Pete Cochrane

A Different Point of View

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Telematics Stress – A Modern Problem.

Telematics Data
Telematics Data

With all the current media attention on mental health, I wonder if anyone has considered the mental health of truck drivers? We are under stress from bad driving by other road users, tight delivery schedules, constant fear of the Police and VOSA even when you always drive for a one hundred percent legal operation, safety, security and now to add to this little list of stressful sources, we suffer a constant barrage of telematics league tables and must try harder letters and comments.

This is an industry wide problem that has not been sufficiently scrutinised to understand the effects on a driver. In my experience telematics data is tolerated for a short while by drivers before they lose interest because no matter what they do, they can’t get to the top of the league table. I have arrived at this conclusion after listening to drivers I work with and also many other drivers from numerous companies during conversations while tipping or loading at places.

Maybe a more productive way of gaining acceptance for telematics data and any subsequent improvements would be to incorporate a module in an annual CPC training event covering the various headings within telematics and how each of them affect a drivers score. Furthermore, instead of using league tables as a means of measurement, encourage drivers to use individual telematics data as a tool for personal improvement.

Personally, the league tables mean nothing to me as the results depend on the load weight, trailer size, weather and route at the very least. The person I want to drive better than the most is ME! For years I have recorded my trip data every day. This includes the trailer number and type, weather conditions, load, time taken, speed, MPG, fuel used and route. If you build up a consistent record over a period of time, a pattern emerges and anomalies such as if the truck is sick or the trailer doesn’t run as freely as another does becomes clearer. I consider that as a professional driver it is my duty to improve wherever I can. I learn every day even after nearly forty years as a truck driver, and will continue to do so, as it is a vital part of gaining and building on experience. Failures are only failures if you don’t learn from mistakes, and we all make mistakes no matter how much experience we have. That is why challenging yourself by keeping a record of your performance is so valuable and something all drivers should be encouraged to do.

The industry is a wash with training and often results unintentionally in most cases, of putting unnecessary pressure or stress upon drivers to perform based upon telematics data, but another aspect to consider is whether your data has a close relationship with exactly what your vehicle is doing. If it isn’t set up correctly, its possible you are being unnecessarily hard on a driver or drivers. It’s worth remembering that your truck has cost you a lot of money and drivers are your businesses most valuable asset as they are entrusted with your truck and also the people that come face to face with your customers. A vital reason to try and keep them happy.

The human race is made up of intensely competitive beings and no matter how many drivers say they are not interested in telematics data, nearly all are to some degree. Usually the negativity to the data seems to be related to their position on a league table and I suspect from questions that I am asked, is because they don’t know how to improve their score.

If more emphasis was given to encouraging drivers to compete against their own scores and comprehensive training given to demonstrate how data changes depending on the driving style used, I believe a fleet wide improvement would be a result.

The modern phenomena of measuring everything to within an inch of its life, creates an unpleasant feeling of always being watched by big brother, and depending on the character or personality of the person policing a persons performance, can lead to resentment and a feeling of distrust to a driver by a company with a knock on effect of poorer performance than they are capable of.

It’s not difficult with the right motivation to improve fuel economy by one percent and in a lot of cases to improve even further than that. Imagine what you could save over a year by finding a way that motivates your drivers to improve without them feeling oppressed?

Maybe the only way is to measure the results!

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