Driving Record Monitoring
A well-crafted fleet safety program can provide significant benefits to organizations and public agencies of any size. Driver monitoring is an essential element of every fleet safety program. This is typically accomplished by evaluating and monitoring Motor Vehicle Records or MVR’s. MVR monitoring has been the standard practice to assure that drivers maintain an acceptable driving record, on and off the job. However, the MVR monitoring process is not perfect. There can be a significant lag time of weeks or months before a citation is posted to a drivers MVR, especially for serious offences likes DUI and reckless driving.
Vehicle telematics are not a new development in fleet safety. For over 20 years many operators of large commercial fleets have incorporated some form of telematics to obtain additional information about how and where their vehicles are operated. In recent years, the capabilities of telematics solutions have increased significantly. In addition to location, speed, and idling time, telematic systems today can provide valuable additional information:
Today’s telematic systems can alert drivers and supervisors at predetermined thresholds and can also be connected to road and cab facing cameras to obtain a far more accurate view of an event. A telematic program requires the support of senior management. Management not only must support the cost of implementation and ongoing system costs, but also the changes to organizational culture.
There is a tendency for employees to resist telematic programs, as they can be perceived as a tool that takes away flexibility and independence in job performance. Training can offset many of these concerns. It is important that employees understand the purpose of the telematics program is to improve overall fleet safety for the entire organization. Employees should also be educated and on what metrics are being monitoring and what driving behaviors will trigger alerts.
A County government with 3,000 drivers installed telematics throughout their fleet of commercial and private passenger vehicles in early 2018. The county informed employees that these systems would be installed, and internally monitored the data, with no employee notifications given for several months. When the County reviewed the preliminary data from their newly installed system, they found that over 80% of their drivers exceeded the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour, for more than 2 minutes, monthly. This was significantly higher than the county had anticipated.
In early 2019 after the county had internally monitored driver performance for more than six months, they established safety and performance goals to use as a benchmark for evaluating driver performance. These benchmarks were widely circulated to all employees, so that they would be aware of the desired goal and their individual performance.
The next step was to start notifying employees and their supervisors of any unsafe driving behaviors that exceeded the notification thresholds. As employees became aware of their own performance, behavior changed. By the end of 2019, the percentage of county drivers exceeding the speeding criteria was reduced from 80% to 2%. The county also experienced a 53% reduction in their at-fault vehicle accidents.
Telematic systems can be an incredibly valuable resource for any public agency. Those with installed telematic systems consistently experience a reduction in vehicle claims, an in improvement in driver awareness to unsafe behaviors, and see a significant reduction in fleet maintenance and fuel expenses.