Fleet managers are searching for the answer to rising costs and safeguarding their businesses from costly legal claims. Automated fleet coaching is becoming an attractive option, allowing companies to maximize operational efficiency while providing drivers with vital safety training.
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Why Make the Change?
With 300 nuclear verdicts in just the last five years, the pressure is on for fleets to train their drivers on the importance of safe driving and to equip their vehicles with smart technology. Making the move to automated driver coaching has proven to be a company’s best tool when going against lawsuits and insurance claims. The reality is plaintiff attorneys go after the safety records of a fleet in addition to the actual event when constructing their argument. If your fleet does not have an active safety program in place then you are helping an attorney build their argument against you. This is why it’s crucial to have a weekly, monthly, or at least quarterly coaching practice.
An automated coaching program helps fleet managers train their drivers virtually and effectively. Dash cams capture real-time driver data and provide diagnostics – from speed limit warnings to seat belt alerts – allowing fleet managers to receive immediate feedback on driver performance. These events can be shared as coachable moments virtually so drivers can break bad driving habits quicker without having to be pulled into your office.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that fuel costs have risen 29 percent between 2020 and 2021 in addition to repair and maintenance costs rising by 16 percent. This is causing significant financial pressure on fleets. Using smart technology to automate coaching helps streamline their operations allowing them to do more with less.
Best Practices to Build an Automated Driver Coaching Program
When building your driver safety program, it’s important to establish what key elements you need to successfully enhance your company’s safety culture. Let’s dive into the following points:
- Gather what data you want organized and captured. AI-powered dash cams are able to capture distracted driving and high-risk driving events, giving your fleet the proof needed for exoneration when facing a claim. Ensure the technology you are looking into captures these events clearly and accurately. In addition to being able to capture certain behaviors, being able to find and use this information is vital. Make sure you are looking into systems that will organize captured data by alert type and will allow you to use this data to your advantage.
- Identify your goals for your fleet. Share your company’s safety goals on a regular basis. Having a driver coaching system that allows you to establish and track your fleet’s safety goals, whether it’s maintaining stop sign compliance or reducing hard braking, establishes a healthy work culture. Coming together as a team to meet a shared goal will enhance the effectiveness of your coaching.
- Emphasize how an automated coaching system is a driver’s advocate. Your drivers might not be eager to adopt an AI-powered coaching system. However, when you show them that the data captured can be used to not only exonerate them from a false insurance claim but also show how their safe driving skills are improving, they will see the system as a helpful tool. Automated coaching doesn’t have to just be after an event occurs. A reliable dash cam alerts drivers in real-time about potential risky driving behavior to prevent collisions before they happen.
- Focus on positive virtual driver coaching. While it’s important to coach risky driving habits, it shouldn’t be the center of the conversation you have with your drivers. When you give positive feedback in addition to addressing unsafe safe driving behaviors, you provide solution-based constructive criticism. Also, when you recognize and reward safe driving, your drivers are bound to repeat that behavior again and again. Through virtual driver coaching, managers are able to send videos for drivers to review with comments attached so communication stays clear and concise.
Strengthening Your Company Driver Safety Program
Implementing an effective driver safety program for your company is a critical aspect of minimizing liabilities, boosting employee morale, and keeping everyone safe on the road. To really strengthen your driver safety program focus on the following key elements:
- Keep it consistent. As mentioned earlier, it’s critical to coach your drivers on a regular basis. Maintaining consistent communication will ensure your team is reaching your established safety goals on time and that your drivers are getting the recognition they deserve. Also, having a record that your fleet is regularly trained on road safety will strengthen your defense when facing a lawsuit.
- Empower your drivers. Automated driver coaching allows you to give the tools your drivers need to maintain and improve their safe driving behavior. With a driver mobile app that has a rolling performance score based on both positive and risky driving behaviors, your drivers are able to accurately analyze their progress. A mobile app also ensures a driver’s working day is not interrupted by being brought into a manager’s office more than needed. In addition to giving your drivers the necessary tools to drive their job performance, it’s important to request feedback from them. Since your drivers are your greatest asset, they can provide you with important insight into what is working for them and what is hindering them while they complete their jobs.
- Have an incentive program. The key to repeated positive behavior and to an overall healthy work culture is to reward safe driving behaviors. Many companies have incentive programs in place whether it be a safety bonus given to the highest-performing drivers or as simple as mentioning them in the company newsletter. Also, healthy competition between drivers can go a long way. By awarding a safe driver on a monthly basis, or multiple drivers, you’ll create a need to succeed in your drivers.
Building an automated driver coaching program has helped many fleets save on costs and maintain driver safety especially when facing litigation costs and false insurance claims. By having a program that effectively trains your drivers on road safety you are protecting your business and other drivers on the road. Eager to take the next steps in building your automated driver coaching program? Explore Netradyne’s smart fleet management solutions to see how you can take your fleet operations to the next level.