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How encouraging competition among drivers could improve safety

Ensuring safe driving is the main priority for fleet managers and there are a number of strategies that can be implemented to encourage an element of healthy competition among drivers, incentivising them to fully embrace the safe driving culture. The best way of doing this is to provide performance information to drivers in an easy access, easy to understand way, and then reward their positive behaviour.

Tracking driver performance via telematics, setting regular ‘challenges’ and rewarding those who excel can introduce a fun element to what may otherwise be viewed as a dry subject.

Here are four strategies you can try to motivate your fleet:

Fuel efficiency champions

Since the introduction of telematics, fleet managers have learned a lot about how idling, driving too fast and accelerating too quickly impact negatively on a business’s bottom line1. Issues such as efficient routing, miles driven and maintenance also play a role.

This telematics data can be used to help combat bad practices by introducing a competitive element. One option is to set up a driver league table where drivers are encouraged to improve in a particular area – for example fuel efficiency – and rewarded at the end of a specified time period. Awards can be handed out to the most fuel-efficient driver on a monthly basis, with a final award at the end of the year.

Present the winner with their award while other colleagues are present, making sure to place emphasis on positive reinforcement and motivation for the wider team. By highlighting drivers’ strengths in relation to fuel efficiency in a positive way, you will encourage better fuel management and efficiency.

Connected King or Queen

One of the most transformative aspects of telematics technology is connectivity, with most systems featuring touchscreen operation, satellite navigation and hands-free functionality2.

Such in-cab technology can be vital in enabling fleet drivers to maintain contact with the control room, clients or customers and help inform elements of their journey such as route management and prioritisation.

A common challenge is persuading everyone within a team to embrace digital technology, so to encourage take-up, devise a ‘Connected King/Queen’ scheme that sees the most prolific and effective use of in-cab connected technology rewarded, possibly with a new piece of digital kit to pilot on behalf of the fleet.

Consider using internal digital platforms as well as social media to announce and celebrate the winner, therefore reinforcing the connective ethos that is becoming integral to the daily workings of a modern fleet.

Fleet safety master

Alongside productivity, safety is the most important aspect of fleet management and telematics lends itself to recording a range of safety features, including risk reports, in-vehicle coaching, accident notification, seatbelt reports and driving in reverse3.

With most telematics devices, whenever there is a driver event, a notification appears with a severity figure, usually rated from 1 to 5.

Severity ratings depend on the duration of an event, the speed of the vehicle while braking or steering, and the acceleration power of the vehicle.

This scoring makes it easy to introducing a competitive element to efficient driving. Naming and rewarding a ‘fleet safety master’ of the month according to the most impressive telematics safety data they return, could act as a motivating factor for the rest of the team, again emphasising the importance of safety, contextualising it against business goals and championing employee satisfaction.

The ‘safety master’ may even be asked to act as a mentor to other drivers. He or she could present to the rest of the team, giving the individual an elevated and respected position as a safety advocate.

Keeping your drivers motivated

Rather than wait until a driver’s annual review, endeavour to recognise them all year round by mentioning them by name at safety meetings, including them in regular newsletters and putting an official note of commendation on their driver’s file.

Introducing healthy – and light-hearted – competition can give drivers a goal to work towards and give them a strong incentive to focus on improving particular aspects of their driving. Telematics systems provide hard data so that drivers can see clearly how they’ve performed and provided the goals set out clearly and the task guidelines are transparent, your drivers are likely to respond positively to competing with their colleagues for a safety honour.

Make telematics data – from safety to efficiency – the basis for your regular appraisal of drivers. This will not only give them the confidence to embrace telematics technology but will act as a sign to others that telematics is central to business objectives.

Often, simply taking the time to chat with drivers, especially those who are new to the team, can act as a huge motivating factor, so make the effort to incorporate this ‘soft skill’ into your regular routine.

Safety will always be a priority but effectively communicating that alongside business goals in a busy and ever-evolving landscape is not always straightforward.

However, taking the time to implement creative solutions and strategies to engage employees could provide the motivation to drive your team on to bigger and better things.

And, of course, when implementing any of the activities suggested in this article, and indeed anything similar you devise, it is important to gain the consent of every employee involved and adhere to the relevant data privacy laws that your business is covered by 4.

  1. How Telematics Increases Fleet Fuel Savings
  2. How in-cab technology can help you and your drivers
  3. Fleet Telematics Tracking
  4. Data protection and your business




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