Road fatalities are at an all-time high these days. Mayank Sharma, the head of global product management at Teletrac Navman, says this is due to the fact that travel has increased as well as the amount of distractions a driver has at their disposal at any given time. These distractions include smartphones and even technology within a vehicle that takes attention away from the road.
Fleet managers should be concerned about this fact for more reasons than they might realize. The obvious reason fleet managers should be concerned is, of course, the lives and safety of their drivers. From a business perspective, fleet managers and fleet owners should strive to provide a safe environment for their employees. In a safe environment, not only are employees’ chances of an accident fewer, but the employee also feels valued by the company.
On a more objective level, Sharma says providing a safe environment for employees boils down to finances. Accidents are expensive for fleet businesses. Aside from the cost of the accident itself, when the vehicle involved undergoes maintenance, the fleet company must adjust to its downtime, which could mean forfeiting business.
Finally, Sharma says fleet owners and managers should make safety a priority because the company’s brand, or reputation, is at stake. When drivers travel within the community, they are the face of the business. It’s important that they drive safely, avoid accidents, and accurately reflect the values of the business they represent.
So what can fleet owners and managers do to ensure the safety of their drivers?
TALK ABOUT IT
First and foremost, never underestimate the value of an open conversation. Sharma says having an open, honest conversation with drivers about safe driving behaviors can help build trust with the driver while also highlighting their responsibilities and obligations representing the company behind the wheel.
Later, in-cab technology can help implement the strategies and directives discussed in the conversation. With technology solutions, such as Teletrac Navman, fleet managers can see a certain driver’s specific behaviors and coach the driver on where they can improve. Further, adding GPS technologies and dash cameras also provide resources to offer objective insight to fleet managers to help them have those conversations.
When it comes down to it, the fleet’s safety is dependent on the driver—after all, no matter how many coaching sessions the fleet offers, it’s ultimately the driver who makes the decisions behind the wheel. To ensure a safe driving experience, some telematics systems offer a driver version of the platform. Teletrac Navman offers a driver safety scorecard that shows the driver how well they are driving. For instance, if a driver drives too fast, their score dips. This driver platform also allows drivers to compare their performance with their peers. There is also an educational component to the platform showing the driver where they can improve and what behaviors to change to gain a better score. With these systems in place, drivers will be more aware of their driving behaviors.
Unfortunately, even if a fleet employees the safest drivers it can find, accidents are still a possibility when other drivers share the road. Sharma says Teletrac Navman has become increasingly focused on the use of visual data from integrated cameras. This allows fleet managers to dig deeper into road incidents and gain context into why events unfolded as they did. Whether the accident was or wasn’t the fault of the driver, the fleet manager can take the appropriate action knowing fully what occurred.
Additionally, a telematics system can help prevent accidents from the get-go. Teletrac Navman, although capable of providing insight into why an accident happened, is more concerned with preventing accidents altogether. Using AI algorithms Teletrac Navman developed, as well as through partnerships, the platform looks through data to discover accident trends and coach drivers in hopes to eliminate them as much as possible.
Although telematics systems and data can be a great tool to prevent accidents and keep drivers safe, telematics and data can only do so much. Sharma says driver coaching is the key—and absolutely crucial—to bringing down the number of fatalities. He says data collected through these systems and cameras is only useful when used to coach drivers. Teletrac Navman offers a safety analytics dashboard to fleet managers using its platform, which helps fleet managers see specific areas to coach their drivers.
Sharma says Teletrac Navman’s goal is to eventually get to a zero-fatality future by meeting the needs of its customers today and providing information to coach their drivers to become the safest on the road. Teletrac Navman is working to bring more dashcams and different types of video data to the table for its customers. It’s also working to improve preventive maintenance for its customers’ vehicles and assets. And finally, it continues its work to help ensure coaching conversations between fleet managers and drivers are taking place with tools to improve the conversation such as scorecards and fleet manager dashboards.
The road to zero-fatalities is long and winding, but decreasing the likelihood of even one accident makes it worth it.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Teletrac Navman is a software as a service company specializing in fleet and asset management. Find out more, visit www.teletracnavman.com.