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How fleet managers can put the brakes on speedsters


 Reckless driving and speeding are nothing new in South Africa, but when it’s a truck or delivery vehicle driving recklessly, you as a bystander can’t help but fear for your life.

Every fleet manager has had them; drivers that must be tying bricks to their feet as they zoom around town or their job sites.

Increasingly, drivers are under pressure to deliver their loads quickly so they can return to pick up a new shipment. Speeding is a serious problem among fleet drivers and isn’t just costly for businesses, it can cost people their lives, too.

What is speeding?

Simply put, speeding is when any motorised vehicle travels at a rate of speed that is faster than the posted limit for a given area. Speed limits are put in place to protect all road users, including drivers and pedestrians. This is why you may see different speed limits posted in different locations – like schools or construction zones – or residential versus non-residential areas. Factors such as road conditions can also reduce the maximum speed that vehicles are allowed to travel – like sharp bends or graded roads.

How Speeding can pose a problem for Fleet Managers

Speeding can create more problems than just safety issues. A driver who speeds regularly and consistently can cause serious problems in other areas of the business. Here are just a few of the issues that can be caused by speeding:

  • Fuel Waste: Fuel economy is reduced as speed increases.
  • Speeding Tickets: Speeding can create excess costs for your business both directly and indirectly. Speeding tickets from law enforcement cost fleet managers both time and money.
  • Accidents: Speeding creates unnecessary road hazards that can cause serious injuries and fatalities.
  • Vehicle Wear and Tear: Speeding increases maintenance costs on the engine, tyres and brakes.
  • Damage to Goods: Harsh driving can cause accidents, resulting into damage or loss of goods and/or assets. Goods can also be damaged as a result of harsh braking, cornering and acceleration.
  • Damage to Your Reputation: Unsafe driving is a huge risk to the public. If you have your company’s name or brand on your fleet vehicles and those vehicles are speeding, it can easily damage your company’s reputation.

So why are employees speeding at work

For some drivers, the temptation to speed can happen more often than not. You may have implemented driver coaching and incentive programmes to help your team control their need for speed and understand the associated risks, but speeding continues to remain an issue for most fleet managers.

While you may not be completely aware of all the reason for speeding, fleet management software can help put you in the driver’s seat to control and curb it.

Here are a few reasons that may cause commercial fleet drivers to choose to speed:

  • Poorly Planned Routes: When planning the routes and jobs for each driver, it is important to take into account the time, road conditions and other factors that may affect the speed and timing of job completion.
  • Distracted Driving: Distracted driving, whether it’s cellphone use, eating or other risky behaviours, can all be prevented. Having fleet management software that tracks these behaviours via driver scorecards is important for identifying and eliminating these behaviours.
  • Driver Habits: General attitudes around speeding can also be an issue when trying to coach and educate your drivers against speeding.

Understanding more about why speeding occurs for drivers can help you build out a coaching and training programme. This programme should be comprehensive in its approach to combat speeding and include a variety of protocols, both for those who uphold as well as violate rules around speeding.

How to put the brakes on Speeding with Fleet Telematics

Telematics can help to collect data on driver behaviours in order to determine where improvements need to be made. Fleet management software offers a variety of resources for fleet managers that work together to create a set of tools that are meant to protect you from preventable issues.

  • Driving Behaviour Alerts: Tracking problematic speeding in excess of 10km/h over the speed limit is made possible with telematics software. These alerts can help identify whether the issue is the driver or the route.
  • Driver Scorecards: A rating system that identifies specific driver behaviours including speeding, harsh braking, hard turns and more.
  • Driver Rewards Programmes: Incentivising positive driving behaviours is a great way to create awareness surrounding the rules, but also to create endurance toward consistency. Creating rewards-based driver coaching programmes helps to reinforce the rules you’ve laid out for your fleet.
  • Improved Route Planning: The tools provided via telematics software allows fleet managers to be proactive in their approach to route planning. The tracking and map features allow for real-time vehicle locations to be available on your tracking dashboard.
  • Leadership Support: Like any part of a business’ culture, safety as a priority has to start at the top. The leadership team and managers have to be on board with safety policies and procedures and take responsibility for making sure everyone follows them.
  • Safety Campaign: You should launch a safety campaign focused on speeding. You could have special driver training, create a presentation with the help of a safety committee that identifies common areas where drivers speed or addresses why they feel they need to speed on the job, or simply reward drivers who go a certain length of time without speeding violations on their driver scorecards.

As a fleet manager or owner, your business depends on your ability to mitigate risk and tackle issues before they happen. Your drivers are on the front lines, and they need your strategic focus in order to keep them moving in the right direction. By tackling issues head-on, you can ensure not only your fleet’s overall safety, but also increase your ability to save on expenditures such as fuel or vehicle wear and tear.

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