Reckless driving = fewer customers?

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Have you thought about the impact your drivers are having on your bottom line? Have you assessed and reviewed driving standards across your fleet? If you haven’t, it’s certainly time you did. According to recent research conducted by TomTom Telematics, over three quarters (77%) of Aussie motorists are less inclined to do business with companies whose drivers drive unsafely or discourteously.

It’s no secret, employees drive fleet vehicles in a very different manner to how they would drive their personal cars. But, left unchecked, this could significantly impact your bottom line and probably is already. And, it’s not just in fleet maintenance and petrol usage – it is costing you customers too. Particularly in today’s on-demand world where delivery is king, it is more important than ever before to have drivers act as your key brand ambassadors.

You may think poor driving standards are just one or two rogue drivers with a bad reputation, but the research found over half (52%) of Aussies motorists saying they have been put in a dangerous position by commercial drivers. We know this isn’t a case of consumers crying wolf either, with one in ten motorists, who have driven a company vehicle in the last year, admitting to driving recklessly.

However, I don’t believe professional drivers are driving recklessly on purpose or are solely to blame. I think it’s a mix of tight deadlines, high service level requirements and an ever increasing number of jobs they have to complete. This has a huge impact on the stress levels of the driver, which in turn places that stress on the road and their driving.

Getting lost, attempting a u-turn presumably designed for mini coopers, or even trying to re-navigate when confronted with a one-way street, are all daily stressful things that happen to professional drivers.

The good news is, driving behaviour can be improved and quickly.  

With telematics these daily nuisances can be simply overcome by preloading access restrictions, including dimensions, weight and hazardous materials of each individual trip and load. The fleet management tool will enable drivers to avoid bridges, small streets, sharp turns, and restricted roads as much as possible, ensuring a smoother journey, as well as helping keep drivers and cargo safe, by avoiding potentially risky routes.

Aside from road issues, Telematics technology also can play a key role in helping companies tackle driving standards problems by placing the technology in the hands of their employees. Providing employees with access to the appropriate training, guidance and technological aids, while supplying managers with real time data, driving and speed records, can ensure safe driving is a priority at every level of the business.

The Role of Telematics in Promoting Positive Driving Behaviour

Advanced fleet management technology can be used to encourage staff to adopt a safer, more efficient driving style, drastically reducing the risk of reckless driving. By tapping into vehicle diagnostics, these systems provide a previously unimaginable level of insight into habits and behaviour behind the wheel.

Drivers can access a full statistical breakdown for key elements of safe and efficient driving, such as idling, fuel consumption, speeding and even harsh steering or braking. The best bit is, as well as providing advice before, during and after their trip, this information is shared with the driver in real-time putting them in charge of improving their own driving style.

Today, the most advanced fleet management systems go above and beyond mere tracking and speed systems.  They aim to help drivers anticipate the road through active driver advice, telling them exactly what’s ahead, such as real-time traffic avoidance advice, like when to change lanes to avoid congestion, upcoming traffic lights and traffic jams.

Changing an employee’s driving behaviour is no easy task. Success in improving driver performance can help to unlock the door to more effective cost and road risk management, as well as help to reduce the risk of reputational damage – ever important in the days of online reviews and word of mouth extending beyond a consumer’s immediate network.

Working within your organisation to understand the importance of having the right tools to manage your fleet effectively can help positively impact your bottom line. By improving how you are perceived on the road and addressing driving behavior, businesses can establish themselves as responsible brands worthy of consumer trust.

In a world where public perception is crucial, a successful fleet management system can mean the difference between becoming a household name and becoming a notoriously risky business.

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christopher@mylogisticsmagazine.com'

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