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Driving Doctor takes pain from telematics data management

A new driver behaviour software provider claims to have removed a major obstacle that has hindered the take-up of telematics: the ability of fleet decision-makers to assimilate and act on the reams of driver data churned out every day.

The Driving Doctor is the idea of driving safety guru Paul Ripley and has been five years in the making. The system takes a direct feed from the telematics and converts the raw data into a series of actionable education notifications, emails and interactive features and campaigns that constantly coach each driver to drive more safely.

Fleet managers receive access to a dashboard via an online portal which enables them to see how their drivers are performing. Alerts are issued should drivers ignore their bespoke coaching programmes or fail to address any consistently poor or unsafe driving habits which enables early corrective action to be taken.

Drivers also have access to their own individual portals to enable them to monitor and gain insight into their performance.

“Without offering structured driver feedback and coaching techniques, the business case for using telematics loses pace and credibility,” said Ripley.

He has worked with transport psychology expert Professor Steve Stradling to develop the 27 behavioural change techniques which address poor attitudes and uncontrolled emotions.

The structure is based on tiered messages which Ripley describes as being “nearer to the stick than the carrot”, adding: “We measure their reaction to the messages to see what is working. If they do not improve then we will put them on to the campaigns, such as speeding or late braking.

“We also have gamification – video, articles and animations – which encourages and influences behavioural change by focusing on the human factors, the mental and emotional processes that are crucial to safe driving and efficient vehicle use.”

If the change techniques fail to succeed, The Driving Doctor has a human intervention. “It’s almost like counselling so we can understand their pressures,” Ripley said. “Then we put them on to the appropriate attitudinal course.

“These campaigns ensure consistency in content and learning for drivers of all ages and experience, based anywhere in the world and can be delivered in any language. They are designed to address aggressive, unsafe and inefficient driving behaviour triggered by emotions, actions and reactions behind the wheel.”

He added: “It works. We have trialled it on our own people and we are looking to do further trials with customers. It gets drivers out of the red zone and into amber and then into green.”

Ripley is targeting fleets that already have telematics but are struggling to manage the data and companies that are reluctant to commit to telematics because they fear a data overload. He can take data from any telematics provider, but is likely to limit it to the companies with the most customers and the best data.

TomTom has become the first telematics provider to partner with The Driving Doctor.

Tony Papas, TomTom Telematics strategic alliance manager, described The Driving Doctor as “an industry unique proposition” that offered new opportunities to fleets.

“The combination of both platforms integrating and delivering real live data will assist in delivering excellent operational safety solutions matched with further ROI cost savings on the daily running of a fleet,” Papas said.

The price for fleets varies according to the number of drivers, but will be no more than £10 per driver per month. The money could come from an existing training pot: Ripley believes his business eliminates the need for more conventional driver training and online assessments.

“I fail to believe that you can get driver attitudes and behaviours from answering multiple choice questions – it doesn’t work,” Ripley claimed.

“Telematics is an unbiased view of what the driver is actually doing on a daily or hourly basis. Safety is a mind-set, not a skill set; it has nothing to do with learning how to steer a car. It’s about how you think and feel.”

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  • aidanr - 15/02/2017 15:55

    Telematics based driver behaviour solutions have struggled to deliver 'actionable insights' because they have no data on root cause, only outcomes. More sophisticated data analytics is not the solution. For example, harsh braking is the outcome, but what was the root cause that needs to be addressed? Dogs running across the road or distracted driving due to smartphone use? Each requires a different message to the driver.

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    • SimonJ - 27/02/2017 22:53

      You talk about addressing the "root cause", but if a driver is consistently excessively speeding, harsh braking etc. there is no root cause other than the driver believing that behavior to be acceptable. On very few occaisions, there will be an event beyond a driver's control which causes them to brake harshly, but telematics data will show a pattern of harsh braking over many journeys (which can't all be caused by dogs) as it will for speeding. These aspects of driver behaviour can be addressed with different messages and changes in behaviour monitored.

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