Driver safety remains a top priority for fleets, with half of the businesses surveyed monitoring and measuring driver behavior and 30% of respondents planning on investing in driver wellbeing technology this year, the survey shows.  -  Photo: Ford

Driver safety remains a top priority for fleets, with half of the businesses surveyed monitoring and measuring driver behavior and 30% of respondents planning on investing in driver wellbeing technology this year, the survey shows.

Photo: Ford

A clear majority of fleet managers lack adequate information in moving to electric and alternative energy vehicles while having to delay transition plans due to excessive costs, according to an annual survey from Teletrac Navman, a connected mobility platform that manages vehicle and equipment assets.

The extensive survey queried fleet managers on the topics of zero emissions mandates, electric vehicle usage, fleet expenses, and driver wellbeing and safety.

Released March 13, the 2024 Telematics Survey (TS24) also sheds light on the industry’s latest trends and challenges, as well as the viewpoints of global operational leaders on topics including safety, AI adoption, alternative energy, and 2024’s biggest obstacles for fleets.

Taking data from more than 500 global fleet businesses, the annual report focuses on three key areas: Sustainability, safety, and efficiency. The respondent breakdown based on fleet types was: transportation, 38%; construction, 35%; services, 18%; and government, 8%.

Sustainability: Fleets Lack Credible Info Sources as Challenges Remain 

With more than half of fleets (65%) feeling environmental pressure to transition to alternative energy, many are operating a multi-energy fleet or are about to begin their transition while still experiencing a lack of awareness and readily available, trustworthy guidance. 

“Fleets of all sizes and scales are already planning and navigating their transition, but we know there simply isn’t enough credible information out there to help simplify what is a complex move for any business,” said Alain Samaha, Global President & CEO of Teletrac Navman, in a news release. “Alternative energy is still such a new concept for many fleet operators and the process of switching can feel overwhelming.”

When seeking guidance on transitioning fleets to electric or alternative energy, a quarter of respondents (25%) prefer advice from experts, and 15% would opt for dedicated training courses.

While the switch to alternative energy keeps rising on fleet operators’ agendas and a quarter of TS24 respondents (25%) name tackling rising fuel costs as a key motivation, challenges remain. The frequency of emerging new technologies, high purchase cost of alternative energy vehicles, and limited public charging points available have been identified as the top obstacles for businesses on their way to decarbonization.

This is highlighted even further as nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents state that ongoing cost pressures will likely delay their transition to EV or alternative energy vehicles.

While they feel environmental pressures, over half (56%) do not believe the UK government will go ahead with their planned ban on fossil fuels. In the US, 46% doubt the government will go ahead with the planned ban on fossil fuels — outnumbered by Australia and New Zealand where 69% express doubts.

Driver Safety and Wellbeing Top Business Focus for 2024

Driver safety remains a top priority for fleets, with half of the businesses surveyed monitoring and measuring driver behavior and 30% of respondents planning on investing in driver wellbeing technology this year.

Over two thirds of TS24 respondents (73%) have seen fewer accidents on the job since adopting telematics solutions, and 73% are actively rewarding drivers for better performance.

TS24 also found 71% of respondents have seen improved driver performance through driver rewards programs.

Incentivizing drivers has become crucial for retention, especially in the face of economic challenges such as the cost-of-living crisis. This data also aligns with the industry's focus on driver well-being and a rising interest in recognition and rewards programs to retain and support drivers.

More than half of the businesses surveyed (62%) recognize the cost-of-living crisis’ impact on their drivers’ mental health, and Teletrac Navman has seen a 110% increase year-on-year in driver appreciation activities, a 54% increase in adopting reward programs, and a 52% increase in the promotion to senior driver.

Rising fuel costs are considered in driver behavior management as well, with a 33% increase in businesses implementing new driver behavior programs to navigate rising fuel costs since last year.

“The last 12 months have come with their own set of challenges for fleets, and rising insurance and fuel costs have been a leading concern for operators globally,” Samaha said. “This in turn has led to an even higher emphasis on safety, prompting operators to prioritize safe processes and behavior to manage costs effectively as well as look after staff wellbeing.” 

Efficiency and Streamlining

TS24 also found businesses are working towards keeping up with the latest technologies to achieve streamlined operations.

With the top costs for fleets listed as fuel, followed by equipment and vehicle maintenance and purchase, almost all TS24 respondents (96%) say they have made measurable savings by implementing telematics, across admin time savings, fuel savings, and overall cost savings.

Asset visibility, meeting compliance regulations and more efficient routing and dispatching are the top three benefits operators have seen since implementing telematics solutions, according to the industry-wide survey.

Despite the widespread adoption of telematics solutions (98%), less than half of businesses (43%) feel they are using these tools to their full potential.

“Businesses are facing many different challenges now, with the ‘great resignation’ leading to the higher turnover of people and therefore the need for more frequent training and handovers,” Samaha said. “Furthermore, technological advancements may require deeper training, and the varying needs of different departments can result in underuse across the diverse features of platforms.”

While AI technology is beginning to grow in prevalence, the market increasingly recognizes the possibilities of data-led and machine learning applications, with 47% of TS24 respondents leveraging AI solutions.

“Businesses are slowly but surely embracing new technologies, and there is an anticipation of increased availability of advanced AI tech in the near future, enabling more sophisticated applications and vehicle and driver monitoring,” Samaha added.

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