Fleet Managers Reinforce Your Driver Coaching Strategies

Coaching and educating drivers is an ongoing responsibility for fleet managers, making it crucial to continually know what your driver’s habits are as well as understand how the ever-evolving vehicle technology space is influencing their behaviors.

A recent survey from J.J. Keller and Associates that analyzed the current state of fleet management helped to identify a number of top pain points in the industry, including what some of the top gaps in driver knowledge skills were according to fleet managers. This included:

  • how to avoid distracted driving
  • how to avoid injury while working and driving
  • how to safely and correctly operate their vehicles
  • how to avoid backing accidents

Distracted driving caused 938,000 driving accidents in 2018.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Distracted driving was at the top of this list, and understandably so. Even more recent preliminary data found that traffic fatalities, overall, rose in 2020, which reinforces the idea that proper driver education is more important than ever.

Fleet Managers Should Closely Monitor New Drivers

A critical component to coaching and educating drivers is to first understand how they operate on the road; you wouldn’t necessarily want to spend time coaching a specific driver on the negative impacts of speeding if they are only having issues with harsh braking.

However, the problem areas of new drivers might not be immediately apparent. Properly educating new drivers on the do’s and don’ts of driving for your fleet is essential, as you want company expectations clearly explained early on.

Indeed, the first year of driving a commercial motor vehicle is generally the riskiest, regardless of age in terms of crash rates, crash involvement, and moving violations, according to a report from the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence.

An essential method to know about your driver’s on-road behaviors early on is through regular reviews of their motor vehicle records. This can help you reinforce what items of coaching and education you want to focus on for your drivers.

Equipping vehicles with telematics technologies – like those made available from GPS Trackit – can help you identify more quickly what kind of drivers are in your fleet if motor vehicle records prove to be too slow of a methodology for your fleet to review. These technologies, when combined with driver coaching strategies, have proved to successfully reduce negative driver behaviors.

A study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute observed a fleet of oilfield workers and found that instances of speeding dropped by 60% and aggressive driving decreased by 50% when they implemented in-vehicle monitoring systems along with being coached to avoid excessive speed, sharp turns and hard braking.

Understand Driver Assisting Technology Trends

The ongoing development of advanced driver-assistance systems for vehicles has made these technologies increasingly commonplace in newer model years. However helpful they may be, these solutions are not going to eliminate driver-caused accidents altogether, and can possibly be detrimental if your drivers are not properly educated.

A recent study from AAA analyzing vehicles equipped with active driving assistance systems found the vehicles experienced some type of issue every eight miles over roughly 4,000 miles of real-world driving, on average.

Researchers noted instances of trouble with the systems that kept the vehicles in their lane and approaching other vehicles and guardrails too closely. Because of this, the study noted that there is a concern where drivers may become too dependent on the “perks” of the technology and not be entirely mindful of the road and realizing that having the full attention of the driver is still absolutely necessary.

To prevent these issues from becoming problematic later on, if your fleet has vehicles with similar solutions equipped it will help if you are educating yourself on these technologies early on before utilization so you can better identify how you may want to coach your drivers moving forward.

Comparing Crash Rates for Passenger Vehicles Versus Professional Fleet Drivers

The recent NHTSA study that observed road fatalities being up in 2020 interestingly also found that, despite the concerning rise in automotive deaths overall, fatalities involving large trucks went down.

“Total estimated fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck, decreased by 2 percent from 2019 to 2020. This estimate is based on the involvement of large trucks in crashes, both commercial and non-commercial,” according to the NHTSA study.

Adding to this, another study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute investigated the relationship between crashes and near-crashes of light vehicles and heavy vehicles and found that 78% of the instances were initiated by the light-vehicle driver. The study noted light vehicle at-fault incidents may be the result of inadequate training in driver education programs about sharing the road with heavy vehicles.

This study helps to confirm that proper fleet education in all industry segments is crucial, as well as the education of understanding the functioning of vehicles other than the ones that are in your operations. Having this better understanding will better prepare you to handle coaching needs that your fleet may need to address.

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.

Sources Cited:
https://www.jjkeller.com/learn/jj-keller-survey-reveals-the-state-of-fleet-management
https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812926
https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813115
https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/97727
https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/97959/NSTSCE_OilGas_Final.pdf
https://newsroom.aaa.com/2020/08/aaa-finds-active-driving-assistance-systems-do-less-to-assist-drivers-and-more-to-interfere/
https://www.vtti.vt.edu/PDFs/nstsce/Teens_final.pdf