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How can fleets use IoT devices to comply with the FTA's Safety Management Initiatives?



The FTA is shifting from a traditional compliance-based approach to a principled and proactive approach to safety. Set to take effect in July of 2020, public fleets who receive grant funding will be required to show steps taken to meet the FTA’s new safety requirements.


The traditional approach was reactive in nature, and retroactively sought blame and punitive damages from non-compliant participants after an incident. Now, they’re attempting to shift the culture of public transportation towards a more collaborative approach that is proactive in nature.


This is good.


So, what does this mean? Instead of waiting for an accident to happen and finding someone to blame, fleet operators will be required to take a systematic approach to identifying hazards, risks, and exposures to external problems. Then they will need to report their inventory of risks up the food chain to the FTA.


You might ask, are fleet operators equipped to handle this type of inventory? Some are, and frankly, some aren’t. But that shouldn’t stop the FTA from trying to take positive steps in a safer direction. So, how should fleets proceed?


This is where real-time sensors come in. Fleets can outsource a lot of these capabilities to third parties that specialize in capturing data, then repackaging it to fit each fleet’s needs. For instance, Samsara, a GPS hardware and software manufacturer, promotes safe driving with dual-facing dash cams that capture footage and record incidents.


They also have IoT devices that monitor vehicle health and error predictions which allow operators to make proactive decisions about vehicle maintenance. This would afford operators to be proactive about potential vehicle hazards. Sounds great. This is a positive step toward accruing data from the vehicle side – but what about the human side?


Mobile apps have the power of sending and receiving real-time notifications to fleets and authorities. In the case of an incident, passengers can notify pre-planned emergency personnel that could make a difference in the case of an emergency. Furthermore, and in the interest of being proactive, passengers now have the ability to notify authorities before an incident.


The fact is that there are sometimes 50 or more passengers for every one driver on a bus. They are the eyes and ears on the road. So, let’s build mobile features that empower passengers to do everything they can to decrease the probability of an accident.


Like the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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