsara

By integrating AI Dash Cams, telematics, and cloud-based software, Samsara’s cutting-edge safety solution helps fleets make measurable safety improvements and provides ROI in the moments that matter.

Samsara offers preventative in-cab alerts to coach and adjust driver behavior in real time. Plus, customizable reports make it possible to effectively coach against speeding, reduce accidents, and boost fuel efficiency.

To learn more about how Samsara can help your business make safety a competitive advantage, read about how we can partner with you for the long-term, or reach out for a free trial today.

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