Paul Ripley, Chief Executive Officer, The Driving Doctor®
For some, cutting costs can mean cutting corners.
As businesses strive for more profitable operations, expediency can often be prioritised at the expense of health and safety. Short-term gain however, will rarely be worth long-term pain.
In some cases, the consequences can be severe. When road risk falls under the spotlight, for example, the financial and reputational costs of health and safety failings have the potential to prove business-critical.
The ne plus ultra approach for fleets must always be safety first – and the wisdom of this is brought into even sharper focus when you consider that road risk management, compliance with Duty of Care, Health and Safety and Driving for Work legislation and cost-savings invariably all go hand-in-hand. A safer driving style contributes to reduced fuel consumption, lower vehicle maintenance bills and lower motor insurance premiums.
Performance data holds the key to fleet safety – and the door has been resolutely unlocked with the advent and evolution of telematics technology. Telematics data offers fleet visibility, enabling risk issues to be identified so they can be addressed.
Playing the long game: delivering sustained behavioural change
Long-term behavioural change, however, calls for targeting the attitudinal facets of driving – the ‘negative’ and the ‘uncontrolled’ that are underpinned by individuals’ mental and emotional processes and responses.
The challenges here are manifold. The success of one-off, or ad hoc, driver training sessions are unproven at best and anecdotally, expensive and limited in their effectiveness at worst. In addition, there can never be a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.
Coaching must be prolonged and tailored to meet specific driver requirements. Furthermore, meaningful employee engagement is needed. If employees are not engaged, they cannot be kept motivated.
With this in mind, behavioural modification techniques and gamification must be utilised through a variety of personalised messages, campaigns and remediation tools over a sustained period. As it is very unlikely that these will be within a fleet managers armoury, in nearly all cases, the services of an outsourced expert specialist will need to be employed.
Here, the caveat emptor message is to draw not only upon academic credentials, but also demonstrable and well proven experience in the field when specifying a provider.
In a world where those that embrace digitisation are vaunted as the ones best placed to embrace the future, where appropriate, businesses should look to introduce digital coaching and expert feedback programmes, such as The Driving Doctor®. Being suitably advanced, these will offer a particularly cost-effective solution, automatically drip-feeding relevant, actionable, safe driving content – based upon telematics profiling data – where and when it is most needed and directly to the individual drivers.
Targeting the endgame
The bottom line is that drivers need to understand the importance of their actions on the road and to receive appropriate guidance on safe and efficient vehicle use.
Drivers’ emotions, actions and reactions need to be targeted, not only with engaging content and learnings, but also with content that is consistent and free from confrontational undertones. This is vital if employee motivation is to be maintained and if long-term engagement is to be realised.
It is inevitable that in a small number of cases, drivers will doggedly hold on to an “I know best” attitude and refuse to participate or correct poor or unsafe driving habits, irrespective of how collaboratively training programmes are communicated.
In such cases, where coaching is delivered digitally, engagement analytics can be deployed to enable early management intervention. Telematics data insights will then, in turn, allow performance improvements behind the wheel to be monitored on an ongoing basis – by both the driver and the business. This type of comprehensive, joined-up, approach is embodied in the partnership between The Driving Doctor® and Webfleet Solutions.
So what results can be expected by adopting such a best practice approach?
Webfleet Solutions client, Cable and Splicing Services Limited (Cass), can be held up as a leading light in corporate road risk management. By adopting the aforementioned key principles and techniques provided by The Driving Doctor® across its fleet of 150 light commercial vehicles, it has seen its fleet safety score – an algorithmic measure underpinned by driving performance data – improve by 68 per cent in just six months.
This has translated into a 40 per cent lower accident rate and 65 per cent fewer speeding tickets from their employed drivers. Furthermore, the company has benefited from a reduction in its insurance premiums of £15,000, along with fuel savings of £37,000 compared to the same period last year.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
For further information, please visit www.thedrivingdoctor.org, call us on 0800 084 30 64 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.