Matt Hague, product strategy director at Microlise, looks at how telematics and driver safety can be linked.
In a recent blog post published on Fleet News, Mike Rees, managing director of Drive Alive UK, examined the importance of training in driver risk management. The post argued that fleet managers have moved away from the provision of training and instead, utilise telematics technology to assess drivers and ensure safety and quality.
Sighting a concern that telematics had become the sole method of ensuring driver safety, Mike, in his post, stated that “a combination of approaches work best” – something I would agree with.
As a telematics solutions provider, Microlise speaks from practical experience about the benefits of the technology and its power to help ensure the safety of drivers and the general public, but absolutely agree that technology is only half the story and providing driver training has a crucial role to play.
Simply training drivers in safe and fuel efficient driving tends to have short term gain unless monitored using telematics. When accompanied by a mentoring programme, the significant benefits of training can be maintained over a far longer period.
Likewise, established telematics companies do not advocate the use of telematics systems as a ‘stick’ to beat drivers with but provide the tools to support coaching and a framework for incentivisation.
In the first instance, an on-going programme of driver training is of course a vital way for a transport or fleet manager to ensure their drivers have the correct skills and a good understanding of the standards expected to minimise risk.
We have seen time and time again however, that using a telematics solution, coupled with ongoing training, the publishing of driver league tables, driver debriefs and targeted additional training, results in significant improvements to driver skills.
Our data showed this approach has resulted in speeding, harsh braking & cornering reduce by 90%, incident rates fall by greater than 50% and fuel economies increase by up to 9%.
Telematics reports help drivers, transport managers and trainers alike to identify specific areas where further improvement is required, from “quick wins” like speeding, to areas requiring greater levels of coaching – like anticipation, resulting in for example in the HGV space, less harsh braking, more time in the green band and the more effective use of the engine brake, which all to serve to produce safer driving, better economy and less wear and tear on vehicles.
As an additional benefit, our customers have also reported subsequent reductions in insurance premiums – typically in the second year of using the system.
Training absolutely has a pivotal role to play in driver risk management - telematics cannot replace this. However, with telematics in place, it is easier to measure skill levels and the effectiveness of training on an on-going basis, as well as motivate the driver to maintain good driving standards.
But, we always advocate that telematics is not used as a “stick” but is part of an established driver training and rewards framework. When used within a business in this manner, the benefits realised can be significant – resulting in safer roads for us all.