Telematics for Driver Behaviour: Safety Expert’s Opinion
Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:9th October 2023
Telematics data has been “very effective” in encouraging behaviour change among drivers and improving fleet safety.
That’s the opinion of Dr Lisa Dorn, associate professor of driver behaviour at Cranfield University.
Speaking at a fleet seminar in Birmingham recently, Dr Dorn told delegates that there was still “a lot of work to be done” to help drivers overcome lapses that either resulted in or increased the risk of crashes.
How telematics improves driver behaviour
Introducing telematics to fleet vehicles was “an excellent way of monitoring behaviour”, she added.
“If drivers are not aware of the danger they are in, how can they be expected to change their behaviour? Telematics data is a good way for fleet managers to provide evidence to address the risk,” Dr Dorn claimed at the seminar hosted by the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO).
Telematics as a deterrent
Telematics systems offer a comprehensive look into your fleet cabins, and can track a great range of behaviours including harsh breaking, accelerating, and turning. Additionally, the right set of sensors can even monitor your driver’s use of their seatbelt. All these focuses can build a picture of your drivers’ behaviour, and given that driver behaviour correlates so significantly with driver safety, fleet managers can also identify how safely their fleet is operating too.
Dr Dorn also claimed that drivers reverted to bad habits when they knew telematics weren’t present and urged fleets to employ measures that were more in-depth in a bid to improve driver behaviour.
“When not being observed, driver behaviour returns to what it was, hence the benefits of telematics because drivers are being continuously monitored,” Dr Dorn said.
Accountability is important for any business, and whilst some staff may have their doubts about the function of telematics in fleet vehicles, its undeniable that drivers are more likely to abide by a high standard of behaviour when they know they are being monitored.
Talk about driver safety with your team
She urged fleet managers to have weekly conversations with their drivers to reinforce safety messages and prevent them from drifting back to previous habits.
As part of continuous health and safety training, ensuring your drivers are up to date on the latest in driver safety will help to prevent unnecessary mistakes and accidents. While investing in telematics is a great step towards improving the overall safety of your fleet, training is another investment opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
Dr Dorn concluded that to improve driver behaviour over the long term, fleets needed to combine telematics data and a coach, believing that drivers would eventually ignore the technology if telematics was left in the background.
Telematics from Fuel Card Services
If you aren’t already set up with a telematics system for your fleet vehicles, now is the right time to step up your fleet safety.
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