Fleet Risk Management: How to Keep Your Fleet Safe During COVID-19

delivery data audit Distribution companies everywhere are thinking more than ever about fleet risk management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these safety measures focus on keeping the working conditions as sanitary as possible—and rightfully so. But don’t overlook one of the biggest threats that today’s drivers face: drowsy driving. Sure, drowsy driving has always been an issue for drivers in the distribution industry. But with truckers playing an increasingly important part in our economy, and with some drivers unavailable due to illness, those who are still driving are carrying more of the load than ever. Let’s take a look at the threats that this situation poses, and how best to overcome them.

How Drowsy Driving Affects Fleet Risk Management

The effects of drowsy driving are real. Consider these sobering facts:
  • One in 4 U.S. adults say they know someone who was in a collision after falling asleep at the wheel.1
  • One in 5 fatal collisions may involve a drowsy driver.2
  • Drowsy driving claimed 795 lives in 2017.3
There’s no doubt that driving in a sleep-deprived state is contributing to accidents. In fact, one group claims that losing two hours of sleep per night has the same effect as drinking three beers—and no distribution company would ever advise its drivers to hit the road in that condition.

Five Ways to Enhance Fleet Risk Management and Keep Drivers Safe

You understand what’s at risk here. So let’s talk about fleet risk management solutions. In conjunction with our partners at Lytx, we’re offering five common-sense ways for your truckers to avoid drowsy driving:
  1. Get enough sleep. The definition of “enough” will vary from one driver to the next. We’ve all heard of high-performing athletes who like to sleep 10 to 12 hours the night before a big game. We’ve also heard of geniuses who accomplished amazing things on only three to four hours of sleep per night. Seven to eight hours seems to work for most people—but each driver should strive to get an amount of sleep that leaves him or her cheerful and alert for the day’s driving.
  2. Take a nap. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it’s best for commercial drivers to take a 10- to 45-minute nap if they feel drowsy. Just be sure your drivers also allow 15 minutes to wake up fully afterwards, so they don’t hit the road feeling groggy. Encourage all your long-day or long-haul drivers to take naps even before they’re feeling tired.
  3. Avoid drowsiness-inducing medications. Your drivers are probably doing everything they can to stay on the road. They’re working through soreness, stiffness, colds, and allergies. That often means popping a couple of pills before a run. Just be sure those pills don’t cause drowsiness. Encourage your drivers to read labels carefully and check with their doctors for alternatives that won’t make them sleepy.
  4. Practice good sleep hygiene. It’s not enough to allow enough time for sleep each night. Your drivers should also try to turn in at the same time each night, keep their sleep area quiet and dark, minimize their afternoon caffeine consumption, fit some exercise into their daily routine, and avoid big meals right before bedtime.
  5. Structure your routes carefully. Your drivers can follow all of the tips above, but it won’t make much difference if you don’t structure your routes in such a way that they can easily get at least eight hours of rest in between runs. Take care to schedule them in ways that help prevent drowsy driving.

Gridline and Lytx Are Here to Help

Your fleet is facing unique challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Know that Gridline and Lytx are here to help you with fleet risk management. We’ll continue to provide blog articles and other information that help you run a safe, efficient fleet.

1 “Sleep in America Poll,” National Sleep Foundation, 2005.

2 “Traffic Safety Facts: 2017 Fatal Motor Crashes Overview,” National Highway Safety Administration, October 2018.

3 “Dangers of Drowsy Driving,” National Safety Council, 2017.