Despite the many driver monitoring solutions and technologies on the market, there’s a resounding feeling that not all are created equal. What muddles this thought even more is the many service and solution providers who claim that they “monitor” drivers but instead only address one element that makes up driver monitoring.
There’s a space that exists between driver monitoring myth and reality. That space can soon be filled with business exposure to risk, litigation and insurance premium costs. So, what is driver monitoring and how can companies like yours utilize it to the fullest to keep your company, drivers and community safer?
Setting the stage
Understanding employee behavior, no matter the vehicle your drivers utilize on a day-to-day basis, comes down to answering these three questions:
- Do you have driving records for your company’s employees?
- What do you know about off the clock employee behavior?
- How frequently are you reviewing driving records and what does their current safety profile look like based off those records?
Knowing the performance of your employees is only one of many variables in the equation. The other is taking corrective measures to correct risky behavior. Considering all the technology and data available today, companies can’t simply use the excuse that they weren’t aware of negative violations.
That’s why businesses need to remain as informed as possible while at the same time confronting their own often long-held misconceptions as to what effective driver monitoring means. Let’s walk through three of the most common driver monitoring myths we at SambaSafety hear, with the focus of eliminating potential risk your business may be unnecessarily inviting in.
Three most common myths about driver safety solutions
MYTH: Background checks, public records and license status checks upon hire are all that’s needed
TRUTH: While this information is critical in creating a comprehensive view of driver performance, it lacks the whole story. Additionally, cherry-picking the public information available about individual driving performance is risky, and while it may prove easy, can often be inaccurate.
This is because the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires data used to take adverse action on an individual, including things like reprimands, suspensions and terminations, be as current and accurate as possible. These two things typically work against each other since public records include cases in progress and have at times inaccurate data. Often, public records don’t even meet FCRA standards.
You may also be missing out on valuable information needed to appropriately intervene with your employees. License status checks, for example, don’t provide any information surrounding driver behavior. They also lack specific violation detail that outline the actions leading to the invalid status. Reasons also vary state-to-state when constituting a license as invalid, leaving much to be desired.
Without information like expirations, endorsements and actions, you’re left with a disjointed picture of your driver upfront.
MYTH: Pulling motor vehicle records (MVRs) once or twice a year is enough
TRUTH: What happens between MVR checks can have a huge impact on your company’s liability, in addition to the safety of your drivers and community. Pulling MVRs at-hire, once a year or bi-annually only captures a snapshot in time, prompting the question – what’s happening all other days of the year? This is known as the visibility gap.
Consider this scenario – an employee driving a company vehicle crashes into another vehicle, and the passenger in that other vehicle sustains serious injuries. The injured party’s insurance company sues for damages, including pain and suffering. As part of the lawsuit, the injured party’s lawyer investigates the employee driving and finds information you weren’t aware of: a DUI and two minor incidents.
With state fees averaging around nine dollars per MVR, scheduled MVR buys can have a negative financial impact on your company’s bottom line. Don’t discount the time and effort it takes to additionally collect, sort and review MVRs.
The reality is that anything less than continuous driver monitoring and corresponding MVR insight leaves a visibility gap.
MYTH: In-vehicle telematics and GPS data give me enough driver insight
TRUTH: In-vehicle telematics and GPS, while beneficial in many ways, don’t give you the full driver safety insight needed to spot and mitigate driver risk most effectively. Company vehicles can use information generated by these systems to lower fuel costs and more effectively create driver routes.
While information like this is invaluable, it doesn’t give the full scope of driver performance. Telematics and GPS doesn’t give you a view into off the clock behavior, or any sort of behavior once that device has been turned off. If relying solely on these technologies, you won’t know when a driver is arrested for a DUI, ticketed for a traffic violation or involved in an after-hours incident.
It’s important to understand an employee’s driver performance during non-work hours, as statistics show that incidents occur when much of the workforce isn’t on the clock – between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Driver monitoring best practices to keep your company safer
The first step in combatting your company’s driver risk is to dismantle the long-held misconceptions surrounding what effective driver monitoring means. Violations and license data, background checks, detailed incident reports, bumper sticker programs, telematics and MVRs are all part of an integrated approach in monitoring driver safety but these technologies paint an incomplete picture of driver risk.
By using a continuous driver monitoring solution like SambaSafety’s Qorta platform, you can bridge the gap created by disparate data points and instead utilize near real-time actionable driver behavior insight your company needs to protect itself, it’s drivers and the community. To learn the best practices only the most comprehensive driver monitoring programs are following, download our white paper.