Image Courtesy of Samsara

Image Courtesy of Samsara

In the United States, roughly 16,500 crashes take place every day and traffic fatalities remain stubbornly high. While the U.S. Department of Transportation is projecting a decline in incidents, the agency says "the numbers still constitute a crisis." 

Accidents can be particularly devastating for public agencies and the communities they serve. Injuries, property damage, and lawsuits can put pressure on budgets and, perhaps more critically, hurt public trust. Government agencies need to make their fleets safer, and many are turning to technology that can help address on-the-road safety issues, like speeding and distracted driving. In fact, more than a third of government fleet managers cite advanced technology as a top concern. 

For many municipalities, such as the City of Boynton Beach—a community of 80,000 residents just north of Miami, Florida—modernizing their fleet technology has become a key priority. "We were still using notebooks to record information,” said Stephanie Brown. Now, the City has advanced telematics and dash cams, and uses a platform to connect its data, to coach drivers more effectively and be more prepared for emergencies.   

Every organization is unique, but there are common challenges that many public agencies face as they modernize their fleet technology. Here are three lessons from the City of Boynton Beach that can be useful to other municipalities who are looking to make their fleets—and their communities as a whole—safer.

Get the Right Safety Data to Teams in the Field 

Data can be one of the most powerful pieces of the fleet management puzzle, especially for government fleets. But even after installing technology like telematics, a huge challenge can be figuring out how to get information into the hands of employees who can use it to make improvements on the ground. 

With easy access to data, for example, a manager can access incident information quickly and coach a driver on risky behavior faster. As Brown explained, "We wanted to empower our supervisors to find information without needing to ask for help." Now, with modernized technology, City employees "can look at a dashboard and get what they need much more quickly and easily."

Setting up regular reports makes it easy to share data on topics like driver safety with supervisors, managers, and other key stakeholders in your city government. Or, you can integrate your data with other reporting tools you may already use, like Microsoft Power BI. 

Improve Coaching with Dash Cams

Safety is always top of mind for most municipal fleet managers, but without insights into driver behavior, it's nearly impossible to prevent incidents or address citizen complaints. For today's modern fleets, dash cams are an increasingly important way to understand what's happening on the roads.

For the City of Boynton Beach, dash cams not only helped supervisors see driver behavior, but have also significantly improved coaching. "We coach our drivers on incidents and identify areas for improvement and implement targeted interventions to further enhance safety and efficiency,” said Dave Persad, the City’s Director of Fleet Management and Mobility. “With improved driver behavior and coaching, this ultimately leads to reducing accidents.”

Highlight Exonerations to Get Driver Buy-In

Dash cams are also protecting the City of Boynton Beach’s drivers—and taxpayers—through exonerations. "We've already had several driver exonerations, which is huge for us,” said Persad. “In one instance, a driver of a vehicle rolled back into one of our garbage trucks at a stop light. The driver of the other vehicle called the police and claimed the garbage truck ran into him. The police came, but after the driver saw the video footage, he just drove away. If those cameras weren't there, it would have been a claim against the City."

Cameras can be a controversial topic for fleets, but according to Persad, once drivers saw how dash cams could lead to exonerations, "there was zero pushback.” He said, “It was no longer 'your word against mine'—we could get immediate access to video that would prove they weren't at fault for an incident.” If you’re interested in additional best practices for getting driver buy-in, this webinar is a good place to start.

Improve Emergency Preparedness with Location Data

Improving driver behavior is an important way to enhance safety, but technology can enable public agencies to be safer in a variety of other ways. For example, the City of Boynton Beach is using asset tracking to improve emergency preparedness. “We get a lot of hurricanes in our area, and we have water pumps, standby generators, and specialty response equipment that we need to find quickly in case of an event,” said Persad. "Before, it would take hours to contact our departments to confirm asset location. Now, it takes only a few minutes to locate assets and make logistical preparations in case they're needed."

Learn more about how Samsara can help government agencies at