Following reports that fines and penalties incurred by fleet drivers hit £15.3m last year, Teletrac Navman’s vice president of sales, Scott Hutchins, says operators need to do more to encourage change.
According to recent data, business car and van drivers racked up a £15.3m bill in fines and penalties in 2018; up 15.6% compared with the previous year. As such, fleet operators need to step up and look at the preventative measures they need to take to mitigate the risks and help encourage a positive change.
Indeed, the prime focus of reducing fines should always be on safety. Penalties are enforced for a reason, and fleet managers have a responsibility to manage the risks wherever possible. By instilling a stronger safety culture within a fleet business and harnessing the existing technologies operators have at their fingertips, this is very much an achievable goal.
Firstly, driver behaviour monitoring systems are a powerful and efficient way of improving driver performance and encouraging safer driving styles. Driver behaviour data means operators have a more accurate picture of how each driver deals with parking and speed limits, meaning dangerous behaviour can be identified and addressed through training before it causes an accident or results in costly penalties. Additionally, companies can create driver safety programmes, motivating drivers with performance scorecards and driver league tables. Such programmes can significantly improve driving standards and boost morale by rewarding safer driving and discouraging riskier driving habits that can lead to offences.
Operators must also take note of congestion charges and restricted zones, such as the recently introduced Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London, which has brought in new, tighter regulations on exhaust emissions. Fleet managers need to factor in revised regulations iwjen route planning for any commercial vehicles travelling in such areas. Using restricted zone alerting allows fleet managers to obtain daily reports on which vehicles entered a specified restricted zone, to ensure that the appropriate payments are made in a timely manner so that fines are avoided.
Unsurprisingly, drowsy driving is one of the main causes for negligence amongst commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as tow trucks, tractor-trailers and buses. Fleet managers need to have systems in place to ensure drivers are getting the rest they need to stay safe on the road. With tachograph technology, operators can track drivers’ hours to ensure they are compliant and rest between and during their shifts, helping reduce the number of fatigue-induced accidents.
Ultimately, fines will always be one of the expenses fleet businesses will need to absorb, but without making proactive steps to drive improvements, these rising industry costs will continue to escalate at the detriment to fleet owners, drivers and other road users. Fortunately, with the help of telematics solutions, fleets can begin to tackle and prevent the likeliness of fines occurring, so businesses can keep their drivers safe on the road and comply with current legislations.