Face it — no matter how important telematics or safety is to a fleet, it’s the drivers who are in control. If they don’t buy into the need for driving more safely, a fleet’s safety performance isn’t going to change.
So, the question is: how do you get drivers to buy-in to new driver safety technologies like telematics, and how do you get them to change their driving behavior?
Let’s count the ways:
1. It starts from the very top.
When you look at the companies with the best safety records, you’ll find they all have one thing in common: the CEO is a proactive marketer of driver safety. He or she conveys what safety means to the company, both in terms of the human and business costs, and ensures that the driver safety philosophy is communicated to every employee.
More importantly, the CEO is responsible for addressing the fleet’s biggest safety problems, lowering its driver accident rate and setting clear goals and timelines for reducing negative driver behaviors. Upon establishing safety goals, management will have the ability to hold drivers accountable and ensure that the entire fleet is involved.
2. Communicate expectations and help drivers meet the safety standards in place.
No number of accidents should be considered acceptable within any fleet that takes safety seriously. In order to meet such a high standard, you cannot be reactive when it comes to safety – you need to be proactive. But how should you respond when things go wrong?
When a data point of concern arises, approach a driver right after a shift or right before the next shift and say, “The data shows us that you had more hard stops today than you had the day before, and we’d like to know what you saw out there and what was going on.” Specific, data-based questions – as opposed to accusatory remarks – will lead to productive coaching conversations that improve behaviors and business processes.
3. Identify what’s in it for them.
When a telematics system is introduced, drivers are likely to object because they don’t want “big brother” looking over their shoulder. Get drivers over the fence by ensuring them that the company’s most important goal is to get them home safely every day. One way to drive this point home is by proactively educating your drivers and their families on the dangers of distracted driving.
To mark our 100-billionth mile of driver data analyzed, we conducted a study to quantify exactly how bad the distracted driving problem has become. We found that 69-million drivers use their phones behind the wheel every day, far higher than the 660,000 daily distracted drivers reported by government data. Conveying to families the extent of the problem will help you persuade drivers that this is about “being your brother’s keeper” and helping reduce the number of collisions caused by distracted driving.
4. Give risky drivers extra attention.
Identifying drivers who exhibit specific risky behaviors is crucial to understanding the distribution of risk in your fleet and constructing the best coaching program to mitigate it. Backed by a dataset of over 150 billion miles, Zendrive has determined that the worst 25% of drivers cause over 50% of collisions. By identifying your worst drivers and creating tailored coaching programs to help them get back on course, you are more likely to maximize the effects of your driver coaching program and prevent future collisions.
No matter how bad they really are, most drivers believe they’re more skilled than others while on the road. Risky drivers have this belief reinforced by the relatively infrequent experiences they have receiving traffic tickets and being in accidents. By requiring these drivers to undergo extra remedial attention in the form of safety coaching and defensive driver training, you can help drivers identify blind spots in their approach and improve their safety while mitigating collision costs.
Let’s face it – some drivers have strong egos. Work this to your advantage by triggering their competitive side! Fleets that post their drivers’ safety scores for all to see can get adamant drivers to buy-in when top performing drivers earn bragging rights. It’s bound to kick some extra motivation into even the most stubborn drivers, encouraging them to outperform the pack and achieve better safety scores. Always remember to recognize and reward safe drivers on a regular basis to get your risky drivers to emulate those who are mastering the art of driver safety.
Whether it’s activating new technologies or stirring up healthy competition in your fleet, it’s never too late to start building a culture of safety that saves lives, cuts ongoing costs and keeps your fleet running the way it should be.