A safe driver is a cost-effective driver.
They have fewer accidents, they are more productive and they tend to drive more efficiently, reducing the fuel bill.
Fleets at the Fleet News roundtable, sponsored by Interactive Driving Systems, discussed their tactics for improving driver performance and minimising the number of accidents (or incidents, crashes, events – depending on individual terminology).
What processes do you have in place for monitoring and managing drivers?
Mike Revell: We use a live tracking system which tells us if vehicles are being used for non-work purposes. It has reduced our fuel and tyre spend because our vans are full weight all the time.
Neil Shaw: We use a holistic approach, starting with how we recruit our drivers. In three years our fleet costs have fallen by starting the process with the person that comes through the door, through to vehicle type and to driving styles. We limit vans to 65mph and LGVs to 52mph and we focus on tyre pressures and aerodynamics.
Ian Hovell: Training is vital, especially for the retention of the driver. When I was at Rentokil we used eco devices in our vans which gave us 10% savings because of less revving. It was a passive solution to fuel use – we took this decision because of high turnover of staff which would mean that training costs would be high.
Neil Shaw: It’s not just about training; it’s education and raising awareness. Our staff turnover is low because stress levels have come down.
Julie Fitzell: Our induction process focuses on safer, smarter drivers and then we constantly evaluate them. Any complaints from a customer means the driver comes back in for training.
Neil Shaw: We have an in-cab camera and external camera. Drivers don’t understand the numbers on a telematics system but they respond to video footage showing poor behaviour. We have a two-hit rule on use of seatbelts and driving while distracted by a phone or eating, etc.
It’s a disciplinary measure up to and including dismissal. It sounds harsh, but we wanted to develop a safe driving culture – we have a social and moral responsibility to protect drivers, other road users and our brand.
But it’s not just about discipline: we also have financial incentives, such as a driver of the year competition. Standards have improved; major incidents have fallen by 61%.