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Best practices for your fleet’s telematics policy

Aug. 12, 2019
Everyone in the organization has a role and responsibilities when it comes to telematics.

Nearly every truck on the road today is equipped with a telematics device of some sort. Robin Kinsey, Geotab’s leasing business development manager, shared some best practices for telematics from a human resources perspective at a recent NationaLease meeting.

The purpose of a telematics policy, according to Kinsey, is to ensure compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, improve safety and efficiency, reduce costs and protect drivers.

Everyone in the organization has a role and responsibilities when it comes to telematics.

  • Senior leadership: Establish clear expectations and accountability
  • Mid-tier managers/supervisors: Review policy with each employee to ensure they understand it
  • Drivers: Understand and adhere to expectations set forth in the policy

Kinsey said, “The most successful policies are brought in positively showing cost reduction, fuel efficiencies, productivity, idling, etc. [They focus] on and encourage everyone to understand the reasons for bringing this new product in.”

When setting telematics policies, it is important to focus on specific measurable targets and areas of improvement. This could be around idle time reduction or hours of service compliance. Create dashboards so the team can easily gauge its progress toward the goals.

To be effective, the policy needs to be clearly communicated. Make sure you can provide employees with answers to the following questions:

  • What is being measured?
  • How is it being measured?
  • What happens if the rules are not followed?
  • What do I need to do to improve my performance?
  • Why is it being introduced?

You need to develop an enforcement protocol and make sure to include some bonuses, raises or promotions for those who comply with the policies. Violations that fall outside of set parameters will be recorded. Coaching, training and disciplinary actions for violations need to be spelled out in the policy.

Run reports every day to look for violations and make sure to address violations quickly so you can begin coaching drivers and changing behavior.

Driving-based rules could include the following:

  • Maximum speed of travel is the top speed at which a driver can travel and the number of seconds/minutes the driver has to drop their speed before a violation occurs.
  • Stop duration can be used as an indication of the quality of the stops. If the driver is providing a service at a stop indicate the allotted time for the stop.
  • Idling incidents are measured when the ignition is on, RPMs are confirmed, and no movement is detected via GPS. Set a time limit before a violation will be recorded. For example, if a truck were left idling for more than five minutes that would be a violation and the driver would receive a written warning.  Subsequent incidents of excessive idling could carry stronger penalties up to and including termination.
  • After-hour use of vehicle records use of the vehicle outside of normal hours of operation.
  • Device tampering should come with a zero-tolerance policy.
  • Harsh braking is defined as an 11 mph drop in speed in one second. If hard braking is recorded, coach the driver on things like proper following distance and distracted driving.
  • Seatbelt use should be mandatory. Written warnings can be issued for first time violations with harsher penalties for subsequent violations.

Drivers are responsible for following policies and procedures and will receive

in-vehicle alerts when an event is detected. Supervisors will review alerts and can take appropriate action.

If you have telematics devices on your vehicles, you need to clear policies and procedures so drivers know what is expected of them and so you can continue to operate your fleet in a safe and efficient manner.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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