Safe driving boosts economy, according to new research

By: Greg Worrall

New research by GreenRoad Technologies is set to answer the question on whether safe drivers are also economical drivers. The paper,

New research by GreenRoad Technologies is set to answer the question on whether safe drivers are also economical drivers.

The paper, "Is Safe Driving More Economical?" evaluates the correlation between on-road driving behaviour and fuel consumption.

With a significant correlation found between higher risk driving behaviour and fuel consumption, it demonstrates that there is a potential for reducing fuel consumption by influencing the behaviour of drivers.

Driving behaviour was measured using the GreenRoad Safety Center, an in-vehicle data recorder (IVDR) system using acceleration and speed measurement to extract an overall measure of safe driving.

The study compared the measure of driving behaviour taken by GreenRoad to fuel consumption variables.

GreenRoad, distributed in Australia by FleetSafe Pty Ltd, provides real-time feedback to drivers to increase safe driving and reduce the risk of having a collision.

David Quayle, Managing Director of FleetSafe is hopeful the results will impact driver behaviour and safety on Australian roads.

"The figures in this study are startling. They show us that by simply being a safer driver, we can not only reduce on-road injuries, we can go some way in offsetting rising fuel costs and do our own part for the environment," Quayle says.

The results of the study show safe drivers benefit from improved fuel consumption by between 7 percent and 11 percent.

On average, safe drivers gain one additional kilometer per litre versus higher risk drivers, while higher risk drivers visit fuel stations every 3 days on average compared to 5.1 days on average for safe drivers.

Similarly, higher risk drivers have shorter driving hours between fuel station visits with high risk drivers averaging 7.4 driving hours between fuel station visits, whereas safe drivers average 8.8 hours.

Data analyses were conducted using linear regression analysis and a two-step cluster analysis. In the first group, 55 individual driver risk scores were analysed and compared against their fuel consumption over an average period of 3.4 months, taking into account variables such as driving time, vehicle type and journey routes.

In the second group, a two-step cluster analysis was conducted to reveal natural groupings (or clusters) within a data set that would otherwise not be apparent. Data for this analysis was collected from 32 drivers totaling 1194 visits to fuel stations.

The paper supports previous technical studies which have demonstrated that different driving styles account for about a 10 percent difference in fuel consumption between drivers.

Quayle says the study should encourage drivers to reflect on their own style of driving.

"Most of us take unnecessary risks at some point. Pointing out that safe driving means you will travel further on the same amount of fuel, might encourage some to slow down and drive more attentively.

"While much research is being conducted into alternative fuel sources, we are still many years away from implementing practical measures that will reduce fuel consumption and costs. Safe driving is an effective way that we can contribute immediately, whether we are professional drivers or just on our way to the local shops. It is something we can all do today."

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