Driver safety is a top priority for fleet owners and fleet managers; also, a top challenge to overcome on the road to business success. How can one tackle this issue to safeguard their drivers and company against the potentially calamitous consequences of poor driving behavior? Well, “driver scorecards” is the right answer; at least, for this post. At any rate, driver scorecards are an effective tool that should be included in every fleet company’s safe driving policy.
Accident-related costs you should know about
When it comes to accidents, according to the OSHA, employers are burdened with two types of costs: direct and indirect. The former costs, as the word implies, consist of expenses that occur directly from the crash; whereas the latter are collateral costs and difficult to assess at first glance. To clear things out, let’s see what direct and indirect costs include, separately.
Direct costs derive mainly from:
- Vehicle towing
- Vehicle repairs and replacements
- Tickets & Fines
- Other legal expenses
- Excess Limits Premium
- Employee compensation claims
- Medical costs
Indirect costs usually have to do with:
- Vehicle Downtime
- Diminished vehicle value
- Repairs on the damaged vehicle/property/equipment of the afflicted party
- Compensating drivers who will have to work overtime
- Problems rescheduling shifts (especially if you operate with minimum manpower)
- Hiring and training new drivers
- Issues arising from the loss of morale among your employees – and other psychological, mental or emotional issues (absenteeism, PTSD, etc.)
- Loss of productivity (and that goes for both your fleet crew and you)
- Accident investigations
- Corrective measures
- Potential litigation costs
- Various administrative expenses
- Customer dissatisfaction
- Negative effects on business image and reputation
Sizing up costs and the importance of building a culture of safety
It’s important to note that indirect costs may easily get out of hand; and eventually, weigh down your business a lot more than direct costs. That is to say, indirect costs are unpredictable and may vary, depending on the case. That’s why it is essential to find practical ways to monitor driver behavior and the means to implement safety measures.
The idea is, of course, to begin with cultivating an internal culture of responsibility and safety. Only when a healthy foundation is established, will vehicle management software, the IoT and Telematics tools work magic for your business.
This is where driver scorecards come in handy, as a necessary feature within a holistic, well-structured vehicle management system. At first, driver scorecards may seem somewhat of an unexplored territory, but setting them up is easier than you realize.
It’s time to tool up your fleet business with driver scorecards
Driver Scorecards are a performance calculation system, based on preset – or configured – driving metrics. These KPIs are measured through a vehicle management or Telematics platform, using data provided by ELD and OBD II devices. As a result, you will have all the actionable data you need (to evaluate your crew), at your fingertips.
For instance, you can use driver scorecards to measure dangerous driving behaviors and take action to improve them. By reviewing the data, you will be able to quantify each employee, as a driver; which, in turn, will help you develop a safety training program that highlights the areas that need improvement. To be more specific, driver scorecards record and report driving behaviors like:
- Unjustified mileage (or even after-hours mileage) and fuel consumption
- Hard braking
- Fast acceleration
- Sharp turns
- Exceeding speed limit
- Excessive idling
- Non-compliance with the seat belt use requirement
All the above are automatically reported as “violations” of sorts, when the predefined threshold is crossed. Then the system ranks your drivers, by calculating a factored safety score sum, for each one individually. By the same token, it may compare a driver’s habits with those of other drivers from the crew.
How can driver scorecards help your fleet company?
Driver scorecards are a powerful tool that offers valuable information, which you can turn into driver safety training programs. Putting driver scorecards to good use, you improve driver safety and, at the same time, you reduce costs. As a result, productivity and compliance are increased, and your vehicles are kept in good condition.
Besides, as we’ve mentioned, using scorecard data as a training tool, helps save on fuel, repairs and replacement costs. Also, you can avoid employee injury compensation and additional medical expenses. As to insurance premiums, it’s good to keep in mind that vehicle insurers resort to Telematics data to offer discounts and incentive programs related to driver safety.
Similarly, driver scorecards are a great preventative measure, when incorporated in your driver coaching plan. Through scorecard reports you can identify and minimize unsafe driving behavior; hence, reduce the chances of crashes happening in the future.
What’s more, you can use this tool to offer feedback to your drivers; meaning, you can highlight and explain the dangers – and the aftermath – of aggressive or distracted driving to them. With your guidance, they can work towards eliminating unsafe – not to mention, expensive – driving patterns; while, of course, cultivating a safe and economical driving style.
In short, driver scorecards can help you:
- Identify and reward safe drivers
- Identify dangerous drivers and coach them accordingly
- Increase driver safety
- Reduce accidents
- Enhance your company’s safety policy
- Curb employee compensation costs
- Improve insurance rates and benefit from discounts
- Minimize vehicle downtime and repairs
- Become aware of unauthorized vehicle usage
Truth be told, driver scorecards provide a simple, effective way to look into the whole spectrum of employee driving behaviors that can affect the viability of your business. At the same time, they present an opportunity for your business to evolve, while making a difference in people’s lives.
To sum up
Driver safety is an integral part of managing a fleet. Hence, it’s important to put emphasis on safety practices that can streamline your operations; and, minimize costs in the long run. Luckily, the direct and indirect costs of unsafe driving behavior can be avoided. Especially if you, as a fleet owner or fleet manager, invest the time and effort to develop a well-structured safety plan and an effective driver coaching program.
Making the most of driver scorecards, you’ll have direct visibility into potentially detrimental driving behaviors. Other than that, you’ll have a practical tool in your hands, for objective measurement and evaluation of your fleet employees.
The flexibility of a driver scorecard lies in the fact that it can potentially be “customized” to meet the needs – and particularities – of any fleet business. By leveraging driver scorecards, you can help protect the wellbeing of your employees, reduce costs, and increase profitability.