By Kristofer Bush, Vice President, Marketing, LeasePlan USA
Seventy one percent of drivers say their driving behavior does not change when driving a company vehicle versus a personal vehicle. Are drivers focused on safety regardless of the vehicle? Or are companies not doing enough to promote safe driving?
This statistic came from a global LeasePlan Driver Survey, which surveyed 3,377 company car drivers in 20 countries. The first series of results provided to LeasePlan focused on driver safety and the driver’s feelings on their company’s approach to safety. I found the results to be very interesting and important to understand, especially when dealing with fleets.
In the United States, 45 percent of the drivers said their company regularly sends emails with tips and tricks on driving safely. Twenty nine percent globally receive regular information and tips from their employers on safe driving behavior. Yet most drivers still multitask when driving.
I think for me it is looking at these numbers then digging into how effective these emails and tips are on drivers. Fleet management companies create newsletters that provide helpful safety tips for drivers. But are drivers taking these safety messages and tips seriously?
If safety tips aren’t resonating with drivers, would safety courses and workshops be a more effective approach? Nearly a third of all drivers questioned said they can attend courses and workshops or can do tests on safe driving. I think workshops and courses provide a more effective outlet for companies to teach driver safety. All the clutter in drivers’ emails today is likely causing these tips to get lost. However, I would not stop sending the emails since they are effectively reaching some of the drivers.
Interactive workshops and courses could be the next step in pushing drivers to realize driving is not an opportunity to catch up on work or with loved ones; it requires your full attention. I am personally aware of how windshield time can be used as “productive” time, making work phone calls and checking in with my family. But when the total cell phone ban was implemented at my company, it changed the way I view driving and the dangers on the road. A total cell phone ban while driving is a big step, but is it necessary to get a driver to pay attention to the road?
Distracted driving is a major pain point on the roads today. The most common activities while driving in the United States, in addition to calling, are eating and drinking. The survey, performed by TNS, showed that drivers in the States are more cautious as they check social media and send messages, significantly less compared to the other countries surveyed. It was surprising that in Europe, many drivers stated they use social media when driving, while on U.S. roads, it was almost non-existent. Driver training could help change these behaviors. No one wants their driver checking social media in a company vehicle; it’s not safe for anyone.
This survey really gave us the drivers’ perspective on how they feel driver safety is being handled and developed by their organizations. People learn and absorb information in different ways. Sometimes it takes training courses. Sometimes it takes an “event” to occur. And for many of us, it simply takes making a conscious effort to put the distractions away. It is less about the method of delivery and more with respect to the messaging content and culture. By creating an effective safe driving culture within your organization it could save you time, money and most importantly, a life.