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Dashcam, Fleet Management, Telematics

What Causes Driver Performance Issues?

May 17, 2023

truck driver in his truck cabin driving down an empty road towards some mountains at dusk

Drivers, especially in commercial trucking fleets, encounter endless challenges that can affect their performance on the road. Along with facing road hazards, bad weather, oncoming traffic, disrupted sleep, and other health issues, they must protect their cargo and meet critical deadlines.

Determining driver performance levels is necessary for your company’s success, but doing so can be tricky. Some drivers worry about fleet monitoring systems and consider them an invasion of privacy.

Yet while these concerns are understandable, an advanced monitoring system will make their jobs easier and improve their experience. It can also correct or account for the most common issues affecting driver performance.

Lack of Experience

The demand for truckers keeps growing amid increased e-commerce and the high turnover rate of major carriers. In fact, approximately 9 out of 10 drivers do not last more than 12 months in those larger operations. In addition, the turnover rate adds to the constant demand for new drivers, reducing the experience level nationwide.

Less experience naturally leads to performance issues, so new truckers have a higher rate of accidents than experienced ones, regardless of age. In other words, an experienced 25-year-old will be safer on the road than a 50-year-old new driver. These figures are not surprising, since seasoned employees in most professions usually deliver a higher performance level. Experience is key to driver and company success.


Tired drivers are dangerous drivers. They are also less effective. This prevalence of driver fatigue has spurred new driving time regulations through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service rules. Of course, these rules are still somewhat controversial, with critics questioning their fairness and effectiveness.

No one disputes the danger of road fatigue, though. Research shows that in 2019 alone, 13% of truck-involved crashes involved sleepy drivers. Lack of sleep caused by irregular schedules, difficult deadlines, and insomnia often causes drivers to react more slowly, have reduced awareness of their surroundings, and drift into other traffic lanes. Approximately 18% of truckers say they have fallen asleep while driving their rigs.

While many fatigued drivers do not have accidents, they can’t give their best while on the job. At the very least, they may be forced to take more and longer breaks. They may also increase their caffeine consumption to stay alert, further interrupting their sleep cycles. In addition, long-term sleep deprivation leads to many health issues. Fatigue in the trucking industry is an ongoing issue that must be addressed in new and creative ways.

Driver Health

A driver’s mental and physical health drastically affects their driving performance. Truckers face several challenges in maintaining peak physical condition, including long, sedentary hours in a truck cab with an increased risk of serious health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, truck stop and fast food meals — a staple of many drivers’ diets — are often high in fat and calories, worsening truckers’ health.

Drivers with health conditions do not perform as well on the road, often needing more breaks and being less able to carry out physical tasks. As a result, they may miss more work days — a real problem during the current trucker shortage.

Truck drivers may also experience mental health challenges due to the nature of the job. Long, lonely stretches on the road, limited family contact, and poor sleeping habits can lead to depression and anxiety, leaving truckers less able to fulfill their duties. More importantly, these ailments can affect their quality of life in the long term.

How a Fleet Monitoring System Helps Enhance Driver Performance

Fleet monitoring systems are good for the company and the truck drivers. Savvy trucking companies use monitoring software to identify and correct issues, not punish their drivers. In addition, gathering in-depth data allows companies to maintain trucks more effectively, improve routing, and enhance the driver experience.

The Zubie Dashcam includes driver performance reporting that lets you monitor your drivers to identify and remediate high-risk behaviors. The purpose is to improve driver performance and ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road. In addition, the Zubie Dashcam can help to shield your driver and company from false claims about accidents and other road incidents with it’s cloud-based event recording and vehicle monitoring.

Zubie telematics provides trip histories, geofence alerts, and a live map, allowing you to see exactly where your trucks are and where they have been. Your drivers can stay safe because you always know their location. With the Dashcam monitoring system protecting your drivers, you can identify problems and streamline your fleet operations.

Final Thoughts

Drivers have a tough job that takes its toll physically and mentally. With the right system, you can identify performance issues and remediate them promptly, allowing your business and your employees to thrive. Happy and healthy truck drivers benefit the entire industry.

Investing in telematics can save you money and creates a more positive environment for your employees. Contact us today to learn more about how Zubie can improve driver performance and company profits.

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