Fleet professionals today know that connected vehicles provide access to rich data, resulting in actionable intelligence to dramatically enhance vehicle and driver performance. This data empowers organizational leaders to make smarter, faster decisions in areas that affect cost, operational efficiencies, and safety. But you’d be missing out if you simply stopped here. The accessibility of rich and dynamic vehicles and driver data allows you to do much more.

From an efficiencies perspective, there is no greater influence on fleet costs than driver behaviour. Everyday decisions made by your drivers directly impact your fleet costs.  And, while leaders are correctly focused on fleet safety policies and on-road behaviours in their efforts to reduce vehicle collisions, there are additional driver-specific factors to consider that have impact beyond collision-related costs.

Cameras

While the value of telematics is well documented as a way to reduce fleet costs and improve operations, there are still many instances when these useful tools are dismissed in favour of driver privacy priorities. Few realize reimagining the role of telematics data in fleet management, including in-vehicle cameras, is often an important first step for achieving both.

But there is more to consider, and it is important to think about the use of camera data beyond just video footage. In many cases, live video captures can be turned off and vehicle cameras can simply report “event only” alerts.  Incident reporting is vital to maintaining the safe operation of your fleet, but the additional data surrounding the alert itself can serve as an invaluable asset to influence future driver training, fleet policy, and more.

Vehicle Insights

The continuous flow of information available through telematics can seem endless and, at times, overwhelming. However, your fleet data holds the power to unlock many key cost saving opportunities. Monitoring vehicle metrics can provide deep insight into how well drivers are following fleet policies and pinpoint areas for improvements in real time.

For example, fuel misuse, maintenance negligence, and excessive idling times can lead to significant cost increases over the lifecycle of a vehicle. These behavioural actions can also significantly decrease the vehicle’s resale value. Without telematics, these proof points would simply be unknown variables in a wide range of potential influences.

Driver Coaching

The continuing education opportunities provided by telematics are often overlooked. In fact, advancements in telematics solutions - specifically mobile technology and OEM provided in-cab feedback through the infotainment center - can influence driver behaviour and provide tangible coaching. These powerful tools provide transparent and meaningful engagement with your fleet’s first line of defense – your drivers.

The idea behind these technologies is to motivate and retrain drivers to eliminate distractions and reduce unsafe behaviours through education, competition, and gamification. Device reported events can also trigger automatic assignment of driver training and coaching to reduce fleet risk and crash-related costs.

While it’s evident connected vehicles play a critical role in managing fleet costs, there is some reluctance from companies to introduce telematics due to driver privacy concerns. Some best practices to put drivers at ease when implementing a telematics related driver policy are as follows:

  • Have a “living” policy for safety that is clearly defined and has buy-in from every level of the company.
  • Communication is key. Share an introductory letter that goes to drivers explaining the who, what, when, where, why and how of your telematics solution.
  • Clearly communicate and reinforce rules for distracted driving – especially as use of smartphones and smartwatches increases.
  • Explain the value behind a driver safety scorecard, as it holds drivers accountable and pinpoints which drivers need additional training and improvements in driver behaviour. No one wants to be at the bottom of the list and labelled as the ‘worst driver’ in the fleet.
  • New Privacy laws may require different actions from the fleet in different jurisdictions, therefore it’s important that drivers be educated.

Providing Results

In a recent case study, an Element client was looking for ways to reduce fleet costs and improve driver safety. The large service fleet installed telematics devices into 900 units and our in-house strategic consulting group provided end-to-end management of the program, including data analysis and performance management. After just one year, the company saw a 32% reduction in accident spend.

By transforming the way you think about vehicle and driver data and encouraging your drivers to embrace new technologies, your connected fleet can increase productivity and safety while also reducing operating costs. For more information, visit https://www.elementfleet.com

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