With the increasingly widespread adoption of telematics, and the related investment of money and time that companies are putting into telematics systems, managers are right to be asking how to get the best out of their system for the purpose of improving driver behaviour.
In this article I’ll identify the issue that is stopping managers from reaping the full potential of telematics to help to change driver behaviour and I will explain how to address this.
Stages of behaviour change
For telematics to improve driver behaviour, two stages need to occur:
Stage 1: Unwanted driver behaviours need to be identified
Stage 2: Desired driver behaviours need to be taught
The issue is that in the majority of cases, telematics only succeeds in achieving the first stage, not the all-important second stage.
This is because telematics systems are often implemented with a view to monitoring drivers rather than mentoring behaviour change.
Put another way, managers should not expect telematics on its own to fundamentally improve driver behaviour — beyond superficially forcing drivers to comply with safe driving only when they are aware they are being watched.
How to use telematics to mentor desired driving behaviour
The secret to inculcating safe driving behaviour among your drivers is understanding their motivations; that is, getting to the root of what makes them tick.
Telematics plays a valuable role in identifying driving patterns, while psychometric assessments such as the DriverMetrics® Driver Risk Index™ (example pictured below), reveal motivations.
For example, your telematics system will alert you when your drivers go over the speed limit but it won’t tell you what motivates your drivers to speed.
The DriverMetrics® profile completes the picture by providing an assessment of driving personality for each individual driver.
It will tell you whether your driver may be motivated by feelings of anger, time pressure, thrill seeking or due to some other personal tendencies.
Line managers and supervisors of drivers can therefore use the telematics reporting system in conjunction with the DriverMetrics profile to conduct regular one-to -one coaching sessions with the driver.
The importance of coaching
Providing constructive behavioural feedback using a coaching approach can identify how well the driver is doing against agreed goals taking into account their driving personality.
The coach and the driver identify any problems since the last session and develop a plan for further improvement.
From a driver’s perspective, coaching encourages ownership on what behaviours need to be changed developing self-reflective skills.
The coaching conversation will also flag up any management or operations that are contributing to at-risk driving behaviours.
Violations occurring persistently must be addressed, especially when violations are as a direct result of the driver’s actions and deliberate disregard of expected behaviours.
Individual events can warrant discussion and can be valuable for identifying specific examples, as well as for evaluating patterns of driving behaviour rather than isolated incidents.
As in-vehicle monitoring systems get cheaper and easier to install, the rise of telematics is set to continue. But many companies run the risk of failing to use telematics to its best advantage.
To get the most value out a telematics system, managers should pair the “behaviour monitoring” that telematics provides, with the “behaviour mentoring” that driver coaching offers.
In this way, you will not only be identifying driver risk via telematics, but you will also be doing something meaningful to improve driver behaviour over the longer term. Encouraging your drivers to take ownership of what motivates them to drive the way they do leads to a greater insight into their driving and how to change their approach.