No matter in what industry your business operates, one of your top concerns as a fleet manager is sticking to the budget. You want to avoid unnecessary spending so that you can have higher profit margins—but did you know that bad driving habits can be a huge area of waste that may not be so obvious?
The Rastrac experts are here to tell you why bad driving habits are so dangerous and how you can monitor them—as well as explain how doing so effectively and prioritizing improving driving habits in your fleet can prevent you from losing money.
Why Should You Prioritize Improving Driving Habits in Your Fleet?
A key component of fleet risk management is ensuring that your drivers are avoiding bad driving habits. Why is this so important? If one of your drivers is regularly practicing unsafe driving habits, it doesn’t just put themselves at a high risk. It also impacts the safety of other drivers and passengers on the road, as well as pedestrians, your fleet vehicles, and the valuable cargo they carry.
Your business does not want to take on those risks and their associated fleet costs. So, what bad driving habits should you be monitoring—and how can you accurately track them to avoid additional fleet costs that could easily blow your budget?
What Are Some Bad Driving Habits You Should Be Monitoring?
While there are lots of different bad driving habits out there, there are three very common unsafe driving violations you should definitely be monitoring:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says distracted driving includes “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” This could mean texting or talking on the phone, eating and drinking, talking to other people in the vehicle, fiddling with the stereo or navigation system, or simply not giving your full attention to the road while driving.
For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. Going over the speed limit endangers not only the life of the speeder, but the lives of all the people on the road around them. But, what most people don’t realize is that even if you’re following the speed limit, you could still be speeding if you’re going too fast for current road conditions. This could include driving during bad weather, when a road is under construction, or on a poorly-lit road at night.
Hard Braking and Turning
Hard braking occurs when a driver applies more force than normal to the vehicle's brake system, and hard turning occurs when a driver takes a corner or turns too quickly. While the occasional hard braking and turning can be expected in the case of an emergency, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence—if it is, it could mean that your fleet drivers are habitually distracted while driving.
3 Major Ways Bad Driving Habits Can Increase Your Fleet Costs
Bad driving habits can leave you facing high fleet costs that weren’t anticipated when creating your budget. There are so many ways that poor fleet risk management and unsafe driving habits can cost you—here are three major ones.
1: Higher Fuel Consumption
Did you know that aggressive driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking can lower your gas mileage by 15-30% at highway speeds and 10-40% in stop-and-go traffic? When your employees are regularly practicing these bad driving habits, that can add up to a lot of wasted fuel over time. Seeing as fuel is one of the largest fleet expenses facing transportation companies today, this is something you definitely want to be monitoring closely.
2: Increased Legal Expenses
Unfortunately, if one of your drivers gets into an accident because of their own bad driving habits, the damage likely won’t be limited to only their vehicle. Traffic crashes can cause damage to other vehicles and property, as well as injuries and fatalities to other motorists and pedestrians. The costs associated with these damages can be massive—even with great insurance. Between legal fees, reimbursements, and potential lawsuits, even a single accident can result in astronomical fleet costs.
3: Loss of Vehicles and Cargo
Your fleet vehicles are a big investment, and if a vehicle is too badly damaged from an accident due to bad driving, you’ll likely have to replace it altogether—which can be a huge unexpected blow to your budget. Even in a best-case scenario where the vehicle only suffered minor damages, you’ll still need to pay for repairs and a close inspection before it is ready to get back on the road again. Plus, if the cargo your fleet vehicle was carrying was damaged in the collision, you could be left having to pay thousands of dollars to replace it all.
3 Tips for Improving Driving Habits in Your Fleet
Now that you know what some of the most common unsafe driving habits are and just how much they could end up costing you, what can you do about it? How can you monitor those bad driving habits accurately, then actually apply those data insights to improve driving habits in your fleet? Here are three simple ideas:
1: Implement GPS Tracking Devices
Did you know that GPS tracking devices can do so much more than simply track the location of an asset or vehicle? Modern GPS fleet tracking technology can also be a key tool for simplifying fleet risk management and improving driving habits in your fleet. How? By tagging your vehicles with GPS tracking devices, you won’t just be able to track where your vehicles are, but how they’re being driven.
GPS tracking devices can also provide event alerts, meaning you’ll always know if something happens to one of your fleet vehicles as soon as possible. For example, if one of your drivers gets into a collision, you’d normally have to rely on the driver or the authorities to notify you of the incident. However, with GPS tracking devices, you can get an incident alert sent via email or text message right away. This way, you can contact the driver for a status update and to make sure that they’re not injured, then contact emergency aid services to minimize the time they’re sitting on the side of the road waiting for help.
2: Utilize a Fleet Management Software
Once you tag your fleet vehicles with GPS tracking devices, integrating them with fleet management software gives you even more capabilities. You’ll be able to log driver activities and create comprehensive reports based on unbiased, verified data. By having an accurate log of all this information, you’ll be able to learn a lot about a driver’s skill set and quickly identify if they’re adhering to safety guidelines. This way, you can determine if a driver has developed bad driving habits—giving you an opportunity to provide additional training to correct them before it results in an accident.
GPS fleet management software makes it possible to monitor driver statistics including:
- Start and end times for each trip
- Acceleration and deceleration rates
- Engine idle time
- Adherence to routes
- Turning habits
- Arrival time at each destination
3: Leverage an Advanced Driver Assistance System
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADASs) are intelligent systems that are placed inside a vehicle to assist the driver in a variety of ways, and are one of the fastest-growing safety application areas in the transportation industry. Rastrac has introduced its own cutting-edge ADAS system—a fleet safety and GPS tracking app called RastracView that transforms any smartphone into a collision avoidance system and empowers your drivers to identify and correct their bad driving habits in real-time.
When using RastracView, a safety score will be generated for each trip based on factors including maximum and average speed, hard braking patterns, acceleration rates, and more. This safety score is then displayed on the app’s dashboard and shared with both the driver and fleet management in real-time. This makes it possible for drivers to identify and correct their own unsafe driving habits and fleet management to monitor those patterns remotely. The result? A safer, more well-informed driving experience that protects your drivers, vehicles, assets, and other travelers on the road.
Ready to implement these powerful tools in your own fleet in order to eliminate bad driving habits and experience more effective fleet management? Reach out to a Rastrac expert today!