Risk Management

Speeding limiters: Do they actually stop speeding?

What would you do if you were the owner or manager of a fleet and you’re concerned that your drivers are speeding?

What would you do if you were the owner or manager of a fleet and you’re concerned that your drivers are speeding? For many, a simple solution is to install speed limiters. It makes perfect sense. After all, if the vehicle in the fleet can’t exceed the speed limit, there shouldn’t be any speeding. Right?

Well, as it turns out, that may not always be the case. To explain why let’s take a look at one of our customers.

Like many fleets, this fleet recently decided to switch to Humn insurance to get more control over their risk. Benchmarking and early analysis indicated that speeding was their main risk factor by a significant margin, and it was affecting their fleet Safety Score. The Fleet Manager was surprised to learn that this was the case – ‘But all our vans are fitted with speed limiters!’, they said. So why was speeding such an issue?

The speed limiters installed in this fleet were limited to 70mph, preventing drivers from speeding on motorways, but not on other roads.

Sure enough, further analysis of our data confirmed that the speeding events across this fleet were in built-up areas, and urban and rural roads. The fleet manager was obviously unaware and believed that speeding was being managed. In fact, drivers were trying to make up time by speeding on other road types where the limiter was not effective.

Dr Neale Kinnear, Lead Behavioural Scientist at Humn, explains:

This is a classic case of ‘behavioural adaptation’ – where humans adapt to their environment, in this case, a new safety intervention. Even where the intervention is well-intentioned, without evaluation, you can never discount having an unintended negative effect. With the data and insight we can now provide, it is likely that the installation of speed limiters in this fleet increased risk by shifting speeding behaviour to higher-risk environments such as rural roads and urban environments with vulnerable road users. Motorways account for around 6% of fatalities on Britain’s roads with rural roads accounting for around 60%.

An obvious technological solution to this is Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), but a lower-tech solution is to manage the drivers’ motivation to speed when driving for work. For example, the fleet can manage the culture around working to delivery deadlines, or whether pay and incentives are linked to timely deliveries rather than safe deliveries and good driving behaviour. Using real-time data, speed in this fleet can be monitored and interventions to reduce risk can be properly evaluated.

An important lesson to learn from this study is that technology alone won’t make our roads safe. How we use it, and how fleets and drivers engage with it, are just as important as the capabilities technology provides. As speeding is one of the ‘Fatal 5’ driving behaviours, we’ll be working closely with the customer to proactively manage this risk and improve the wellbeing of their drivers and other road users.

Want to understand where risk is coming from in your fleet, and what you can do to reduce it? Drop us an email at hello@humn.ai and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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