Further InSight (Blog)

Vehicle Tracking Isn’t Enough: The Importance of Driver Identification

When an organization realizes some of their mobile employees have been engaging in reckless, wasteful driving behavior, what is their best course of action? Such behavior can lead to all kinds of problems:

  • Soaring insurance premiums
  • Expensive vehicle repairs
  • Constant vehicle maintenance

Because these companies are legally liable for employees’ actions whenever they are driving company vehicles, they can also face lawsuits stemming from careless and unsafe driver behavior. Companies are especially vulnerable if they fail to identify problem drivers ahead of time and take proactive action.

InSight Mobile Data Director of Product Development Chris Eller explains how individual driver behavior monitoring tools help fleet managers reduce costs and risks.

Real-Time Data: An Important First Step

Given the potential fallout, fleet managers must have complete visibility into the behavior and performance of their drivers when they are operating company vehicles. This visibility enables managers to identify inefficient and risky practices such as:

  • Hard braking
  • Aggressive accelerating and cornering
  • Excessive idling
  • Using company vehicles for personal reasons

A mobile resource-management solution provides your fleet managers with comprehensive, real-time data. With this level of information about driver behavior and performance, managers can identify and address wasteful and reckless practices before accidents occur.

Driver Tracking Is Critical

It’s important to realize that not all mobile resource-management solutions provide the ability to monitor the behavior of individual drivers. Some systems only monitor the activity of the vehicles, not drivers. In fact, the industry standard for mobile resource-management solutions is vehicle tracking, not driver tracking.

The problem with that approach is that multiple drivers often share the same vehicles. It’s impossible for fleet managers to monitor the behavior and performance of individual drivers with a system limited to vehicle tracking only. The following scenario illustrates why this can be a big problem:

The fleet manager for one appliance service-and-repair company has a fleet of 12 trucks and 15 drivers. He notices that the tires and brake pads on two trucks are being replaced about twice as often as those on other trucks. While the company keeps a schedule of who drives which vehicle, the drivers often trade shifts and vehicles without noting their changes on the schedule. As a result, the fleet manager cannot determine with certainty which drivers are responsible for wearing out the tires and brakes prematurely.

The problem gets worse. Soon the company receives a complaint from a woman who claims that one of their drivers harassed her on the road—first tailgating her and then passing her on the right before suddenly swerving in front of her, almost causing an accident. When the fleet manager confronts the driver assigned to the vehicle, the driver says he wasn’t driving at that time. The company is neither able to definitively identify the menacing driver nor the drivers causing premature wear and tear on its two vehicles.

Driver ID Systems Yield Positive Outcomes

The solution to this problem? Rather than tracking only vehicle data, choose a mobile resource-management solution with driver ID capabilities that follow your drivers from vehicle to vehicle.

In these systems, individual driver history is integrated with maintenance data. Fleet managers can quickly pinpoint which drivers are putting undue wear and tear on their vehicles. They can then take swift, corrective action with the specific drivers causing the problems. Should the need arise, this solution can also identify which drivers engage in illegal or harassing behavior.

How does a driver identification system enable this proactive response? The system:

  • Utilizes a key fob or door monitor, allowing drivers to automatically log in and out of vehicles
  • Serves as a convenient time clock for drivers to log in and out.
  • Provides drivers with in-cabin, real-time alerts to indicate hard braking, accelerating, and cornering
  • Empowers drivers to self-correct, transforming negative behaviors into positive ones
  • Keeps drivers accountable, allowing managers to keep your conversations with them positive
  • Reduces overall waste and the chance of accidents

Remember, most mobile resource-management solutions track data by vehicle, not by driver. When you’re ready to evaluate solutions for your company, be sure to ask whether they include driver identification and tracking. If they don’t, keep looking for one that does.