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How fleet management system improves driver safety and decision making

How fleet management system improves driver safety and decision making
Choosing the right fleet management system (FMS) could boost operational efficiency and help fleet managers on improving driver safety and making better data-driven decisions.

Choosing the right fleet management system (FMS) could boost operational efficiency and help fleet managers on improving driver safety and making better data-driven decisions. 

Smarter solutions for safer driving

Aside from tasks associated with vehicle, driver and incident management, fleet managers can implement smart solutions to achieve and ensure driver safety. A report on smart FMS by Grand View Research revealed the market is expected to reach $565.1 billion by 2025. “Government agencies are investing in intelligent transport systems and mandating the use of connected technologies for all vehicles to enhance driver and road safety, reduce carbon emissions and efficiently manage traffic congestions,” said the report.

By utilizing technologies such as telematics as part of a smart FMS, fleet managers can better understand what is happening on the road. “Analyzing driver behavior is essential for fleet managers as well as the drivers themselves. As fleet managers are not physically in the cab with their drivers, telematics can help to ensure that a company’s policies relating to driving behavior, are being followed,” explained Scott Sutarik, Associate VP of Commercial Behicle Solutions at Geotab. “For example, drivers inherently know how to drive. They know they should obey speed limits and drive defensively. Deadlines and tight schedules can cause drivers to lose focus on basic safe driving habits. Through safety reporting and coaching, drivers reduce the risk of accidents and therefore are safer.”

Sutarik named speeding, harsh acceleration, frequent braking, harsh turning and seat belt usage as a few examples of the driving behaviors that can be measured by telematics. “Recognizing these driving habits can allow for more targeted and effective coaching to ultimately lower the risk of accidents,” he added.

Keeping drivers, as well as managers, accountable is another way an FMS can improve driver safety. “Meaningful safety improvements are a result of creating a system for accountability. Data insight breeds accountability. Whether you’re looking to improve driving safety, reduce accidents or keep vehicles safe while they are on the road, fleet management software gives you hard data on how your fleet currently performs and helps you monitor improvement along the way. It can also help you put effective processes and checkpoints in place that help chip away at those goals,” explained Laura Maxwell, Product Marketing Manager at Fleetio.

As an example, Maxwell pointed to a solution that offers mobile vehicle inspections, giving drivers an easy way to complete pre- and post-trip inspection checklists on schedule and alerting the fleet manager to needed repairs immediately. Doing so could reduce downtime to ensure vehicles are safe when they hit the road.
Additionally, she added that fleet GPS tracking solutions allow managers to consistently score and rank drivers based on their driving behavior. “You can track things like speeding and phone usage and share progress with drivers, keeping them aware and accountable for their actions.”

Implementing a driver rewards program is another way to improve driver safety; a program that incentivizes drivers to be proactive instead of reactive. Maxwell explained rewards can be monetary, recognition-based or anything meaningful. “Being able to view their progress and personal performance data inside your fleet management software will keep them accountable for their behavior.”

Connectivity and data-driven decision making

Much like the technologies it employs, fleet management is constantly evolving; and current FMSs are enabling businesses and fleet managers to make more informed, data-driven decisions. Proliferation of smart technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) have also bolstered FMS growth.

By 2025 the global IoT FMS market is expected to reach $16.9 billion, according to a report by Grand View Research. Due to the presence of strong wireless infrastructure in North America and Europe, widespread adoption of IoT fleet management in these regions has been observed, stated the report. As a result, “remarkable growth” is expected in these regions.

While an increase in connectivity is driving smarter FMS, it is also raising concerns about security and data privacy. “Going hand-in-hand with this level of connectivity, the emphasis on security is become increasingly important in choosing a solution and utilizing telematics. Businesses should focus on choosing fleet management solutions that undergo rigorous and frequent security updates and are layered with the industry’s best design for end-to-end protection of data,” Sutarik said.

Rapidly changing technology is also increasing the demand for FMS to be able to pull data and utilize it for data analytics and machine learning. According to Sutarik, this translates into a demand for a FMS that is open and customizable.

FMS software integration, according to Maxwell, has also been spending a lot of time in the spotlight as of late. “Software systems that allow you to integrate with the other business applications you already use like accounting software, HR software and more help you extend the value of your fleet’s data and reduce the time you spend managing that data. When data can be shared across systems, you’ll also be able to get to the most meaningful insight faster— evaluate things like total cost of ownership, operating expenditure and real cost per mile instantly.”

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