By Aidan Rowsome, VP EMEA, SmartDrive
The UK driver shortage threatens to become more acute as we approach Brexit deadlines.
According to the RHA (Road Haulage Association), the industry is short of 45,000 to 50,000 HGV drivers. The FTA (Freight Transport Association) estimates that 32,000 HGV drivers and 22,000 van drivers currently employed in the UK are from other EU countries and so may be affected by Brexit.
However, SmartDrive Systems believes that fleets can encourage drivers to join and remain in the industry by using proactive, intelligence led safety interventions.
An act of respect
Helping drivers to be safer and improve their professionalism is an act of respect. All too often professional drivers have not been respected for the difficulty and skill involved in their job.
As the driver shortage worsens, the transport and logistics industry needs to do all in its power to value its current drivers and attract new ones.
Communication is key
At SmartDrive we believe the most successful and effective safety interventions are where companies explain to drivers exactly what they are trying to achieve, starting with: ‘We want to help you be safer and to keep developing your professional skills.’
We see four major reasons why rolling out analysis-based interventions such as the SmartDrive® video-based safety programme helps retain drivers – and could vastly improve the industry’s public image.
- Well-thought out safety initiatives make people feel cared for at work, and this improves morale and retention
- It demonstrates that the employer cares about continuing driver development
- It protects drivers from false accusations of damage or unprofessional behaviour
- It exonerates drivers when they’re not-at-fault
- It raises and improves the public profile of professional driving.
Until recently technologies have not offered enough to the driver to make them feel their professionalism was valued. For example, a telematics system that simply shows a harsh braking trigger gives no context; that could be the product of heroic reflexes or abysmal distraction. Without context it’s meaningless.
What we provide to fleets and drivers is significantly more context, combining triggers with analysed, risk scored observations and transportation intelligence, derived from the capture and analysis of over 220 million driving events to date.
In essence, we utilise sensor fusion – taking feeds from the vehicle data, plus video footage from around the vehicle, most importantly of the road ahead and of the driver, combining this with information from our own platform to give meaningful and specific insights into driver behaviour and risk.
Customised analysis is king
The analysis of all these feeds is crucial, so that the insights provided are tailored to that specific driver’s duty cycle and operation, the road users around him/her and his/her driving style and choices.
This is a breakthrough not just in fleet safety initiatives, but also in how the logistics industry can view its drivers.
Drivers are not generic
They are individuals. They each face different challenges, locations and types of work. At the end of the day, they all want to protect their commercial driving licences, they want to feel respected and supported by their employers and they want to stay safe on the roads.
For too long the industry has treated all drivers as though there is one truth about driving, one method – and ultimately one way to help them improve, i.e. more skills training.
Most drivers do not lack skill. They need to understand how all the different factors in their working day combine with their individual tendencies as a driver to raise or lower their risk of collision or incident.
If fleets give drivers this capability to improve and keep themselves safe, they feel valued, protected and respected, as well as proud of their own professionalism.
Proactive and objective
Intelligence led safety interventions, such as the SmartDrive programme, provide a proactive and objective methodology for fleets to work in a closer and more supportive way with its drivers.
The rapid advances in compute power, coupled with the wealth of ‘big data’ and predictive analytics available from systems such as ours, has a major role to play in the current and future growth of fleet safety and driver development in the transport and logistics industry.
Find out more
Take a listen to what some of our international customers have to say about how SmartDrive is helping them protect and retain their drivers:
- Posted by Abbie Clark
- On August 3, 2018