Fleet Management: Driver Behavior Counts

Author, Sam Clayton, Vice President, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Image of commercial van driving on windy road.

When you give the car keys to your teenager for the first time, you wish you were sitting in the back seat controlling how they drive. Unfortunately, you have very limited control and the consequences of poor driving can be disastrous. It’s time to think of your employee drivers in a similar manner; these principles apply to your company’s fleet management program.

To gain some sense of control, you regularly perform fleet inspections and driver trainings. You also hire and manage according to driving records, which provides a picture of the employee’s past driving history. Though, if you are honest with yourself, you too have driven over the speed limit many, many times before you received your speeding ticket. So, a driving record is not the only way to gauge a driver’s behavior.

If you had an effective and efficient way to impact your driver’s behavior before a ticket or accident occurs, you would feel more confident about managing your fleet.

There are Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that can monitor some of the problem behaviors like speeding; however, the onus is on you (the employer) to analyze the information then act on it. Another problem with this type of system is willful negligence. What happens if you have the data, know of a problem, but don’t act? This could cause a major problem when an accident occurs because you knew of a driver’s poor behavior but did nothing specifically to correct it.

The insurance industry is in a commercial auto claims crisis. The cost of vehicle repairs have increased and whether you employ safe drivers or not the price to insure a vehicle is skyrocketing. Simply, the claims have exceeded the premiums collected and the carriers are trying to recover the loss. So, steering driver behavior is more important than ever for your bottom line.

To the degree you can control auto claims created by your employee drivers, the better your premiums will be. Fewer claims equal lower premiums — simple as that. Claims are caused from poor driving behavior. Improve drivers’ behavior on any given day, and you’ll reduce the number of accidents.

But, how do you do that?  Logistically, you can’t physically ride along with every employee to ensure they are driving safely, and offer real-time corrective guidance when they make mistakes.

As mentioned, there are GPS devises that measure driver behavior and performance. The devices will consolidate the information; but, it is up to the employer to analyze and act on the information.

Ask yourself, do I have enough time to consistently review this information and implement the correct plan of action? Do I have the resources available to manage this process?

If you are unsure and would like to learn about automated ways to track, manage and correct behaviors likes seatbelt usage, speeding, harsh braking, acceleration and corning, join us at our upcoming Fall workshop, “Driver Behavior is What Counts” and learn how to effectively and efficiently improve your fleet management practices and reduce premiums using smart technology.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Sam Clayton at (619)937-0167.