VEHICLE TRACKING? NO FEAR
How to overcome your drivers’ objections to vehicle tracking
Duty of care… corporate manslaughter… the Working Time Directive… with a
plethora of new legislation already in place or on the horizon, businesses are
increasingly looking to the latest vehicle tracking technology to help them fulfil
their legal obligations, as well as manage their fleet more effectively. But how
do you overcome initial objections from staff over privacy and human rights?
The following guide outlines the most important steps to take when
introducing a telematics system to your fleet and arms you with 10 key
reasons why tracking can be good news for drivers, as well as management.
HOW DO I INTRODUCE VEHICLE TRACKING?
5 steps to a happier workforce
1. Put it in writing
Many people feel automatically threatened by change, particularly when it
involves technology. But keeping everyone fully informed about what the
change will be and exactly how it will impact on them individually on a day-today
basis is the key to the introduction of any new system. Send a letter to all your staff explaining why the system is being introduced and what the benefits will be for both them and the company. Include an invitation for staff to ask questions and a clear feedback route for them to do so.
2. Explain why
Be as open as you can be about the reasons why you are installing vehicle
tracking and get the relevant union representatives involved as early as
possible. New legislation like the Working Time Directive, duty of care and
corporate manslaughter are forcing the hand of many fleet operators. The
UK’s enduring compensation culture is also having a significant impact on
how businesses operate. A large claim could spell the end for a small
company -and also for the fleet drivers on its payroll.
Vehicle tracking can often be accused of breaching human rights, but you
need to explain that the tracking is related to the vehicle itself, which is a
company asset, not the individual. Tracking technology is designed
predominantly to help managers to allocate resources more effectively – not
to spy on driver’s lives outside of work, but this is an important message which
needs spelling out to avoid a backlash.
3. Support your technophobes
Support the technophobes in your workforce – and there will always be some
of them – by giving them proper training in how the system works. Most of
today’s systems are so intuitive and user friendly that drivers often teach
themselves. But 20 to 30 minutes is usually enough to take away the fear
factor and demonstrates your commitment to support them through the
4. Focus on fairness
When CCTV was first introduced to the UK over 20 years ago, it was met
initially with hostility and fear centred on Big Brother accusations. Now, give or
take a handful of vocal and persistent opponents, there is a general tolerance
of the technology, a widespread acceptance that the benefits it brings
outweigh any issues of civil liberties and an understanding that it poses no
threat unless you are doing something wrong. Similar parallels can be drawn
with vehicle tracking. The vast majority of drivers do the job honestly and to
their best of their ability. The message of reassurance must be reiterated
clearly that for these, the technology improves the efficiency of the whole
operation without having much direct impact of their working day and that the
system brings parity and fairness for all. system brings parity and fairness for all.
5. Do NOT install covertly
We never recommend that our customers install tracking covertly. Doing
things under cover simply reinforces the idea that you are snooping on your
drivers and you risk a huge backlash if the technology is uncovered by staff at
a later date. Prevention -curbing any prevalent negative driver behaviour by
being open about your plans is much better than cure – having to sack staff if
they are discovered.
“WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?”
10 reasons why your staff should welcome vehicle tracking
1. No more tedious paperwork: Field sales staff no longer have to fill in
laborious mileage sheets to get paid or re-claim expenses and can send
appointments straight to their own inbox back in the office from on the road.
A tracking system also supplies independent verification that they have
attended a job in cases of dispute by the customer.
For example: an electrician spends an hour going to the warehouse to get
necessary parts for the job; this can be proved when the customer queries the
hourly rate invoice.
2. Safer working conditions: Tracking can also actively protect employees.
Panic buttons are often integrated into tracking systems, triggering an
automatic email or being converted into a text message. They are particularly
valuable for lone workers in remote areas or drivers delivering high value
goods. Unauthorised vehicle alerts show when a vehicle has been stolen
when parked outside a driver’s house at night (more often than not with
several of the employee’s personal possessions left inside).
For example: a driver delivering pharmaceutical goods is hijacked in a rough
neighbourhood. Hitting the panic button means the police can successfully
intervene as he is being marched to a cashpoint at knifepoint.
For example: a driver has a heart attack in a motorway layby. The stationery
vehicle alert catches the attention of office staff who send for medical help.
3. Safer driving conditions: Integrating tracking with messaging technology
also means that drivers no longer have to pull over to answer mobile calls
from the office all day.
4. Better training: Vehicle tracking data also enables managers to identify
high risk drivers who speed regularly and to address such problems -and
ultimately stop accidents – through driver training.
5. Less stress: New technology is also available which integrates satellite
navigation with vehicle tracking, offering drivers a popular employee benefit to
sweeten what may be perceived as a bitter pill. Staff get sent job instructions
and when they click on screen to accept the job, it automatically launches an
on-screen map with directions – with no need for planning and maps and
none of the stress of getting lost or misinterpreting instructions and going to
the wrong address.
6. More money: For drivers who get paid by results or get a productivity
bonus, being able to allocate the nearest driver to the job means they can get
more jobs completed in less time.
For example: a drains cleaning company introduces a bonus for staff
completing and exceeding a certain number of jobs following the introduction
of vehicle tracking.
7. Less tax: The ‘benefit-in-kind’ tax charge on company vans for employees
has soared recently from £500 to £3,000. The move means that van drivers
will be forced to pay significantly more income tax -unless their employers
can prove that the van is only used for business and not personal use.
Vehicle tracking gives unequivocal proof of business mileage, with no extra
effort required of drivers.
8. More breaks: Vehicle tracking ensures that drivers comply with the
demands of the Working Time Directive, giving alerts when a break is needed
and stopping drivers from working too many hours and falling asleep at the
9. Happier customers: With vehicle tracking, if your drivers are running late
for any reason, the office team can warn the customer in advance, improving
standards of customer service and making sure drivers don’t have to deal with
aggressive or disgruntled customers.
10. Fairer distribution of work: As tracking distributes jobs as efficiently as
possible, it means that diligent drivers no longer have to fill in the gaps for the
less committed ones. Management can also see which drivers are working
the hardest and can reward them accordingly.
For example: a driver working for a courier company is struggling to cope with
an unrealistic work schedule, forcing him to speed regularly to hit deadlines.
The tracking system alerts management to the pressure he is facing and they
adjust the schedule accordingly.
For example: a haulier in Scotland can see that the same driver is due to
complete two particularly difficult routes on the same day while another has
landed two of the easiest jobs – he swaps them around to ensure fairness and
Please note: Examples are included as illustrations only.