Driving is a lonely profession. It is one of the few jobs that doesn’t have a boss supervising their every move. However, with the new age of technology, more and more companies are finally able to change that perception to some degree.
In the past, a company could only rely on two methods to “supervise” a driver’s behavior: running the annual motor vehicle report (MVR) and using “1-800 How’s My Driving.” However, the MVR had significant lag time in the actual violation and it only reported when a driver was convicted of the violation. A “How’s My Driving” report was not that helpful, as the report could be the wrong vehicle or just a motorist who perceived that the driver did something wrong.
With the new age of electronics and computers in vehicles, companies are now able to capture real-time data on certain driver behaviors with a variety of technologies:
- Global Positioning System (GPS)— Tracks location and reports if a driver is enroute or not at a specific location. This can also be used to track the vehicle in case it is stolen.
- Telematics—Using the GPS system, the company can get alerts and reports on drivers who are speeding, hard braking, rapidly accelerating, excessively cornering, excessively idling and MPG. The company is sent text/email alerts when a driver is not in compliance. Some also provide a warning to the driver, giving them immediate feedback to change behavior.
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD)—Helps drivers record duty status (hours of service) for DOT compliance. This method is intended to reduce driver fatigue.
- Dash Cameras—Helps document driver behaviors using the parameters set with telematics. It can be used in accident investigation to determine what the driver was doing right before, during and right after the crash.
Now that the company has invested in all this technology, what do they do with it? Only having devices in the vehicle does not automatically make the driver safer, but by not doing anything, it can expose the company to negligent entrustment added to a serious crash.
Companies either need to employ someone who can monitor all the data and use that data to influence driver behavior, or utilize the company that sold the telematics to manage the data and provide meaningful reports so management can influence driver behavior.
What to do with the telematics and the data it provides.
- Provide training to all drivers on the technology to be installed and how it will work, so they are more likely to accept it.
- Provide feedback to driver as soon as possible if you receive an alert about driver behavior to let them know it’s unacceptable.
- Analyze the data in driver reports to see if trends develop.
- Use the data as a benchmark to reward good drivers for not having events.
Telematics does not replace a sound fleet safety program. Companies still have to hire the most qualified drivers, train their drivers and maintain the fleet.
The information contained in this report was obtained from sources which, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, are authentic and reliable. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. makes no guarantee of results and assumes no liability in connection with either the information herein contained, or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein, or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedures.