While telematics was a key theme addressed at this year’s NAFA conference, the main reason for this popularity had to do with driver safety. Fleet managers are looking carefully at the data and getting team feedback on what it takes to increase safe driving habits. Here’s a few points that were emphasized by fleet managers, fleet management companies, and telematics providers….
For Judy Sparks, Fleet Manager at Advanced Home Care and a nominee in the Excellence in Corporate Fleet Safety award, acknowledging and awarding safe driving behavior has made a positive difference with employees. The fleet team also has been conducting in-depth reviews of accidents and finding out what’s been happening with drivers, and what’s needed improvement. Their program has reduced accidents and the costs that come with them.
Another tactic that’s worked well for Advanced Home Care has been training employees in defensive driving habits, and getting them to see driving as a fundamental part of their jobs. They’re delivering home health equipment to customers that can be very critical in their medical treatment. It’s been important to get employees to see how driving is an essential part of safely and consistently deliver their services to customers.
Bill Horne, Supervisor – Fleet Safety, City of Edmonton Fleet Services and winner of the Excellence in Public Fleet Safety award, learned a lot of tough lessons about safety – and the lack of it – during his years as a police officer in Edmonton with traffic collision duties. As he transitioned over to the city’s fleet department, he understood that getting drivers to think differently about their responsibilities was a key element. Horne has a hard time using the word “accident” when discussing vehicle crashes – “collision” was a word the police department used that he brought over to his current position. The word “accident” can help some drivers distance themselves from their part in the collision. Finding the right training programs and safety policies for all of these drivers is challenging but needs to be done, Horne said.
During many of the presentations and interviews with fleet managers, fleet management companies, and telematics suppliers, the issue of dealing with problematic drivers usually came up. There’s a minority of employee drivers who tend to speed, brake hard and early, practice distracted driving, and end up in minor-to-serious collisions. There’s no one single training or accountability method to resolve this problem. However, there are improvements being made. The central theme seems to be having a clear policy in place that gets enforced, and is emphasized with employees. They need all the training and education that can be provided, but they also need to understand their responsibilities as safe drivers.