What can fleet operators do to improve driver conduct and road safety?
Peter Millichap, Director of Marketing at Teletrac Navman, discusses how fleet managers can help improve road safety within their fleet.
The role of fleet businesses in improving road safety and improving driver behaviour has, quite rightly, come into increasing focus over the past few years.
Firms are recognising the need to prioritise their driver training to take account of safety-related issues - educating drivers as to their road safety responsibilities and continually honing their skills over the long term.
Technology has been imperative to the progress fleet businesses have made in relation to road safety. Telematics data and cameras fitted to vehicles, in particular, are helping fleet operators make more informed decisions and develop preventative measures to address risky driver conduct where it occurs.
What more needs to be done?
Whilst fleet operators are certainly making improvements – such as overseeing fleet safety standards and ensuring compliance - recent research commissioned by Brake suggests that there is still a way to go.
The Fleet Safety Survey 2016 found that, for instance, only 37.9 per cent of the 239 fleet operators polled had introduced a company-wide policy prohibiting employees from using hands-free mobile phones while at the wheel.
Also, nearly a third of respondents - 28.2 per cent - have no dedicated speed policy in place within their organisation. Medium and large-sized enterprises with over 250 employees accounted for 40.7 per cent of that figure. Some 31.1 per cent provide no training on staying within legal speed limits, while 39 per cent don't provide training on maintaining a safe distance on multi-lane roads.
A further 37.6 per cent provide no training on stopping distances at different speeds, and 35.8 per cent do likewise for stopping in wet and icy conditions.
These statistics certainly show there is scope for fleet companies to make significant improvements to road safety policies and training moving forward.
How can telematics technology help make these improvements?
Telematics technology can help every fleet enhance the road safety of employees and other road users.
According to the Fleet Safety Survey, telematics is, widely adopted by fleet operators already. The report found that nearly six out of ten respondents - 59.2 per cent - have already installed telematics systems in company vehicles. However, that still means there’s a big percentage of fleet companies still in the dark.
Monitoring driver conduct through technology provides fleet managers with a detailed insight into precisely how their employees behave behind the wheel - and this, in turn, enables them to single out areas where there is a particular need for training and education.
The power of data from telematics systems is vital if fleet managers want to make improvements in compliance, driver efficiency and general fleet performance. The data gathered can be used to develop a risk profile of individual drivers, by flagging up to their fleet managers any particularly risky behaviours these employees engage in while on the road. These might include excessive speeding, sharp braking, rough cornering, and other important issues.
Cameras can also be used by fleet operators to reduce the likelihood of accidents. They allow managers to see how drivers behave, making them a potentially hugely useful complement to the telematics data - but this isn't just a case of checking the video recording after an accident has occurred. Equally important is reviewing recordings of everyday, seemingly incident-free drives. This way, fleet managers can check for undesirable driver conduct and develop strategies for minimising it accordingly.
Teletrac Navman's Director fleet management solution is also equipped with a two-way messaging function, which removes any need to communicate via mobile phone when driving. Director also has integration capabilities with a variety of other software and hardware platforms, including Teletrac Navman’s suite of integrated camera solutions and the MNav commercial Sat Navs, offering ease of use and peace-of-mind for drivers. Operators can dispatch messages to any individual vehicle or sub-fleet at any time, with messages taking a number of forms - canned messages, form-fill messages or free-text messages. Route requests and job site locations can be communicated instantly, keeping employees up to date of essential specific job requirements.
Responsibility on the roads
When fleet operators utilise technology to improve road safety, it's important not just to understand the causes of incidents once they've occurred, but to develop robust strategies for future accident prevention.
We all have a responsibility to do what we can to improve road safety, and the strategic use of these technologies - as part of a broader plan for driver training and development - has the potential to significantly reduce the number of incidents involving fleet vehicles.
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Peter Millichap is Director of Marketing at Teletrac Navman.
About Teletrac Navman:
Teletrac Navman is a multinational telematics company leveraging 25 years of experience to help fleets boost revenue and lower operating costs. We equip businesses with advanced data tools for location tracking, fuel monitoring, reporting, safety and compliance, all via one powerful, user-friendly platform.
We're devoted to providing accurate and precise data secured by the strongest protection and controls. These tools and methods improve business’ bottom line and help them stay competitive. Teletrac Navman currently tracks nearly 500,000 vehicles owned by over 40,000 organisations on six continents, making us one of the world's largest fleet management providers.
Teletrac Navman’s ever-evolving fleet management technologies offer a unique combination of features, functionality, compliance and workflow solutions paired with unparalleled platform reliability.