The new boom in the oil and gas industry has created tens of thousands of oil field jobs, including jobs for drivers. Those drivers are working long hours and traversing huge distances to get oil and gas to plants, and to transport personnel and equipment. As more drivers spend more time on the roads working oil field jobs in Texas, the possibility of far more accidents looms.

To combat this likelihood, oil and gas companies are using new technology to monitor driver performance and keep drivers safer as they work. Recently, a provider of cloud-based location intelligence software was hired to create a system that would both monitor driver behavior and provide training for drivers. Such software has been used in conjunction with many other companies worldwide, but the focus has often been on vehicle performance, not driver safety. As it is applied to the oil and gas industry, driver performance and safety have needed to also be gauged, according to industry analysts.

The software records when drivers brake hard, accelerate quickly, speed above the posted limits or fail to wear seat belts, giving employers a much clearer picture of driver behavior and the necessary knowledge to improve driver safety and change habits. Driver safety scorecards have been created to grade drivers and the software can even offer immediate feedback to drivers on safety, such as telling him/her when to slow down and sending alerts to managers when behavior is unsafe.

The new software also increases safety by monitoring vehicle condition, reminding companies when maintenance needs to be performed on its fleet. In addition, as employers can see where drivers are headed on oil and gas jobs, and they can warn them about unsafe roads that are not large or stable enough for huge vehicles with heavy loads, for instance. All of the data compiled gives insight to companies about whether they have enough drivers employed and whether the right vehicles are being used for their various needs as they work oil and gas jobs in Texas and other locations.

That’s great news for companies that want their drivers to be healthy, protected and able to work. It’s also, obviously, wonderful news for drivers, who, as they are better trained and receive feedback on their driving habits, will take more safety precautions to protect their own lives and the vehicles that they operate.

Proper usage of lap and shoulder belts reduces the chance of fatal injury by 60% for light truck drivers, and cuts the chance of moderate to severe injury by 65%. Consequently, groups such as the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network (STEPS) are focused on reducing fatalities in the oil and gas industry, including exploration of ways to keep drivers safer and encourage a culture of seat belt wearing.

The STEPS Network urges all oil and gas companies to make seat belts mandatory for all drivers of all vehicles at all times, whether they are working the Eagle Ford Shale area or driving in the famed Permian Basin. This includes when the weather is agreeable and even when just short distances are traveled. Other initiatives have included discussion groups, lectures and pledge cards to transmit the mind-set to drivers that seat belts are not a sign of weakness or living life far from the edge. Rather, they are a lifesaver, pure and simple.