Technology in trucking is bringing about many innovations. Ongoing driver training thanks to in-cab coaching powered by sophisticated telematics is a prominent example. A new white paper, Better Driver Training Using Technology, provides the details.
Driver Training Is Changing
In the past, the training of truck drivers only took place while people entering the field were earning their commercial driving licenses and, in many cases, when a driver was hired to a particular fleet. Those methods continue to play their roles, but they have been joined by new approaches that focus on continuous training throughout drivers’ careers.
Fleets are increasingly looking to improve their safety records and reduce the risk of accidents by delivering customizable training individualized to each driver, new and experienced alike. Hand-in-hand with such training, these fleets are also incentivizing driver excellence. The key is for fleets to use the right in-cab technology and telematics to build state-of-the-art training programs and add incentive programs that focus on safe driving habits.
The Benefits of Effective Safety Training
In both the US and Canada, governing bodies have put various programs in place that have changed the landscape of road transportation safety. Individual drivers and fleets are tracked and scored, with some results made available to the public. In fact, potential freight haulage clients in the US can compare the safety records of fleets they are considering doing business with.
Beyond maintaining clients and winning new ones, a solid safety record has a positive effect on fleet insurance rates. So, when fleet managers learn that upgrading the electronic logging technology they are using can potentially pay for itself through increased revenues or substantial cost savings, they often become quick adopters.
The cost savings are not limited to insurance rates, however. A cutting-edge truck logbook that supports all Canadian and US regulations and that is loaded with advanced communications and telematics features can also help:
- Avoid fines due to compliance violations
- Save fuel costs via eco-driving
- Protect against the legal pitfalls that can follow accidents
How Ease and Reliability Influence Driver Retention
What role does in-cab technology play in driver retention? It’s more influential than you may initially imagine. Fleet owners must always look at the big picture. Adding some new technology may save some costs, or make dispatchers’ jobs easier, but what about the drivers? Everyone knows that good drivers are hard to come by, and dissatisfied drivers don’t stick around very long.
Often, people who love tech and who enjoy playing with the latest electronic toys do not become truckers. Or, if they do, they may not stay in that career for very long if their passion for technology is better served sitting behind a computer screen rather than a windshield.
So, if most truck drivers are not typically tech enthusiasts, it makes sense that the easier to use and more intuitive any in-cab technology is, the less troublesome your drivers will find it. In fact, if that technology makes some of the less “fun” aspects of their jobs (managing their HOS, maintaining documentation, inspections, etc.) quicker and easier, allowing them to focus on driving, they will embrace it.
The same considerations apply to the reliability of in-cab technology. No driver appreciates being sidelined by malfunctioning equipment. Whether it’s a mechanical issue with the rig itself or something such as a connectivity signal that repeatedly gets dropped or some other ELD-related failure, it can easily ruin a driver’s day. By ensuring your drivers have in-cab technology that is consistently dependable in all conditions, as well as being easy to learn to operate, you give them one more important reason to stay.
Fairly Rewarding Good Driving Performance
An additional aspect of driver retention is, unsurprisingly, compensation. Innovative fleets are increasingly looking at ways to reward drivers who achieve high marks on safety and fuel-efficient driving.
Incentive programs tied to additional compensation can be very powerful for this purpose, but they are not always easy to implement in a fair and transparent way. Sophisticated telematics and in-cab technology that monitors driving behavior in real time—and that takes into account conditions out of a driver’s control—can solve this challenge.
The quality data that sophisticated systems collect can filter out incontrollable factors from the equation to help ensure that drivers’ scorecards are fair. These factors include:
- The trucks’ aerodynamics and engine type
- Load weight
- Road slope
Facilitate Training and Driver Development with the Right Tools
The right technology, both in-cab and tying back to the dispatcher’s office, can deliver major benefits when it comes to leveraging new approaches to driver training. This includes incentivizing desired driver habits around safety and eco-driving. It’s also important to consider overall usability when you evaluate such technologies.
It is important that drivers welcome the changes or at least rapidly come to appreciate the new tools you want them to use. So, ease-of-use and reliability are as important as the actual features of any solution.
Find out more in our new white paper.
About the author
Director Compliance, Client Service & Technical Support, ISAAC Instruments
Melanie Simard is Director of Compliance, Client Service & Technical Support at ISAAC. She brings these three groups together to ensure ISAAC clients receive best-in-class service and support, and to demystify all questions relating to regulatory compliance. She is passionate about this last subject, and well attuned to the kind of support ISAAC users need, as she was on that side of the equation before joining ISAAC. With over 20 years in the trucking industry, her field experience as a driver, dispatcher, compliance manager—not to mention an ISAAC user—the trucking DNA she brings to the table is a valuable asset to both ISAAC and its clients.