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Distracted and Aggressive driving – and how to combat it with fleet solutions.



As a fleet operator, you know that one of the biggest challenges in managing a fleet is dealing with drivers behaving badly. From reckless driving to speeding, aggressive behaviour, and distracted driving, these actions not only pose a risk to safety but also have a huge impact on a business’s finances, reputation and even customer relationships.

For many fleet businesses, drivers are instrumental in keeping everything up and running, but how drivers behave behind the wheel determines how far your fleet business can go.

There is good news though – fleet solutions can help combat bad driver behaviour effectively. In this article, we will explore how fleet solutions, driver training and motivation can address these challenges and provide practical strategies to promote safer and more efficient driving habits.

Drivers and their place within a fleet

If you’ve ever wondered ‘who is a fleet driver and what is their purpose?’ Fleet drivers are employees who drive cars, trucks, or other vehicles, picking up and dropping off cargo, people, various items or raw materials within a factory, site or on the road.

Just like any other employee their skills are sought-out and contribute to the business like every other employee, however in addition to their normal duties they are often the middleman between the business and customers.

To be eligible to transport items, the following qualifications are required:

  • Valid driver’s licence (depending on vehicle type)
  • Clean driving record
  • Optimal customer service skills
  • Proficient defensive driving techniques

What is Bad Driving? 

Aggressive driving can be extremely dangerous, and it’s considered one of the leading causes of road accidents. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that road traffic crashes are on the rise. As stated in the WHO’s research on injury deaths, crashes are expected to become the fifth cause of death by 2030! 

Weeding out bad drivers from the good ones is crucial to increase your fleet’s performance. But, what should your driver not be doing so that your vehicles remain safe and healthy? Here’s a list of things that constitute bad driving behaviour:

  • Improper braking 
  • Harsh cornering 
  • Distracted driving 
  • Sudden acceleration 
  • Over speeding 
  • Risky and unsafe driving 
  • Driving when drowsy 
  • Resting hand on the gear lever

As a fleet manager, the protection of your drivers and vehicles is of utmost importance. However, to protect them, you need to know first if you have any aggressive drivers among your crew. This will help you be proactive; how?

By utilizing Telematics to monitor your drivers and their on-the-job activities. It’s the only way to promptly assess and address any driving misconduct.

Aggressive drivers are easy to spot, and their behaviours typically include:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Ignoring red lights and traffic signs
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Abrupt braking
  • Changing lanes unexpectedly, even without signalling
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Making a sharp turn
  • Driving and passing on the shoulder of the road
  • Honking, or flashing headlights without reason
  • Cussing, gesturing, or threatening other road users

Fortunately, with fleet monitoring tools you can track your vehicles, and get real-time alerts concerning unsafe driving behaviours.

The impact of bad driver behaviour

Bad driver behaviour can have significant consequences for your fleet. Here are 6 ways that poor driving behaviours and bad road habits can cost your company money:

  • Fuel consumption can be increased by up to 15% by bad driving habits, such as harsh accelerating and braking, rough gear changing and swerving.
  • Driving and treating fleet vehicles poorly, increases wear & tear and leads to rising maintenance costs.
  • Reckless driving will always shorten the life span of a fleet vehicle, which will cost money to replace – sooner than you would like.
  • All road accidents and incidents that happen due to reckless driving, can increase the vehicle insurance costs and premiums across the fleet.
  • Damaging any goods in transit is the responsibility of the delivery company being used, this is a major concern when accidents occur in your fleet.
  • Poor driver behaviour and bad road habits can cause delays in your company’s service delivery and damage the reputation of your fleet.

Moreover, it affects customer satisfaction, damages your company’s reputation, and results in reduced productivity and increased fuel consumption. Recognising the negative impact of bad driver behaviour is the first step towards addressing the issue.

Why is improving fleet driver behaviour important?

Your drivers are the most valuable assets of your fleet business. How they behave on the road is a direct reflection of your business culture. Bad driving paints a negative picture for potential customers driving alongside the branded vehicle. And bad customer service does the same thing since drivers are often the first interaction customers receive from a business after ordering/partnering with them.

So, if you wish to streamline your operations and take your business a step further, you must improve fleet driver behaviour first through driving behaviour monitoring and training.

For this, you need to know exactly which behaviours to address; this way, you can adjust your coaching accordingly, and be effective in instilling a safe driving mindset among your employees. This will be most effective if you remember that not all drivers struggle with the same thing and learn at different paces.

The role of fleet solutions

Fleet solutions offer a range of tools and technologies to monitor and combat bad driver behaviour, including speeding, harsh braking, and acceleration.

Dash cams and fleet cameras, for example, provide real-time insights into driver performance by capturing video evidence to identify risky behaviour, while driver scorecards help assess driver performance and identify areas for improvement.

These fleet solutions act as your eyes and ears on the road, empowering you to take proactive measures to combat bad behaviour.

How do you spot it?

  1. Utilise real-time alerts and notifications

Real-time alerts are probably the most efficient way to act proactively and correct any dangerous driving behaviour as they happen. To be more specific, you will instantly know if one of your drivers is:

  • Accelerating abruptly
  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Braking harshly
  • Cornering too quickly

These alerts may save lives – if not your business – from incalculable costs and a bad reputation.

  1. Analyse your fleet vehicles’ travel logs

Analysing your fleet vehicle trip logs is another efficient way to improve fleet driver behaviour. Travel logs offer an overview of driving activity. Over time, you will begin to see specific driving patterns and habits, which you can address in your training programme.

  1. Identify driving patterns

Through your vehicle management platform, you can set metrics to determine what driving behaviour is considered hazardous. Based on this data you can generate driver behaviour reports and driver scorecards to help monitor progress, improve fleet driver behaviour, and increase operational efficiency.

What can you do about it?

  1. Promoting safe driving habits

With fleet solutions in place, you can implement various strategies to promote safe driving habits among your drivers.

Driver training programmes and clear fleet policies are an effective way to educate and train drivers on defensive driving techniques, road safety, and the consequences of bad behaviour such as tailgating or frequent lane changing, can be addressed.

Regular coaching sessions based on data from fleet solutions can help drivers improve their performance and make better decisions on the road. Incentive programmes provide positive reinforcement and recognition for drivers who consistently exhibit good behaviour.

Fleet solutions can also help combat distracted driving by providing tools to prevent mobile phone usage while driving, and monitoring driver focus on the road.

Speeding is a common issue that increases the risk of accidents. By utilising fleet solutions, you can monitor speed violations, set speed limit alerts, and provide immediate feedback to drivers.

  1. Be aware of your drivers’ stress and fatigue levels

It’s common knowledge that stressed or fatigued drivers are more likely to behave aggressively behind the wheel. Usually, that happens when they’ve been working many hours, or when they’re facing a tight deadline; not unexpectedly, the traffic on the road makes things worse — and that’s when aggressive driving kicks in.

A practical way to fight against it is to create a smooth and honest line of communication with your drivers; while, of course, keeping their Hours of Service in check. This way, they will feel free to talk to you about any schedule concerns; or any other issues, job-related or not, that may be affecting their performance. 

  1. Hiring responsible drivers

An effective fleet safety program begins with the driver recruitment process. Start by finding the right drivers that meet the business’s fleet driver standards. Having a skilled driver with experience in driving fleet trucks would be beneficial.

The idea is to build a reliable and safe team of skilled drivers who understand the importance of fleet safety and prioritise it as much as possible. Hiring drivers who are like-minded in terms of work ethic, attitude and driving skills might result in having a low fleet driver turnover rate.

  1. Keep a continued focus on fleet safety

The importance of overall fleet safety needs to be repeated regularly. With constant use of safety procedures, this idea will become the norm and integrate itself into the business’s culture.

Sharing important fleet safety metrics with your drivers, fleet managers, and safety officers frequently is also recommended. Seeing the benefits that the safety program brings will validate the effectiveness of the fleet safety program. The habit will continue and be properly implemented into the training programs of new drivers.

5. Adoption of your company policies

Company policies relating to the safe operation of vehicles establishes a uniform understanding of your expectations.

A good example is a policy that covers mobile phone use (or the use of any mobile electronic device) while operating a company owned, leased or personal vehicle on company business. Similarly, a policy that requires drivers to be medically fit ensures that they have suitable health and fitness levels before driving a company vehicle. 

6. Enforce the Rules

A policy can only be effective if it is backed by the enforcement of real and established consequences for non-compliance. Drivers won’t alter their unsafe driving practices simply because a policy is in place. It’s up to your Fleet Managers to enforce policies, regardless of any challenges or resistance in doing so.

In some instances, there can be costs associated with failing to implement and enforce a company policy.

Improve performance with data management

To improve performance, it is important to measure diver behaviour with a Fleet Telematics solution.

The ability to store driver information enables easier reporting on accident rates and behaviour which in turn helps identify risk and reduce costly repairs, vehicle downtime and insurance premiums. Having a system in place that enables you to understand the causes of safety challenges means a better chance in finding and implementing possible solutions.

Data can also be used to help analyse risk, develop effective policies and procedures, identify training needs and ensure compliance. Fleet driver management software keeps your driver records up to date, organised and easily accessible for these purposes.

Reducing costs and improving driver safety are not mutually exclusive, however encouraging safe driving practices can make the difference. Long term, it not only lowers costs but also improves employee satisfaction, company reputation and image.

Ensuring you have a strategy to reduce the risk of road accidents in your fleet should be a priority.

Realising the benefits

By actively combating bad driver behaviour with fleet solutions, you can reap several benefits. Improved driver behaviour leads to reduced accidents and associated costs, lower insurance premiums, increased fuel efficiency, and extended vehicle lifespan. Furthermore, promoting a safety-oriented culture improves employee morale, enhances your company’s reputation, and fosters stronger relationships with customers.

It’s time to take control of your fleet’s behaviour, contact Netstar today.

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