Until the days of fully autonomous vehicles which still may be decades away, fleet managers will continue to deal with one major challenge: driver behaviour. As a fleet manager, you will naturally try to hire the best drivers possible to ensure the most efficient, safe, and compliant use of your company’s vehicles.
However, over time you may have noticed that even your most stellar candidates are starting to drive more sloppily, exhibiting reckless or poor driving practices. This is a major problem for a number of reasons, primarily the safety of your drivers and others who share the road.
However, going beyond the obvious point of safety, there are a number of ways that driver behaviour can also have significant impacts on your business’ bottom line. Read on to find out how bad driving can lead to higher fleet expenses and how fleet managers can solve this problem.
Bad driving defined
‘Bad driving’ is a vague term that can encompass a wide range of behaviours, so let’s take a moment to explain what we mean. In the context of this article, we’re not talking about illegal driving behaviours such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or using a mobile phone while driving. These, of course, are very serious offences which lead to high accident rates. If your fleet drivers exhibit these behaviours they should immediately be appropriately disciplined.
In this article, we’re focusing instead on poor driving practices such as speeding, rapid acceleration, harsh braking, aggressive driving, excessive idling, and tailgating. All of these factors can be considered bad driving which also impacts the safety of your driver and others on the road, including other car users as well as pedestrians and cyclists.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the ways that these undesirable driver behaviours can impact your bottom line.
Greater fuel consumption
Poor driving practices can often lead to increased fuel consumption. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking suddenly are all detrimental to fuel efficiency in your vehicles. In addition to this, idling can waste fuel and has a negative impact on greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, so it’s important that drivers avoid idling wherever possible.
Even though a few counts of harsh braking and acceleration may not waste much fuel on an individual level, the impact of this driver’s behaviour quickly adds up over time. As a result, your fleet vehicles will be getting through more fuel than necessary and the costs of filling the tanks will increase.
Higher vehicle maintenance expenses
Wear and tear on company vehicles can be increased by bad or reckless driving. For example, sudden stops can cause damage to the vehicle over time, while idling can contribute to wear and tear for the engine, transmission, and electrical systems.
Moreover, bad driving that involves rough handling of the vehicle and poor regular maintenance habits can also add to wear and tear over time that leads to higher maintenance costs in the future. This can rapidly add up, especially for organisations with large fleets of vehicles that require maintenance.
Increased insurance premiums
In addition to the obvious safety issues caused by bad driving, drivers with a history of traffic violations or accidents can cause your fleet’s insurance premiums to increase substantially. The company that owns the fleet then has higher insurance costs that can increase overall operational expenses.
Costly legal expenses
In the unfortunate instance of a road accident, this may lead to expensive litigation, lawsuits, and settlements. In addition to these costly expenses, legal consequences can also damage productivity and employee morale.
How can telematics and driver behaviour analysis help reduce fleet expenses?
Vehicle telematics plays an essential role in fleet management and can significantly reduce expenses incurred by bad driving practices. Vehicle telematics refers to using technological solutions for tracking, transmitting, and analysing data about vehicle fleets. Using GPS technology and data transfer via the cellular network, vehicle trackers can be installed within the car, HGV, van, or any other vehicle your company uses in order to send information to the vehicle tracking system. This information can be accessed using a desktop browser or mobile app and provides total visibility over the fleet at all times – essential for effective fleet management.
So how can telematics help lower the costs accrued due to bad driving? This is where driver behaviour analysis comes in.
Total visibility over driver behaviour
Crystal Ball’s driver behaviour solution provides visibility over harsh braking, speeding, idling, acceleration, and more. Using real-time data to measure drivers’ behaviours, the solution can generate detailed reports and analysis about driver behaviour and characteristics.
The reporting of each driver’s behaviour allows for the creation of driver league tables where individuals are ranked on their driving practices. The intuitive league tables make it easy to reward your top-performing drivers and identify candidates for further training. Then, you can easily monitor drivers to see if the additional training increases the quality of their driving. Hopefully, the analysis of their behaviour will show improvements. However, drivers who fail to improve can be disciplined or replaced with more efficient drivers, ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum.
As a way to cut costs in fleet management, focusing on driver behaviour is an invaluable technique. Poor driving practices can be expensive, leading to increased maintenance, fuel, and legal costs over time. With telematics and driver behaviour monitoring solutions like Crystal Ball’s FleetTracker, you can more effectively analyse driver behaviour and implement solutions to improve performance.