Businesses wrong to expect technology alone to make employees drive better

Too many businesses are relying on technology to improve road safety for their drivers rather than seeking to change their behaviour and attitude behind the wheel.

That is the claim in a new report by charity IAM RoadSmart, and its conclusion underpins the strength of Fleet Service Great Britain’s fully integrated achieve driver and vehicle management services.

The Achieve hub, which sits at the centre of the services, integrates all of the data captured from Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Management Services, Achieve Fleet Manager and Achieve Fleet Service Partnership.

The intelligent integration of data creates a unique and powerful engine of information, instantly accessible by fleet managers via configurable online dashboards. Fleet managers then have at their fingertips real-time headline data from vehicles and drivers and the ability to drill-down into the minutiae of the operations.

Developed in partnership with customers, the client-bespoke dashboards deliver data in easy to understand numerical and graphic formats, while simultaneously highlighting action areas, which could ultimately lead to a requirement for driver training to improve safety.

The Achieve Driver Management dashboard, for example, identifies which employees have authority to drive, driver-influenced vehicle costs and a company’s best and worst drivers using a number of key intelligent parameters including: points on driving licences and number and type of crashes.

Meanwhile, Achieve Maintenance Management and Achieve Crash Management dashboards identify critical information that respectively includes: Vehicle pence per mile costs and vehicle servicing and maintenance data providing in-depth trend and predictive analysis and aiding compliance; and detailed information on types of crashes drivers are having, a heat map of incident locations and crash data by day, time and driver.

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, said: “Fleet Service GB is harnessing technology to measure vehicle and driver data and performance in real-time.

“Crucially, the dashboards do not just provide data but also flag-up action areas. That means Fleet Service GB is not only providing vehicle and driver information, but interpreting it and so highlighting areas whether in respect of individual vehicle costs that need to be tackled or driver performance that needs to be improved.”

IAM RoadSmart says in the report, ‘Driver Education – What More Can Be Learned?’ – ‘many companies check that their drivers have the appropriate licences and feel that their responsibility ends there. In some cases they may employ technology to monitor driver behaviour, but typically this is used more as a way of maximising operational efficiency as opposed to improving safety’.

In considering the dangers of relying on technology – such as telematics, dashcams and mobile phone apps to improve safety –  the report argues that in many cases the driving issues identified are not followed up with an appropriate and proactive driver training intervention.

It said: “Technology is often relied upon to provide a solution to poor driving. In itself however, it rarely influences driver behaviour or attitudes.”

Tony Greenidge, business development director at IAM RoadSmart, who stressed the importance of improving the skills and increasingly the behaviours of business drivers, said: “While technology can tell you ‘how’ it cannot determine the ‘why,’ and it is this piece of the jigsaw that many businesses leave unanswered.”

The report also explores the “immense cost” to businesses in terms of inefficient driving which can lead to vehicle damage, poor fuel consumption, lost productivity, uninsured liabilities and medical expenses – as well as impacting on road safety.

It says: “There is no doubt that the biggest influencer in fuel consumption is the driver’s right foot. Using an example of a driver doing 20,000 business miles per annum in a diesel vehicle, a 5mpg improvement in fuel consumption is worth around £330 a year. Based on this simple example it is clear that small improvements in driving style and behaviour can make a big impact on cost as well as safety.”

Martin Carter, group information systems director and in charge of a fleet of more than 700 company cars and vans at Stannah, a Fleet Service GB customer, and who was instrumental in assisting with development of the dashboards, said: “We want to collect data so we can exactly identify what our costs are and can then effectively and efficiently manage the fleet and drivers.”

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