Navman Wireless have been at the forefront of real-time GPS vehicle tracking and data analysis for several years, which are perfect for monitoring driving behaviour in terms of legality on the road, but how can companies assess at-risk driving behaviours that don’t set off the alarm bells?
Driving behaviour can be checked with traditional driver instruction programs, but this means taking drivers off the road for assessment, which ultimately costs in terms of productivity.
Launched in April, Navman Wireless have brought a new, online driving academy to the table.
The driving academy includes a driver assessment system which measures key driving behaviours and attitudes in order to identify drivers who may be at-risk in terms of driver and vehicle safety.
Navman Wireless solutions specialist Chris L’Ecluse said the driving academy is not intended to train drivers.
“As opposed to traditional instructor-based driver training, which is skills based coaching, what this program aims to do is challenge driving behaviour,” L’Ecluse said.
“As far as we’re concerned, if they have a licence for the vehicle they are driving, they have already been tested for the skills needed to drive that vehicle.”
L’Ecluse comes from a police background, with 20 years of experience in Western Australia where he worked highway patrol, crash investigation and driver training, and has been involved with the Navman driving academy for the past two-and-a-half years.
L’Ecluse has ensured the program is tailor-made to suit local conditions and laws where the drivers work, with specific programs available for Australia and New Zealand rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
“The key benefit of the program is that all the footage is filmed locally, it’s developed in Australia for Australia, with Australian laws in mind, and the voiceovers are Australian. The footage for New Zealand is actually filmed in New Zealand, because quite often when we have two countries like this we only see the Australian footage,” he said.
L’Ecluse regards the Navman driving academy to be better than other online driving assessments that he has reviewed, as it has real life driving scenarios in which the participant has to identify, on a ten second high definition video clip, a driving scenario from real life.
“It’s not staged, and the participant has to identify the greatest hazard within a ten second window.”
The way the program works is it grades each individual against the main criteria for driving competence, through six core competency areas; scanning, space management, knowledge of danger zones, speed management, awareness of other motorists, and attitude.
“Where they fall down is in their driving behaviours,” L’Ecluse said.
“That comes down to a culture and human behaviour, so we’ve done a lot of research into the psychology of driving, and at-risk behaviours, and that’s where this program seeks to challenge those behaviours, and seeks to identify a risk profile for an individual.
“Once that’s occurred, it’s identified where their deficiencies lie, and then it selects from the library of modules for that individual as a remedial action, and customises a course for that individual.”
In all there are 48 assessment criteria, broken up into 20 real-life video scenarios, and 28 multiple choice questions.
“Each one of those 48 assessment criteria relates in one way or another to those six driving competencies, and the driver is then scored according to the algorithm,” L’Ecluse explained.
“Part of the assessment includes a knowledge test of the policies relating to driver liability.”
L’Ecluse said that traditionally a driver would be given a copy of the policy during induction, and they would have to sign to say they had received it, without any further test of understanding.
“From a liability standpoint it’s very important for drivers to not only know or be given a copy of the policy, but to understand that policy… So we give a test for knowledge and understanding, which gives protection to the organisation of knowing that their drivers understand the policy.”
If the system identifies any at-risk behaviour in a driver during assessment, this can be brought to the attention of the employer, however knowledge of these potential risks can become a liability for the employer, requiring remedial action to change behaviours.
“Once we have that risk profile, by law now you’re obliged to act on that, so if a company fails to act on that identified risk, then they become liable,” L’Ecluse said.
A driver with at-risk behaviour identified will then be prescribed a series of training modules to ensure the driver has an opportunity to examine their own behaviour and become much more aware of the kinds of risks involved.
Each module takes no longer than 20 minutes, so there’s minimal impact on work time, and the duration also stays within the average maximum adult attention span.
“A low-risk driver might be given two training modules; a high risk driver might get 15,” L’Ecluse said.
“Those modules are metered out, it’s not 15 in one week, they will get reminders from the program to their email inbox that advise them that they have another course ready.
“It’s about making sure the attention span is far greater.”