How to Create a Successful Fleet Driver Training Strategy
Fleet Management Systems
Date posted: 21 December 2017
Being on the road for hours at a time brings with it a number of safety risks for both drivers and the public.
Consider these numbers:
- In the UK, HGV crashes end up in serious injuries or death for almost a quarter of the incidents—an increase from just an eighth of incidents in 2015.
- One in six crashes resulting in death or injury is attributed to driver fatigue, with 40% of these crashes involving commercial vehicle drivers.
- Eight out of 10 company drivers admit to breaking the 70mph speed limit, with almost half hitting 80 mph on a motorway.
Apart from putting lives at risk, speeding also impacts a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. The Department of Transport says driving at 80mph eats up 25% more fuel, which, when it accumulates, negatively affects a company’s bottom-line.
While it’s tempting for drivers to speed up for faster delivery, you need to help them understand that the risks of speeding far outweigh the time they would save.
This is where a personalised fleet driver training comes in. And with the help of technology, you get the added benefit of using telematics data in optimising your fleets logistics.
The Benefits of Vehicle Tracking and Telematics Data in Training Strategies
As noted by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), accident rates drop by 20% to 38% when vehicles are fitted with in-vehicle monitoring. On top of that, unsafe driving behaviours are also reduced by 82%.
Installing telematics systems to fleet vehicles provides managers with a comprehensive view of a driver’s journey and behaviour. By extrapolating this data, you can personalise your company’s driver training programme.
Doing so would give you the following advantages:
1. Legislative compliance
In 2015, the Sentencing Council introduced new guidelines for convictions of corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences.
Companies with more than a £50 million turnover will be fined for up to £20 million if found guilty under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act of 2007. Those who are convicted of serious health and safety offences will be fined up to £10 million.
This further highlights the value of telematics in improving the safety of your fleet. With real-time monitoring and data gathering features, you can catch patterns of bad driving behaviour and tailor a driving training system to target problem drivers or specific problems. Taking effective proactive steps in reducing and eliminating it.
2. Increase driver awareness
An interesting survey by motoring organisation RAC found that drivers who break speed limits still consider themselves, in general, law-abiding drivers.
This shows that speeding is more than just a driver’s need to get to a destination faster; it’s embedded into driver behaviour. That said, helping fleet drivers open their eyes to the risks of their behaviour falls into the hands of fleet managers.
With telematics devices, your drivers will know that their performance is monitored and will be assessed—making them think more actively about their driving behaviour.
3. Identify areas for improvement
Telematics and vehicle tracking systems provide detailed reports, even when the drivers are still on the road. Using this data, you can then provide feedback to your drivers and show them where they need to improve their driving. This could be their speed, lane changing, or other risky behaviours.
In fact, vehicle tracking is shown to improve employee efficiency by 10% to 20%.
The key here is choosing the best tracking system for your fleet. Make sure that you look at your company’s needs, the system’s ease of use, scalability, mobile compatibility, and frequency of data updates.
4. Create personalised training sessions
Using that data, you can create your own training sessions based on data your telematics report back to you. After all, generating specific feedback for each driver will be ultimately more helpful than a general training approach. As well as mitigating the need for prolonged company downtime, by only applying training to those drivers who are underperforming.
Take, for instance, the case of The Clancy Group. Using telematics data on fuel consumption and braking, they created training programmes for 150 HGVs, 1,400 vans, 400 company cars, and 100 grey fleet vehicles. They were able to pre-empt any risky behaviour and put drivers in workshops when needed, resulting in a decrease in collisions. Their programme won the RoSPA Gold Fleet Safety Award.
By focusing on each individual driver’s needs, you can improve their performance and eventually, your business.
The 5-Step Plan to Creating A Successful Driver Training Strategy
Driving behaviour is a key concern for all fleet managers, especially when the risks are so high. And telematics systems, while extremely vital, can only go as far.
A comprehensive fleet safety programme is still the most effective way to make sure your employees are more responsible while they are on duty.
These steps will help you create a successful training programme:
1. Lay down the foundation
It is the management’s duty to remind drivers how important safety is for the company. A comprehensive programme with a strong core message would clarify company expectations to drivers.
The success of any training and safety policy relies on a robust foundation. This includes a safety policy, support from upper management, and backing from every member of the business from the shareholders to the junior employees.
2. Get the support of senior management
For your programme to work, it needs the support of upper management.
Senior management will need to make their efforts in supporting and enforcing policies visible. They have to make it clear that safety policies and programmes are not just for the benefit of the business but also for the drivers and their loved ones.
3. Identify driver needs
Thanks to telematics systems, you will now have an accurate picture of where your fleet currently stands. You can pinpoint incidences of speeding, idling, harsh braking, and other risky behaviours, allowing you to assess the risk level of each driver. You can then include this information when creating your training programme.
Do take note that data is only as good as your interpretation. Data can tell you which aspect to focus on for each driver. Data can also let you see the common trends within your fleet (e.g. mileage, average speed). However, data will not be able to tell you how these numbers apply in real life.
You may benefit from having a qualified trainer on-board. They can interpret driving data as it applies on the road, and provide recommendations on how these can be improved.
4. Design the right training method
Once you have identified the problematic areas, you can now design your programme based on the skills and knowledge you want your drivers to learn:
- One-on-one sessions
One-on-one sessions work because you are interacting with your drivers on a human level. This is as opposed to, say, e-learning wherein drivers can take their workshops in front of computers.
By engaging with your drivers, they can easily air out concerns and voice out questions. You, in turn, could assess how each driver is responding to the modules.
Specialist asbestos and removal company Rhodar employed one-on-one driver training sessions for their fleet of 200 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, 100 company cars, and 50 daily rental vehicles. The investment is starting to pay for itself, as the company is now seeing vastly improved collision rates.
Gamification is the use of gaming techniques to help change or encourage new behaviour in people. It taps on the competitive side of an individual by providing a trigger to complete an action, motivating them to win, and then rewarding the success.
Such is the impact of gamification that it is predicted to be massively used in businesses, corporate or otherwise, by 2020.
Telematics also employ gamification. For instance, road transport specialist Pentalver installed OptiDrive 360 (a component of TomTom’s WEBFLEET software) to their 107 Cannock trucks. OptiDrive 360 scores the performance of each driver on various KPIs like speed, gear shifting, speeding, idling, etc.
Penalver’s drivers receive quarterly bonuses if they hit performance targets. As it now stands, the company sees a reduction in idling time as well as £50,000-annual saving.
Whether you are designing an e-module, one-on-one sessions, modular training, or group workshops, make sure that you stay organised. Spend time planning each lesson, limit the information for each class, and minimise any possible distraction. Keep each lesson fresh and engaging, and stay professional at all times.
5. Consistent implementation
No matter how good your programme is, your investment will go to waste if you don’t implement it properly. To improve implementation, you can do the following.
- Train managers. It’s not just drivers who need to be trained. Managers should also be included so they can learn to interpret data properly, look at how it relates to driving behaviour, and then apply solutions to their fleet.
- Evaluate performance. Drivers will respond better if their evaluations are based on facts. Telematics data is useful in identifying weaknesses and risks, and customer and team feedback can identify positive behaviour. Keep this feedback on file to assess their progress during the next evaluations.
- Incentivise. Creating driver league tables can help in gamifying the process and encourage behaviour change. Make sure that you provide attractive incentives, especially when drivers make clear progress.
- Take refresher courses. Refresher courses are needed to keep everyone up-to-date, especially if new technology will be introduced into your processes. Email blasts and reminders should also be sent intermittently.
Better Drivers, Better Business
By employing training strategies aimed at improving driver performance, fleet companies will improve their reputation, take on more clients, and eventually increase profits.
Keep in mind that your programmes will only work if the implementation is just as strong. Continued progress is a must, as it would prevent bad behaviour from restarting down the line. With better drivers, you get a better business and the public gets safer roads.
For more information on creating a successful driver training strategy, or the telematics tools that can help you do so, call us today on 0333 2000 670