There are many great benefits to utilising driving assistance apps in company cars, vans and grey fleet.
Over the past 10 years, we have found that the first step in introducing any new process or technology, must always be to explain to motorists, fully and simply, how it works and what the resulting data will be used for. Most businesses have fairly straight-forward objectives to begin with, including:
Keep drivers safe and help exonerate them in the event of a false claim or not-at-fault incident
Help keep other road users and the public safe by using scoring to properly reward, develop and train drivers so that they are less likely to be involved in collisions
Reduce administration and show compliance around business mileage reporting.
None of these goals are in contradiction with what drivers want i.e. no one sets out in the morning imagining or wanting to be in a collision.
So remember to make the most of this “common ground”.
In the case of our driver assistance app Ally, our team will usually start with a “town hall meeting” with drivers and relevant managers.
It’s very important that everyone knows what the system is for, how it works, who will see what data and how it may be used. This shows respect for individuals and is of course, the cornerstone of GDPR compliance.
We also support customers with communications guidance and a templated suite of materials.
These briefing sessions are an essential part of the process and shouldn’t be rushed. It’s important that everyone can ask questions. Often driver questions are about personal privacy: Does it record me when I’m not working? When I’m at rest? The answer is simply: ‘No. Unless you want it to.’ It’s as important for drivers to know that they can use the system for their own safety and convenience as it is for them to know it will turn-off when their engine is off.
Another common issue raised: ‘Is my manager seeing real-time information of me?’ Again, the simple answer is: ‘No, it typically only reports an overall score, based on your driving habits, or Revenue-required business mileage - without timestamps.’
These kind of questions are natural and intelligent – and the answers tend to allay driver concerns.
There are always some who dislike a proposed change, fear loss or who dislike ‘being managed’. This is true in all businesses and walks of life. However, in our experience – in other words, in our customers’ experience – these people fall into two camps. The first are those who doubt the value of proactive risk management tools. These people tend to become Ally proponents as soon as they see their own awareness behind-the-wheel rise, or notice their fuel-efficiency improve, which rarely takes long.
The other group is a tiny minority of drivers who know that some of their driving habits are not in line with company policy but would rather their managers didn’t know that. Needless to say this group, small though they may be, often present the highest collision risk and are absolutely the kind of driver a business needs to proactively manage and coach effectively.
Change always needs to be managed carefully in any organisation. However, apps are only the latest in a long line of effective technologies such as commercial vehicle telematics and vehicle camera systems. Drivers and unions were initially very resistant to the idea of vehicle tracking. Today acceptance is common and from a HR perspective, the question arises: why do we not use an appropriate version of these technologies to protect our staff who drive company or privately-owned cars?
In summary, driving assistance apps have so much to offer and in our experience, drivers embrace these tools when they:
Are engaged in the process
Fully understand the system, its purpose and its boundaries
Understand that Ally is intended as much, if not more, for their benefit, development and protection as for the company’s
Have seen that benefit for themselves or for a colleague
Realise Ally can help them to stay safe and become better drivers.