For many organisations, it can be hard to strike the right balance between safeguarding the wellbeing of employees and adopting too much of a ‘nanny state’ position. Driver telematics is an innovation that is being heavily introduced in businesses where road travel and transportation are essential, these include haulage, delivery and taxi services. Here is a quick introduction to driver telematics and whether you should use them in your workforce.
What is driver telematics?
In a health and safety sphere, driver telematics is a term applied to any form of technology or innovation that looks to improve the safety of driver’s operation machinery and vehicles. They can come in the form of wearables, vehicle fitted software and warning technologies.
In order for driver telematics to be useful, it has to achieve the objectives that were set out for its installation. We recommend setting some clear aims around what your organisations are looking to achieve, whether it be reducing the recorded number of driver-related accidents by 15% or reducing fuel consumption. For many of the different metrics, you will need to have reliable baseline data from the organisation to measure any new data against.
What can driver telematics help with?
One of the key benefits of using driver telematics is the wide range of useful and accurate data it can give you. However, this data only becomes valuable when it is put to good use. Some of the benefits of driver telematics include:
- Identify areas where training can be provided and add value
- Help identify contributing factors to workplace incidents
- Uncover areas for economic-based improvements
- Understand timing pressures and certain troublesome routes
- Can help to identify employees who are safe or unsafe drivers
In addition to the opportunity for driver telematics to prevent accidents in an immediate and obvious timeframe, they also have the potential to encourage better driver behaviour in the long run. Good driver telematics can act as a way to motivate employees who operate the vehicle. Having a telematics system also encourage positive feedback from people managers and could be used in line with an incentive system for good driving behaviour.
Important research suggests employees who are lacking in motivation will pay less attention when driving, causing the potential for more incidents in the long run.
What are some examples of driver telematics products?
One of the most widely known examples of driver telematics is the black box. This technology is used frequently by first-time drivers to help bring car insurance premiums down. The black box device records variables like acceleration, handling, speed and braking. Measurements of these variables can then be used to calculate a score around the safety of the driving.
Other telematics devices include hardware which can manage the safe operations of vehicles within a warehouse environment for example. This can include technology which prevents certain vehicles from operating in an area where they could pose a safety issue if a certain requirement has not been fulfilled.
Driver safety may not be a high concern when transportation is not key to the job
It is easy to enter excess with driver telematics, however, there are some situations where it may not be necessary. In office-based roles which require frequent travel to meetings, it may be uneconomical to monitor the driving of your employees. It may also add a sense of distrust between themselves and the organisation.