Fleet Managers know better than most how difficult it is to attempt to modify driver behavior. Teaching old dogs new tricks has always been challenging and the dog never had a smartphone whilst behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. They also lack thumbs. You have choices to attempt to modify driver behavior.
You can opt for carrots, sticks or engagement.
As human beings, we understand the power of the reward. Creating an incentive for the workers behind the wheel to win through recognition or reward of good driving behavior can move the needle. It also is a softer approach that the curses of the reprimand. We know of one global pharmaceutical company that rewards good driving behavior with XM Radio subscriptions. This approach is not without challenge though. Incentive design is hard work. Workers can find ways to game systems and it is a largely relying on trailing indicators of driving behavior. Lots of writing is dedicated to how to get this right.
Sometimes the consequences can be curbed toward the positive, such as training courses required for poor drivers or motor vehicle reports (MVRs) that let you know there is a problem with a subset of your workers that drive for their jobs. In the U.S., the Department of Transportation does a good job of making these violations available to the public. While the expense, liability and frustration of poor driving behavior or distracted driving are huge for companies, going the reprimand route does have challenges. We’ve had some managers express frustration at zero tolerance policies for using a mobile device while operating a vehicle. The behavior does bring great risk and expense to the company, however, the best managers feel these consequences will only change behavior in the short-term and a long-term change is what is sought.
Clearly, the best approach is to get the workers engaged in the behavior of safe driving practices. What better way to accomplish this than by putting the driving scores on the devices. At the end of each trip, you could score the driver on a scale from 1-100 and have technology that measures harsh braking, dangerous corner or speeding. You’d also be best suited to adopt a solution that is not creating more distracting alerts and alarms while the vehicle is in motion.
Finally, you’d be best served to have each trip record the score and make it available immediately to the worker and also accessible through a web browser application so managers and fleet operators can catch people doing things right. This piece allows for coaching discussions to occur and for drivers to benchmark themselves to others as the safety of the vehicles rises.
The best fleet managers know this is really the approach that can create safety excellence.