One of the greatest factors directly impacting fuel consumption is individual driver behavior. From speeding to frequent braking, aggressive driving does not actually reduce travel time. It further creates greater accident risks and can increase fuel consumption by more than 30 percent. Even the most fuel-efficient vehicles will perform poorly with an inefficient or aggressive driver behind the wheel. According to the US EPA, smart driving such as gentle acceleration and braking can improve fuel economy by up to 33% and save more than $1 per gallon.
Defensive driving has traditionally been the basis for safety programs, but is now also fundamental to fuel consumption reduction. Defensive driving effectively reduces the three key components of fuel-guzzling aggressive driving – over speeding, over accelerating and over braking. For heavy duty vehicles such as waste trucks, unnecessary idling can have a dramatic impact on fuel consumption. The extent to which idling impacts fuel and emissions is dependent on drivers, truck types and the time of year, however the American Trucking Association estimates that excessive idling increases yearly maintenance costs by up to $2,000 per vehicle.
Given that by simply increasing speeds by five to eight miles an hour you increase fuel consumption by up to 20 percent, setting thresholds for speeding can have a significant impact. Setting scorecard alerts for speeding, engine over-revving, hard braking, rapid acceleration or excessive idling let drivers quickly modify behavior and sends alarms to managers for frequent violations.
Also, by adopting fleet management technology to promote safer driving, fleets are recognizing significant cost savings through lower insurance premiums due to fewer accidents and lower workman’s compensation costs. For example, Montgomery Insurancerewards safer fleet management practices with an average discount of 15% in premiums for the first year, and a maximum discount of up to 40% based on fleet performance in renewal years.
Any way you slice it, it’s becoming clear that fleet safety performance is top of the list for every fleet-driven organization. And you can’t improve safety levels without improving each driver’s behavior. To do so proactively and constructively, you need to be able to measure and score your drivers in a fair and consistent manner. Driver scorecards deliver the goods.