Driver Coaching with Telematics

Driver coaching is a crucial component of any fleet’s safety program. And that’s just the beginning. An effective safety program not only keeps your drivers safe and protects your fleet’s reputation, but it also leads to lower driver turnover, better CSA scores, and higher profitability.

At MiX Telematics, we know how critical fleet safety is, and the challenges fleet managers face when creating and fostering a safety culture in their fleets. Faced with statistics showing that the driver was at fault in 84% of fatal truck accidents, fleet managers need a fleet safety solution with the right tools to implement and enhance a fleet safety program.

What Is Driver Coaching?

In the simplest terms, driver coaching is the educational resources you provide to your fleet drivers to help improve driver behavior. This helps drivers implement better driving practices, increasing the number of safe drivers on the road. A fleet safety program is designed to proactively manage safety events and make driver coaching simpler, with the overall goal of improved driving and road safety. With the right program, these two results go hand-in-hand.

As fleets grow, what may have been a more straightforward process becomes more complicated. One-on-one coaching becomes more complex and less effective. With the right tools and the ability to access insightful metrics, a fleet safety program can be effective for fleets of all sizes.

How Driver Coaching and Telematics Helps Identify At-Risk Drivers

Driver coaching and telematics help you monitor potentially unsafe and problematic driving patterns so that you can intervene before they become bigger issues. You can assign your drivers a safety score and rank them based on events that you define, such as speeding, harsh braking, and more. You can then identify high-risk drivers and engage with them to provide the coaching they need to improve. Not only can you get a detailed view by driver and motor vehicle, but you can also get a big-picture view of how the entire fleet is performing.

Telematics apps such as MyMiX track driver performance and give them access to the results, so they can see if they have improved or not. With engaging images and displays, the information is easy to digest and understand. Drivers can see if they have improved, by how much, and behaviors they need to work on.

This app solves one of the most significant issues that can lead to a lack of motivation – drivers not seeing their own progress. Each driver can view their scores and compare them to their previous results. They are also ranked against other drivers, which can promote a friendly, competitive spirit. This provides an incentive to build better habits and improve their scores.

3 Tips for a Successful Driver Coaching Program

To successfully coach your drivers, it’s not enough to track them and let them know what they’re doing wrong. Rather, you need to coach them towards a better safety record and motivate them to change. Developing a driver safety program, clearly communicating it to your drivers, and implementing it throughout the fleet will do precisely that.

Create Awareness

Almost nothing creates awareness more than seeing the numbers. This means tracking and measuring driver behavior and then letting everyone in your fleet see the numbers. This can foster regular conversations with drivers about their data that create coaching opportunities to improve dangerous and risky behaviors. It also helps keep safety front of mind and transforms safety from a talking point or box to be checked into a part of your fleet’s culture. In addition to tracking your drivers’ data, you can post their safety scores and give top-performing drivers recognition. This not only rewards those who improve but helps get buy-in from other drivers.

Coaching and Collaboration

Safety culture doesn’t work if it is only top-down. It needs buy-in from the entire fleet's organization/drivers to be successful. While improving driver behavior is the goal, coaching also helps identify gaps in your business processes as well. In addition to giving feedback to drivers, you can ask them how management can help them improve. Do they need better routes? Letting drivers know you value their input makes them feel like they are a part of the solution. Pairing your drivers’ experience with real-time data will help improve your safety culture initiatives.

Specificity

Coaching conversations can be uncomfortable and unproductive unless they are done right. A general "your driving isn’t up to par” or “your driving isn’t improving the way we’d like” will always put drivers on the defensive. Plus, they may not know what behavior you are referring to. Instead, use a formula that addresses the specific issue and helps the driver find ways to improve, such as:

  • The data shows that you were speeding more than usual today, and we’d like to know what conditions may have caused this.
  • What can we do better?
  • How can we make this easier and safer for you and the fleet?

Asking open-ended questions helps you get actionable insights and identify drivers who exhibit exemplary driving behavior. With ongoing coaching and measurement, you can improve driver behavior and overall fleet safety.

Features of Driver Coaching with Telematics

Driver coaching and telematics are powerful tools used to not only modify driver behavior but generate important, actionable data when integrated into fleet management solutions.

Real-Time Fleet Safety Monitoring

With telematics, you can track risky and dangerous driving such as speeding, harsh cornering, and harsh braking in real time. The software can be configured to update you when risky driving is detected. The software can also log this behavior, and you can review it to identify any fleet drivers that need additional coaching.

Driver Engagement Apps

Driver engagement apps track the performance of drivers and give them access to their results so they can see how they are doing. Drivers can see their progress and interact with a performance dashboard. You can use this to create a driver incentive program to motivate drivers to improve.

In-Vehicle Driver Feedback

Real-time driver feedback helps drivers correct their behavior before it gets worse or causes an accident or crash.

In-Cab Displays

With different warnings and notifications that you can customize, in-cab displays are useful tools for driver coaching. You can choose visual or audible notifications to help your drivers improve their behavior.

In-Cab Video

In-cab videos can be an effective learning tool when you need to help your drivers better understand what they did wrong and why they need extra coaching or training.

Benefits of Driver Coaching with Telematics

Driver coaching with telematics can improve driver behavior and performance, boost fleet fuel economy, and improve safety. Because of all the data you get, you can focus training on the areas where it is needed the most.

Speeding, idle time, hard braking, distracted driving, vehicle inspections, and fuel consumption are just a few of the driver behaviors MiX Telematics'solutions can capture. But collecting the data is one thing, analyzing it and following up on it is another. Using this information to effectively coach drivers delivers the best results. Here are some of the benefits of telematics-based driver coaching.

Improve Fleet Safety

Real-time alerts let a driver know when their behavior is dangerous or risky and allow them to self-correct. They can also alert you and, if needed, you can provide coaching in real time.

Reduce Driver Turnover

The most costly option for any fleet manager is when they have to fire someone. This entails hiring and training new drivers, which takes up valuable time and can cost real money. With driver coaching and telematics tools, you can help drivers improve their behavior by customizing a training program that speaks to their weaknesses. You can give them individualized attention without having to be there with them. In addition, you can tailor the training to the type of vehicle or equipment they use.

Reduce Speeding and Idling

Speeding and excess idling are two of the least fuel-efficient behaviors. Reducing instances of these behaviors can help reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption and therefore reduce overall fuel costs. It can also reduce the occurrence of accidents and improve fleet safety. Often, drivers speed without even realizing it, with telematics coaching tools, you can alert them in real time so that they can reduce their speed and build good driving habits.

Increase Driver Motivation

By identifying your top-performing drivers and publicly recognizing their contributions with driver scorecards, you can motivate drivers to improve their performance. You can encourage friendly competition with a fleet-wide gamification program.

How Dashcams Improve Driver Coaching

Dashcams are a valuable tool for coaching drivers on being safer on the road and reducing or eliminating risky behaviors. Sometimes, drivers may not realize or be skeptical about whether their driving habits are risky. Video footage provides evidence that can help drivers better understand their behavior.

In general, in-cab video systems only record footage when a predefined event is triggered. As soon as that event happens, you can review it and decide if you need to discuss the footage with the driver. You can then offer the relevant training based on the conversation.

You can also use video footage to assign scores to drivers based on their performance in accordance with company policy. Using these scores, you can reward good drivers and provide coaching to drivers who need it.

In this regard, you can gamify your training program. Gamification is the act of applying game mechanics or theory to non-game contexts. Gamification has been proven to motivate behavioral changes. When drivers have access to their scores, they can track their performance and see themselves improve. In addition, video footage can make it easier for drivers to learn and retain new knowledge.

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