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Having Trouble Getting Your Drivers To Accept Telematics? Try Engaging With Them!

One of the undoubted problems with installing telematics in your fleet is the battle to convince your drivers to accept fleet management tools within their vehicles. If you’re having trouble getting your drivers to accept the new introductions, then perhaps you need to try engaging with them a little bit more.

Telematics can cut fuel costs, maintenance costs and the time stuck idling in traffic. So why is that some drivers still have a problem with them?

Many drivers dislike the idea of having someone watching their every move, and probably resent the fact that you’re installing fleet management tools. They may even view it as a lack of trust in their abilities. These are valid points, but it’s important right from the start that you don’t reinforce these beliefs. Instead, use engagement to try and gain approval from your drivers and let them know that your not using fleet management tools to catch them out, but to save more money which can be sent on internal improvements.

Fleet management tools aren’t about relaying information about a driver back to managers, instead they should be viewed as a chance for drivers to improve their driving on the job by feeding live performance information straight back to the driver in the cab. They are then able to alter their behaviour accordingly and no further action needs to be taken.

Another great way of engaging with drivers, and helping them to embrace new telematics devices is by promoting a little bit of healthy competition. Nothing too competitive, you don’t want to create divisions within the team, but a fun league table that shows which are the worst drivers in terms of speeding, harsh braking, acceleration etc, can help you cut fuel costs by a significant amount. The TomTom Fresh Fleet Thinking blog cites the experiences of the Zenith Hygiene Group, who managed to cut fuel costs by £222,660 when they introduced league tables.

You might think that rewards for the best drivers would help make fleet management tools more popular but actually research suggests that drivers are more likely to engage with telematics if their efforts are simply acknowledged. Research has also found that if drivers are made aware of the collective benefits telematics provide then they are more likely to improve their own driving performance.

By all means reinforce what your drivers are doing with positive feedback. Constructive criticism and praise often gets shared amongst drivers, whilst negative feedback is kept to oneself. Encourage a culture of positive feedback and collaboration by setting an example.

The TomTom Fresh Fleet Thinking blog is full of examples where engagement with drivers has led to improved performances on the road. Chris Stone, Finance Manager at Scotia Gas Networks told TomTom about the monthly team meetings SGN had introduced where drivers are given “an open platform…to discuss performance, business developments and receive advice on how they might drive more economically.”

This had made the drivers more conscious of their actions. Mr Stone said that the recipe for success is “about having the right team spirit, balanced with a touch of healthy competition.”

Another TomTom client Michael Rayner, Director of TURRIS-UK Ltd said that by making it as simple as possible for drivers, managers and supervisors to keep in touch the company had managed to successfully install telematics devices in all their vehicles. Mr Rayner said that drivers “were receptive to making improvements, understood that we were looking to manage road risk and had their interests at heart.”

So, what does this tell us about how you should introduce telematics to your fleet? Well, put away the carrot and the stick and sit down with your drivers. Explain the benefits of fleet management tools with them, and you’ll find that they will be as open to change as you are!

After all, more money saved on fuel means more money for wages!

For more information, call G-Force on 01928 715 724.