Despite 77 percent of fleets using telematics, most are not taking full advantage of the benefits offered by these systems. Since the technology is embedded in the vehicle, the system provides fleet managers real-time information which can be used to improve more than just vehicle efficiencies and lower fuel costs. A somewhat known, but not yet fully understood area for this technology, is that it can be used to support companies’ safety initiatives. The telematics devices actually allow fleet managers to analyze drivers’ performances more accurately than ever before.
However, according to a 2018 survey, only 43 percent of fleet companies use telematics systems to measure performance. That means more than half of corporations are missing out on an opportunity to further elevate their fleets’ safety. The insights that this technology provides helps companies to identify high-risk drivers, adopt targeted skill-and-behavioral based training programs that coincide with drivers’ needs, and there’s even an opportunity to use telematics to create a rewards-based program that encourages safe driving habits.
Even though this technology automates processes and measures performances, the benefits that come from using telematics as a safety tool are heavily reliant on the training provided. The system itself cannot address poor skills or behaviors, so ensuring that, you or the telematics company with which you are partnering are expert training providers that deliver proven, high-quality courses, will help achieve your desired results.
In addition, you must communicate to drivers that the intention of tracking driving performances is not to “watch” or “punish” them for poor behaviors, but to determine areas of improvement. Once drivers understand its purpose, you’ll see increased cooperation and will be prepared to take advantage of the following benefits.
Identify and address high-risk drivers:
The data provided through telematics can help identify poor driving habits—especially as it relates to high-risk drivers. It tracks events such as speeding, harsh braking and rapid acceleration which is helping organizations proactively identify and address these issues before a crash occurs. Telematics can also open the door for providing personalized one-on-one coaching sessions.
Personalized safety coaching allows managers to address underlying behavioral deficiencies by guiding at-risk drivers to acknowledge and correct their dangerous habits. How does telematics data fit into that? During the coaching session, the manager can use the information to support the conversation and show the driver that these occurrences have happened on numerous occasions and help him/her self-identify the underlying reasons why.
Administer more specific driver safety training programs:
Telematics can also help your organization take a more proactive approach to fleet safety by identifying areas of training that may need additional reinforcement based on the drivers’ overall performances. For example, you may recognize that speeding is a wide-spread problem. With that information, your training provider should issue targeted lessons focused on the dangers of speeding, what causes it, such as distracted driving and time management problems, and how drivers can be more aware of their speed.
Some telematics providers are helping companies take this concept even further by partnering with e-learning providers to integrate lessons and microlearning into their systems. This allows for automatically assigning specific lessons or videos once a driver reaches a predetermined trigger or point level. This type of automation is allowing fleet and safety managers have greater visibility into the driving environment and also respond in a timely manner. However, be sure the telematics company has embedded e-lessons that are from a reputable training provider. It should include best practices for adult learning such as demonstrating both model behavior and the consequences of dangerous driving habits and offering extensive learner interaction which reinforces knowledge, understanding and retention. Otherwise this approach may be just checking a box and not reinforcing or teaching the desired habits.
Create reward-based results:
The data derived from your telematics systems can even be used to track good driving behaviors to offer rewards. More than 50 percent of fleet-based organizations said rewarding driver performance directly related to reduced safety violations.
In fact, a few organizations have recently gamified its telematics programs to allow drivers to compare themselves and “compete” against others in the fleet. Scores are based on driving habits, which are tracked weekly by the system. Drivers earn points and win prizes by avoiding negative behaviors such as hard braking or speeding and by continually maintaining positive and safe attributes in their driving styles.
By offering this type of incentive, you can use this as a motivational tool to encourage drivers to remain cognizant of their driving habits and practice safe behaviors while operating the vehicle.
There are many ways that telematics data can support fleets’ safety initiatives. Combined with reputable training, telematics can give you the opportunity to improve current safety programs and develop safer drivers.