Technologies like electronic braking and stability systems, speed and GPS trackers, and even fatigue and distraction monitors can help keep drivers safe.
The data gathered from these driver-assist technologies can help fleets reduce risks, and understand how to improve performance and optimise operations.
When your business installs a DMS (driver monitoring system), it’s a chance for you to learn more about managing fatigue and distraction. It may help to protect you from the worst happening if you get distracted or have a micro-sleep behind the wheel.
The best piece of safety equipment for any vehicle is a good driver behind the wheel.
Where a fleet starts monitoring speed, idling time or alerts from braking or stability systems, you gain more insight into your driving style. If you get a ‘bad’ result, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver, just that you may need to adjust an aspect of your driving.
Daryl Hutton, managing director at ANC Forestry, recalls talking to a driver about their braking performance – and how the driver took the feedback to heart.
“We run an average then we run the best and the worst. We have a talk to the worst performer but it’s not like we get them in and say ‘you need to improve’,” said Hutton.
“We just show them how they’re going compared to the rest of the fleet. Most of them have no idea. One driver said, ‘I’ll fix that tomorrow’ and he went out with a totally different attitude.
“Now he gets out of the truck each night feeling so much fresher because he’s changed his whole driving style.
“He was receptive, and he’s stayed like that. It was a massive win for us and for him too.”
Keep in mind that having objective data about driving behaviour is relatively new for businesses. They might still be learning to interpret the data and provide constructive feedback.
Maybe you can help your manager understand the information better or explain why your measures look the way they do.
There could be a poorly engineered stretch of road, a long but shallow incline, a bad traffic pattern or other factors affecting the data. Only you can provide that context, and it’ll help your boss understand what’s going on.
How to get the best from your technology and your boss
Transport businesses are changing all the time. Assistive and monitoring technology is here to stay; the only question is whether you resist or use them to improve your skills.
How can you get the best from yourself as a driver and an employee?
• Keep learning: recognise that you can use new technologies to become an even better driver.
• Be positive: if you think your manager is wrong, help them understand driving, and gather the data.
• Get involved: understand what data is being gathered and how it’s being used.
• Be helpful: find out how you can help the business improve, whether by taking the lead with new technologies or simply concentrating on your driving skills.
Check out more of NTI’s practical tips and tools for your business at nti.com.au/better-business-hub.