Telematics is revolutionising many on-the-road industries. From car leasing, to insurers, to manufacturing, to second hand sales, to machine to machine developers, telematics is changing everything. However, some believe that the technology is “dazzling,” some companies and is leading them to forget important aspects of training, which the telematics should be augmenting, not replacing.
Head of car hire firm, Drive Alive UK, Mike Rees, has been speaking out about his training concerns, suggesting that fleet managers should be offering increased training to staff in the wake of telematics, not less. This lack of training, he says, is why companies are failing to gain the full benefits of telematics and are therefore missing out on further reducing expenditure on fuel and vehicle maintenance.
According to Mr Rees, the problem comes from an ” increasing inclination to choose just one approach to risk management.” With telematics offering a more automated way to keep track of drivers and staff, he thinks that more fleet managers are choosing to use it as their only solution and don’t take it any further. While yes, picking up a driver on speeding or heavy braking can have some effect on driving, giving them training based off of the fact, or looking at other methods of tracking behaviour, such as partnering more senior members of staff with newer ones can have a big impact too. When the extra training is combined with telematics and other incentives, you get the best case scenario, he says.
Training is the big thing that Rees wants to highlight. The array of data might be useful in the long run, but on an individual basis, advanced driving courses and specific training on how to save fuel can be much more impactful than a weekly report on your driving style. Defensive driving training too from police officers can go a long way, offering better savings on fuel consumption and vehicle wear.
Rees also hinted that telematics companies are keen to put across an image of advanced training and other systems as inferior, or too costly (in time or money) to implement when compared with telematics solutions. This is understandable, since in some senses these more traditional practices of reducing long term costs compete with telematics. However, Rees argues that needn’t be the case, saying instead, that fleet managers should use both traditional and more contemporary tracking practices to improve the drivers’ skillsets than either could achieve alone.
Training can even reduce a reliance on telematics he said, which in the long run could reduce the amount of expenditure required on the technology. Some companies also require a subscription charge for the tech, so you could look to offer training after a short period of tracking for those that require it, only periodically paying for telematics to provide an irregular check up on the current driving habits of staff, rather than tracking them round the clock.
The show of trust in removing telematics tracking, or at least scaling it back, could also improve relationships with staff members and provide an incentive for them to drive better while under surveillance.
Image source: LinkedIn, MBWA PR