How to Avoid the Need for Driver Behavior Modification
Implementing a strong fleet driving policy can go a long way in proactively avoiding negative behaviors. And it’s a good starting point for keeping your fleet safe and productive. Beyond that, ongoing driver behavior modification allows you to continually refine your fleet and curb problem areas before they get out of hand.
But what if you could take it one step further and avoid the need for driver behavior modification altogether?
Here are some specific aspects of fleet driving you can automatically control to limit risk exposure and protect your drivers and assets:
Require Seat Belts to Be Fastened Before Driving
Wearing a seat belt is a fundamental part of fleet driving safety, and failing to do so can have lethal consequences. “Of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts,” explains the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts, in 2017 alone.”
Requiring drivers to wear seat belts should be one of the first mandates in a fleet policy, and in most cases, drivers will comply. However, it’s not realistic to expect that every driver across an entire fleet will do so 100% of the time. Therefore, rather than taking a reactive approach and making driver behavior modification after someone has failed to wear their seat belt, you can use a seat belt compliance feature that requires drivers to buckle up before taking off.
That way they cannot operate their vehicle without first wearing their seat belt, making this a simple yet effective solution. This feature is found in fleet management software to ensure that failing to buckle up doesn’t become a liability. So rather than merely taking your drivers at their word that they’ll buckle up, this solution eliminates the possibility of seatbelt issues.
Prevent Cell Phone Usage While Driving
Another significant safety concern is distracted driving, where fleet drivers either talk or text on a mobile phone while driving. 3,142 people died in vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers in 2019, making this a severe issue for fleet managers to address. Banning drivers from using cell phones while operating their vehicles in a fleet policy is a good form of prevention. But it’s unrealistic to expect it to be completely effective. Fortunately, you can prevent cell phone usage and take your risk level to zero with the right software solution.3,142 people died in vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers in 2019 Click To Tweet
A great example is VQ Safety, which uses Distracted Driving Prevention Cell Blocking — a technology that pairs with a driver’s phone so that it can’t be used based on vibration sensors and speed. Once this software senses a vehicle is in motion, it temporarily locks the cell phone and prevents it from being used. Consequently, you don’t have to wait for an incident to happen and then reprimand a driver for engaging in distracted driving. Instead, you eliminate the behavior from ever happening in the first place.
Given distracted driving has become an epidemic in recent years, this technology can be a breakthrough for your fleet.
Speeding presents several problems for fleets:
- It puts drivers, passengers, and everyone else on the road in danger
- It increases fuel consumption (gas mileage drops dramatically after 50 mph)
- It’s detrimental to the environment and increases carbon emissions
- It creates added wear and tear often resulting in premature maintenance
It’s a bad deal all the way around. And while setting a maximum speed limit in your fleet policy should have an impact, unfortunately not every driver will abide by it. That’s where a speed governor comes in. The VQ Safety speed governor feature restricts the maximum speed a driver can go based on your fleet policy.
With it, there’s simply no way a driver can exceed the speed limit, thus eliminating the need for driver behavior modification. In turn, you have complete peace of mind that your fleet drivers are moving at acceptable speeds, which keeps them and other drivers safer, reduces fuel consumption, makes your fleet more eco-friendly, and decreases wear and tear.
Eliminate Unnecessary Idling
Excessive vehicle idling is a significant problem for fleet managers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 6 billion gallons of fuel are consumed each year without vehicles even moving. And roughly half of that involves medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles. Without taking steps to cut back on vehicle idling, it can dramatically increase your fleet’s fuel costs and contribute to today’s growing emissions problem.
While educating drivers on eliminating unnecessary idling can help somewhat, it doesn’t fix the problem. But using vehicle calibrations to reduce your fleet’s carbon footprint can have a dramatic impact. VQ Efficiency is a solution specifically designed to reduce the idle rate without compromising ventilation or heating. Once installed, the vehicle will experience a significant drop in idling by lowering the standard idle RPM. As a result, the vehicle burns less fuel and releases fewer harmful gasses into the atmosphere.
The entire process only takes 30 minutes, but it goes a long way in making your fleet more eco-friendly. You no longer have to engage in constant driver behavior modification because VQ Efficiency automatically keeps idling at an absolute minimum. But if you’re curious to see how drivers perform across your fleet, it still provides you with near-real-time data to see who’s hitting their idling targets.
Minimize Fuel Usage
One final aspect of fleet management that technology can improve is fuel usage. Given that fuel contributes to around 60% of a fleet’s overall operating budget, managers should do everything to encourage drivers to trim back on fuel consumption. As we mentioned earlier, a couple of examples are not speeding and minimizing idling. But that can also include avoiding fast acceleration and deceleration, coasting whenever possible, and gentle breaking.
Instilling intelligent driving behavior during initial training and providing ongoing feedback can help reduce fuel usage. But you can take it one step further by adjusting the automatic transmission parameters through a platform like VQ Efficiency.
Doing so “greens” your operation provides a smoother driving experience where much less fuel is used without directly changing any driver behavior. When used in conjunction with the other strategies listed above, this can be the icing on the cake for establishing a more productive, fuel efficient fleet. In terms of impact, most fleets see their fuel bills drop by an average of 6-10%. A real-life example is Comcast, America’s 5th largest commercial fleet who saved a total of $8.2 million after implementing this solution.
Optimizing Driver Behavior with Zero Effort
You can accomplish a lot through developing solid fleet policies, driver education, and capitalizing on corrective opportunities. But you can do even more by preventing the need for driver behavior modification altogether. As we’ve just learned, this can involve safety where you require drivers to wear a seat belt, stay off their phone during transit, and not exceed a maximum speed. Or, it could be efficiency-related where a driver avoids unnecessary idling or minimizes their fuel usage.
Adopting cutting-edge technology like Derive VQ can assist you in all of these areas and take your fleet operations to a whole new level. You can learn more about how Derive VQ enhances driver safety and boosts fuel efficiency here.