For a business that deploys fleet vehicles, drivers are instrumental in keeping it up and running. In light of this fact, how they behave behind the wheel determines how far your fleet business can go. In other words, to improve fleet driver behavior means to have higher chances for business success.
As a fleet owner or a fleet manager, it’s important to protect your fleet – namely, your drivers and vehicles. In order to do this, you need to know exactly which behaviors to address; this way, you can adjust your coaching accordingly, and be effective in instilling a safe driving mindset among your employees.
So, in this post, we’ll cover why it’s vital to establish safe driving habits among your fleet drivers; plus, we’ll list off a few practical ways you can implement in your management, to do just that.
Why is it vital to improve fleet driver behavior?
Your drivers are the most valuable assets of your fleet business. How they behave on the road is a direct reflection of your business culture; and, if you think about it, it says a lot about you, as a manager, too. Indisputably, if you wish to streamline your operations — and take your business a step further — you have to improve fleet driver behavior first. And, how do you do that? Through constant driving behavior monitoring and training, of course.
The most critical aspect of your training will be to develop a defensive driving mentality. By doing so, not only will you find peace of mind, knowing that your fleet business is accident-free and safe; you will also reduce your operational costs significantly. Especially, considering that “the average crash costs an employer $16,500”; to say nothing of the driver’s on-the-job injury costs that soar up to $74,000 — per accident!
It goes without saying, fleet safety is also a matter of social responsibility. And, although instructing your crew to drive safely is highly recommended, it’s not enough to improve fleet driver behavior. Aside from instructions, you should also consider instilling good driving habits that can be measured up to notable results. Then, reward good driving habits.
However, safe driving behaviors cannot be cultivated overnight; it’s a gradual process that calls for diligence and continuous discipline. That is to say, changing your fleet drivers’ behavior is a long, demanding process; for which, you have to be mentally prepared.
To that end, a vehicle management system, which is based on Telematics technology, can make all the difference. Such a tool offers real-time insights that can help you develop a driver safety training plan. Eventually, your employees’ driving habits will be improved.
7 ways to improve fleet driver behavior with the help of vehicle management software
The first step to improve fleet driver behavior is to translate the data collected from vehicle management software, into actions. For instance, you can start by monitoring acceleration, braking, routing, and speed; thereafter, based on your findings, you can form a safety-measures strategy and create customized training programs.
To get you started, we’ve listed a few practical ways to improve fleet driver behavior with the help of IoT and Telematics.
1. Create a driver safety policy
Make the most of the insights offered by fleet Telematics to create a safety policy revolving around your fleet drivers. Bring yourself to driver-level; keep it simple, but as specific as possible. For example, you may include:
- Trip logs and history records — to make them aware of driving patterns.
- How to conduct a vehicle care routine — and why it is important to never omit it.
- Instances when a driver gets a fine, demerit points, license suspension etc.
- What constitutes a dangerous driving behavior (DUI, texting or talking on the phone, distracted driving, speeding, etc.).
- A report on the consequences of crashes.
Then, make sure to communicate this policy to your drivers, and review it with them, regularly.
2. Make fleet maintenance a priority
As you know, when your fleet vehicles are well-maintained, they are more reliable and efficient. That’s why maintenance is such a critical part of your company’s health. Keeping your vehicles well-maintained, not only reduces downtime and breakdowns but may also prevent road accidents.
Luckily, using a vehicle management platform, you can monitor your fleet vehicles’ status at any given time; plus, you’ll receive real-time alerts if something is malfunctioning. Subsequently, you can notify your driver to stop and fix the issue, before it results in a breakdown — or something worse.
3. Utilize real-time alerts and notifications
Real-time alerts are probably the most efficient way to act proactively and correct any dangerous driving behavior as they happen. To be more specific, you will instantly know if one of your drivers is:
- Accelerating abruptly
- Exceeding the speed limit
These alerts may save lives – if not (save) your business from incalculable costs and a bad reputation.
4. Analyze your fleet vehicles’ travel logs
Analyzing your fleet vehicle trip logs is another efficient way to improve fleet driver behavior. Travel logs offer an overview of driving activity; over time, you will begin to see specific driving patterns and habits, which you can address in your training program.
5. Identify driving patterns
Through your vehicle management platform, you can set metrics to determine what driving behavior is considered hazardous. Based on this data you can generate driver scorecards that will help improve fleet driver behavior and increase operational efficiency.
To elaborate, you can rate your drivers and compare their data to identify who scores high and who low; then, you can use these metrics to raise awareness and empower low-scoring drivers to adopt a safe driving style.
6. Support, acknowledge, motivate and reward
Sometimes, you may hit a hurdle in your effort to improve fleet driver behavior. On one hand, there may be some drivers who don’t place safety above deadlines; for instance, they may feel pressure to get to a destination in time, so they won’t hesitate to ‘speed things up’. On the other hand, there may be others who get the importance of a safety policy; yet, for some reason, they struggle to be consistent in its implementation.
Whatever the case, it can be disappointing for you as a manager. However, know that this is only natural, you will strike a balance eventually; besides, as we mentioned earlier in this post, behaviors don’t change overnight. Be patient in providing support to drivers who have trouble implementing the safety policy; besides, fleet manager soft skills don’t develop overnight, either.
Furthermore, acknowledge drivers who make the effort to improve, celebrate them, and use their example to motivate the rest. Make a practice of rewarding safe driving behavior by incorporating incentives within the driver safety policy; it will surely motivate your fleet drivers to drive more consciously and efficiently.
Keep in mind, the reward doesn’t have to be something extravagant; a few examples of simple — but very enticing — rewards could be: bonuses, gift cards or extra vacation time.
7. Invest in continual education
Another way to put fleet Telematics to good use is through continuous education. Use Telematics data to direct your coaching and create a series of customized workshops. Through ongoing education, your fleet crew will become more aware of their poor driving habits and start correcting them.
Mind you, for driver education to be effective, it must be ingrained in the culture of your fleet company; it shouldn’t be something that you do, say, once a year.
Veturilo: Fleet management, made easy
A vehicle management platform, like Veturilo, makes it easier to monitor your drivers while they’re on the go. Making the most of the data and insights it offers, you can take immediate action to improve fleet driver behavior.
With Veturilo, not only will you protect your employees and company; you will also be able to create a targeted training plan — focused on the behaviors that must be fixed. Check out what Veturilo can do for you, and start streamlining your fleet business!