New technologies, initiatives, and government regulations surrounding road safety often bring roadblocks to adoption that must be worked through before the industry as a whole can see the dramatic benefits they bring to commercial fleet management. To elaborate on these important topics, Lytx® recently conducted an on-demand Q&A webinar with Umberto de Pretto, Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union (IRU), to discuss the ways in which the IRU is helping the industry move towards greater safety, advocating for better treatment of drivers, creating new understanding for increasing regulatory environments, and providing tactics for the industry wide adoption of technologies that will help the industry grow in coming years. Aligning with Lytx’s own mission and goals to improve road safety and driver behaviour through the use of connected technology.
Mr. de Pretto began by acknowledging that the industry is seeing a convergence in many areas. “Improvements in tracking and safety are creating more efficiency in commercial fleets but there are other areas that must also catch up to the increase in technological advancements. For example, we must step back and realise that our biggest challenge right now is a lack of new drivers to fill the spaces of current drivers who are retiring.”
“Younger, qualified drivers are not coming into the profession for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the mandated training periods and age requirements can mean it takes years before a young person can actually take to the road. In addition, there are perceived pitfalls that go with this type of career, including the very basic needs of drivers. Things like a shortage of safe and secure parking areas for mandatory rest times, longer wait times at borders, and a lack of access to healthy food, showers and toilets along routes. In addition, the industry hasn’t addressed diversity issues to help bring in more women and minorities.”
One area that has been highlighted with the COVID-19 pandemic is the new appreciation for drivers. Per Umberto, “The perception of commercial drivers with the public has been greatly heightened as a result of the recent pandemic. We must continue to promote their important role in our daily lives to make the profession more appealing to a younger audience of potential recruits.”
Infrastructure that transcends roads and bridges
The perception that infrastructure only applies to roads and bridges must be changed. Per Mr. de Pretto, “Our workforce is a big part of infrastructure. If we are to build a safe, secure, and burgeoning industry, we must also look at the human element. Sure, road safety is tantamount, but human training and basic accommodations must now be part of an infrastructure plan.”
As far as safety is concerned, Mr. de Pretto points to statistics that show that the industry is already making great strides. “For example, current statistics tell us that 75% of accidents that occur between a commercial vehicle and another vehicle are caused by the driver of the other car.”
“To continue to make strides, we must invest in the infrastructure of human beings in order to bring the industry into the next generation of technologies.”
What does the future hold?
The IRU is actively working on a group of initiatives that will help the entire industry. Mr. de Pretto points to the following areas of focus for the IRU.
- Actively working on expanding digitalisation
- A goal of helping transport operators better understand new datasets and privacy rights
- Helping companies develop artificial intelligence and blockchain tech
- Preparing the industry for autonomous vehicles within 5 to 10 years
- Educating the commercial fleet community on the wide range of technologies available
To learn more about Lytx and the ways we are helping move the commercial fleet business into the technologies of tomorrow, contact us or reach us at +44 (0) 1908 880 733 / email@example.com.
Watch the webinar!