Pinpointing the location of fleet vehicles, optimizing their performance by staying on top of maintenance, and determining if their routes are the most efficient are all aspects of fleet vehicle management that telematics can help control.
But, of course, successfully managing a fleet isn’t only about managing vehicles. It’s also about managing drivers. And, the good news for fleet managers is that the real-time vehicle data that telematics provides, such as fuel use, wear and tear, braking, idling and speed, can also furnish real-time insight into exactly what drivers are up to when they’re behind the wheel.
Are they speeding? Idling excessively? Hard braking and accelerating? Driving aggressively? Not following approved routes? Wearing their seat belt? Or, are they doing everything “by the book” and operating their vehicle in accordance with fleet policy?
Telematics data provides answers to those questions and many more. And, in doing so, gives fleet managers the capability to track driver compliance with their organization’s safe driving policies and to develop driver coaching strategies accordingly, for a safer, more productive and more fiscally responsible fleet.
To that end, let’s first look at areas where telematics can track driver safety. From there, we’ll look at what’s needed in a driver coaching program to positively modify driver behavior and make a positive impact on your bottom line.
Driver Safety Data 1 .2. 3.
- Identify, Monitor and Track Unsafe Driving Habits: With the ability to monitor drivers in real-time and collect data on factors such as vehicle speed, acceleration rate, idling and hard breaking incidents, telematics can identify risky driver behaviors that contribute to costly accidents and violations, high insurance premiums, excessive wear and tear on vehicles, loss of productivity and greater fuel spend.
With real-time monitoring, drivers get instant feedback when an unsafe event occurs so they can immediately correct unsafe driving behavior. And, just as important, they receive positive reinforcement and feedback through one-on-one coaching for what they’re doing right.
- Reduce Unnecessary Road Time: With route optimization capabilities, telematics allows you to determine the most efficient routes for vehicles and also determine if drivers are following pre-designated and approved routes. The less time drivers spend on the road, the less the chance of an accident and the smaller amount of fuel consumed. Additionally, by driving on approved routes, there is less downtime, improved productivity and greater customer satisfaction by serving customers on schedule.
- Quick Response to Driver Events: Knowing the location of drivers allows you to react quickly to any situation. For example, if a driver does not return to the yard when expected, whether due to an accident or to mechanical failure, you’ll know immediately, and be able to assess the situation to determine if help is needed.
The ability to respond quickly provides:
- Increased safety for your drivers and vehicles
- Prevents an incident from becoming an emergency situation
- Reduces excessive downtime
- Prevents drivers from spending too much time at the pump and not enough time on the road
Driver Coaching 1.2.3
- Establish Benchmarks: Before coaching can begin, internal benchmarks need to be set so that drivers understand and accept the standards they are being held to. Developing benchmarks should include:
- Understanding the data collected from telematics devices
- Defining what’s considered unsafe driving behavior and the frequency of that behavior that will be tolerated
- Assign Roles and Designate Responsibilities: For coaching to be effective, managers need to be involved, and the lessons learned from the telematics data must be reinforced. Managers should have:
- A thorough understanding of the organization’s operations, routes and vehicles
- Access to technology and driver-level data
- Communication with individual drivers on a regular one-on-one basis
- Coach Through Positive Reinforcement: A great coaching program does not just give feedback on what needs to be improved; it should also consistently reinforce good driving habits. It should:
- Include a set schedule for driver coaching sessions
- Encourage safe driving trends with rewards or gamification
- Welcome open discussion on barriers that prevent drivers from achieving safety goals