If lockdown has taught us anything about our driving, it’s that fewer cars on the road equals a heavy right foot for those travelling on them
Put it down to bad behaviour, or to merely destressing from being in lockdown, either way the temptation to speed seems far too great for both the public and drivers – one driver in London was caught doing 130mph in a 40mph zone! And of course, the British media have picked up on the fact that more speeding tickets have been issued and more virtual speed awareness courses have been attended since lockdown than would normally have occurred, especially amongst those driving for a profession.
So, what can fleet operators do to ensure that not only are their drivers behaving and assets are protected, but the public are kept safe from harm as well?
Track your vehicles
It’s a simple equation: if you don’t have visibility of how your driver/asset is performing on the road, how can you be empowered to make any decisions over its handling?
Vehicle tracking facilitated by an integrated fleet management and telematics solution should be the number one priority for any fleet operator or manager out there. Not only does it provide real-time data on where your mobile assets are at any time, it also provides lots of handy information, including (back to the topic in hand) incidences of speeding and harsh braking, the time they occurred, where they occurred, in what vehicle, which driver etc. Moreover, telematics systems will be able to provide this data in one easy to use interface and offer alerts as and when incidences occur, so that action can be taken immediately and a radio through to the cab or filed for addressing when the driver is back at base. Not only that, operators and managers will also be able to set their own parameters for the alerts to register against, so if a driver goes even 2mph over the speed limit, a report will be generated with immediate effect.
The good news with a system like this in place, operators can throw the ‘how’s my driving’ stickers away in earnest and rely on tangible data to inform them of driver performance!
Score your drivers
Now it’s all well and good having reams and reams and data, but it’s no good if you don’t make meaningful use of it.
A great way that businesses are curbing the urge to speed is to create a bit of rivalry between their drivers in the way of scorecards. A scoring system is aligned to all the ways a telematics system can report on a driver’s performance, from speeding, harsh braking or cornering, not following correct routing, excessive idling time etc. What this does is actually promote good behaviour on the road as there is distinct pride drivers have in topping the charts for perfect on-the-road driving, as indication of their ability in what is a skilled profession.
The perfect scenario is that coming top of the table is enough incentive for drivers to be more mindful of their driving, however if necessary, operators should look to introduce incentives – a day out karting, tickets for the football – to ensure all drivers are engaged in the activity. Equally, if scorecards are also introduced into driver appraisals and pay reviews, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be adhered to.
Introduce re-training and penalties
While the scorecards would hopefully be the deterrent drivers need to get their on-the-road performance back on track, some of them may be serial offenders. The issue is that not only are they putting other road users and the greater number of lockdown pedestrians in harms way, they are misusing an expensive business asset, which isn’t cheap to fix.
Where the telematics data is showing a consistent trend in going over the safety parameters set by the business, use it as an opportunity to get them back into both theory and practical training with an instructor. They might not be best pleased in being asked to re-train but it should be framed as an investment in them rather than a punishment.
For those where re-training isn’t having the desired impact, engaging with HR to determine appropriate consequences would be a recommended next step in ensuring drivers get their priorities and speed right on the road.