Trucks: Improving Road Safety in Latin America

Jul 17, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Trucks: Improving Road Safety in Latin America


Successful fleet management in Latin America does not unfold on its own. In fact, managing vehicles is often more challenging in Latin America than in any other region of the globe. From hazardous road conditions to antiquated communication channels, truck drivers in Latin America must contend with a host of obstacles that can derail them. Overcoming these challenges requires an ongoing commitment to road safety by truck drivers and fleet managers alike. Below is a look at some of the top barriers facing a typical truck driver in Latin America and the solution to overcoming those barriers.

What are some of the top barriers facing truck drivers in Latin America?

Before diving into the best way to improve driver safety on the road, it is helpful to understand some of the daily obstacles that truck drivers must contend with when navigating highways and roads in Latin America. Here are some of the top obstacles that can prevent trucks and fleets from arriving at their destinations safely and on time.

1) Poor road conditions

1) Poor road conditions

“Latin America is hobbled by its inadequate infrastructure. More than 60% of the region’s roads are unpaved, compared with 46% in emerging economies in Asia and 17% in Europe…In Lima and Bogotá workers can spend half as much time commuting as they do at the office.” – The Economist

Unpaved roads and highways in poor condition are commonplace throughout Latin America. In fact, the problem is so pronounced that Latin America recently topped the world rankings for the region with the highest number of deaths due to road accidents. While there are campaigns underway to address poor quality highways, they often progress too slowly to make a noticeable impact.

2) Construction

Ongoing construction in Latin America creates a dangerous situation for drivers of trucks and fleet vehicles. The Drive the Americas team states, “It seems that almost every highway in Mexico is under repair…Road construction areas are often lacking signs, safety barrels, cones, or barriers.” Truck drivers must quickly decide whether to endure hours of traffic or attempt to find an alternative route, which may consist of narrow two-lane roads that were not designed for heavy vehicles.

3) Lengthy delays

Between construction hindrances and poor quality roads, it is no surprise that drivers regularly face delays when attempting to deliver goods. It is not uncommon for trucks to be held up for days due to invoicing and tracking problems. And when accidents occur, it can sometimes take an hour or longer for first responders to arrive at the scene. The end result is delayed shipments, frustrated customers, and stalled supply chain activity.

4) Unsafe vehicles

“Road Safety in Latin America is still lagging behind compared to Europe and North America, especially when it comes to vehicle safety, as shown in Latin NCAP’s latest crash test.” –  GlobalFleet

Vehicle standards in Latin America are not nearly as stringent as those in the United States and many European countries. As a result, residents and employees continue to operate service vehicles, buses, and personal cars that are in urgent need of servicing or repair. When coupled with poor road conditions, vehicle breakdowns occur and contribute to traffic delays.

5) Outdated vehicle technology

Advances in technology are responsible for much of the success of the United States logistics industry. However, many businesses and logistics providers in Latin America are unable to afford technology that facilitates vehicle tracking and inspection reporting. As a growing number of businesses in the United States adopt flexible, cloud-based technology, many drivers in Latin America still rely upon paper maps and inspection forms.

6) Cargo Robberies

“Truckers covering Mexico’s vast territory often move in convoys to reduce the risk of robberies, which in 2017 almost doubled to nearly 3,000. Some drive with armed escorts traveling alongside them. Others remove the logos from their trucks.”

Noe Torres, Lizbeth Diaz, Reuters 

As if poor road conditions, unsafe vehicles, and outdated technology were not enough, truck drivers in Latin America must also beware of thieves and robbers who prey upon unprotected drivers who are stalled due to a traffic or construction delays. Failure to exercise caution can leave drivers and their cargo at increased risk of danger.

What is the best way to safely navigate roads in Latin America?

As outlined above, the roadways in Latin America are not always smooth or safe. Having a plan in place to overcome road-related challenges is vital to optimizing your fleet’s safety and efficiency. The best way to safely navigate roads in Latin America is to invest in proven technology that will enable you to easily monitor your fleet at all times from any location.

Location World developed CarSync Fleet as a total solution to help busy fleet management teams supervise their vehicles and drivers in Latin America. CarSync Fleet has helped businesses of all sizes improve their performance and promote driver safety across the globe. CarSyng Fleet provides real-time access to critical information such as driver speed, changes in engine temperature levels, and fuel consumption. Here are just a few of the many qualities that make CarSync Fleet a great solution for business owners and fleet managers:

  • Versatile: CarSync Fleet is designed for use with fleets of vehicles of a wide variety of makes, models, and sizes
  • Scalable: CarSync Fleet is made to accommodate the needs of businesses that are expanding their fleets
  • Convenient: With its cloud-based platform and mobile application, CarSync Fleet is easy for busy managers to use
  • Superb Analytics: CarSync Fleet makes it easy for managers to monitor, analyze, and control fleet performance to optimize results
  • Customizable: CarSync Fleet is easily adaptable to meet the specific needs of industries such as manufacturing, retail, logistics, and mining

We invite you to contact us at Location World to discover how we can help you optimize your fleet’s road safety and performance in Latin America. By investing in CarSync Fleet, you can help reduce driver downtime and enjoy reductions in shipping costs of up to 50 percent. We look forward to becoming your trusted partner for global transportation solutions in Latin America!