The carrot or the stick? Telematics and incentivised driving

Incentivised drivingYou’d be hard pressed to identify a more important aspect of any employer’s role, than ensuring the safety of company drivers, their passengers and the road using public.

Be it the procurement of the vehicles themselves or the adherence to company policy and protocol, safety, in all its forms, should always be a top priority.

Safety first                                                                             

Of course, there’s a never-ending list of ways to foster better safety standards within any one fleet, although a rewards program or incentive scheme is one proven way to get results.

But simply throwing cash at your better drivers isn’t always going to equate to improved safety standards.

Worse still, a punitive approach to unsafe driving is proven not to work at all. Beating your drivers over the head with punishment, in whatever form it may take, only works to promote further bad behavior.

Above all though, you need a fair and equitable system of appraisal to make a real go of an incentives program.

So what works?

There are a few different approaches to take, but being able to accurately measure, analyze and then distribute incentives is all-important.

Telematics technology, in its most basic form, is a great place to start and your best bet to get the ball rolling.

Built upon the framework of GPS technology, telematics is instant, it’s accurate and you can always see what’s going on with your fleet no matter where you are.

If you’ve already got telematics installed in your fleet, use it to assemble and ultimately measure your driver incentive program. Most telematics systems will have the capacity to report instant results back at any time too.

How to get started…

Start by thinking about which performance-based incentives you’d like to link to the following elements of telematics technology…

  • Journey start and finish times: How long are your drivers taking to get standard jobs done?
  • Vehicle speed: Are they driving too fast, slow?
  • Vehicle location: Are they sticking to the best route?
  • Acceleration: Too hard off the mark?
  • Braking: Too late, or too early?
  • Cornering: Safe or not?
  • Fuel consumption: Every drop costs you money.

Telematics technology employs customized algorithms to determine whether or not safety-relevant events have occurred or whether pre-set parameters have been breached.

Instantly generated appraisal reports can then be supplied directly to the driver after a shift, keeping everyone updated on their individual progress.


Transparency is vital. Tell them what’s happening, why it’s important, who’s going to benefit and how.

It’s vitally important your drivers and indeed the whole business are made well aware of the efficiencies benefits a telematics system can bring to your business before and incentives program is implemented.

A sure fire way to create unnecessary tension is to alert drivers before a shift that their actions for the day are to be monitored.

Fun and games?

It’s not for everyone, but creating a game-like driving incentive program, known as ‘gamification,’ is a trend that’s sweeping the fleet industry right now, especially over in the United States, and it could be an option to consider.

The idea being that the ‘gaming’ element makes for a more entertaining and interesting platform to win rewards and of course, drive safely too.

Azuga Fleet Mobile is one such mobile-based software allowing drivers to compete to earn rewards from top US brands like Burger King, Walmart and Amazon.

Onto the rewards…

Well, some incentives have a good track record of functioning really well to promote a genuine safety culture and always remember – everyone’s different.

Just ask your Mum, we’re all motivated in diverse ways. But, for many of us though, we’re moved to action by the almighty dollar.

The ‘Pat Cash’

They weren’t lying when they said money makes the world go around. It can also help to bolster your driver safety program, keeping your drivers and the public out of harm’s way.

Monetary rewards don’t necessarily have to consist of cold, hard fold either.

Things like pre-paid fuel reward cards, discounts, reward points for set prizes; the list goes on and on.

In fact, one reward scheme is currently underway in Newcastle, north of Sydney, where members of the public can download an app, which monitors speed and the use of mobile phones. Drivers can then earn reward points for safe driving, redeemable at participating stores.


For some, this is a more powerful incentive than cash. Simply having the respect of their peer group at work is enough for some to perform to all new heights.