Driver shortage is the most significant issue in the trucking industry right now. According to an estimate, the industry will need 900,000 new drivers in the next ten years. The growing driver shortage problem also emphasizes the importance of retaining good drivers.
The use of the latest technology can help carriers improve the driver retention rate. Let’s see how.
1. Making technology a focal point in driver training
The truck driver population is largely composed of men in their 50s, who have mostly used paper logs. Technological products such as electronic logging devices and fleet management software may feel alien to them early on. Making technology a focal point in driver training and onboarding can ease their concerns and improve the driver retention rate.
It is also important that you are using a fleet management software or ELD solution that is easy-to-use and driver friendly. Look for third-party and user reviews to find a product that other drivers love.
2. Preventing driver coercion and harassment
The ELD mandate has provisions that may prevent driver coercion and harassment. Examples of driver harassment include asking a driver to manipulate log hours, drive past their hours of service, interruption of a driver’s off-duty time, etc.
The ELD mandate protects drivers from coercion. It limits the ability of carriers or drivers to edit records and, in case of an edit, requires driver’s consent to indicate the accuracy of the edit.
Carriers may improve the overall drive retention rate by making sure that drivers are not harassed or coerced by fleet managers. Drivers may feel more comfortable with a company that prioritizes and highlights drivers’ rights.
3. Focusing on driver safety
Driver safety should be your number one priority. Otherwise, drivers may feel left out and undervalued, which may have a negative impact on the retention rate.
There are two key components of driver safety: encouraging safe driving behavior and vehicle maintenance. With the help of technology, you can set up and automate systems for both.
Some ELDs with powerful fleet management features have a driver safety scorecards system that fleet managers can use to identify drivers with poor performance and safety scores. Fleet and safety managers can then organize coaching programs to promote safe driving behavior and increase driver safety.
Some feature-rich ELDs, like the Motive ELD solution, also automatically monitor fault codes and catch maintenance issues as early as possible. If an issue occurs, it is instantly displayed on the Motive Dashboard, and fleet managers receive a fault code notification.
With the help of these features, safety managers can stay on top of driver safety and vehicle maintenance—which may have a positive impact on the overall driver retention rate.
4. Rewarding good performances
Rewarding good performances may dramatically improve the driver retention rate. You will have to design a performance-based compensation system to reward good performances and safe driving behavior. The latest technology and electronic logging devices enable fleet administrators and managers to establish a performance-based reward system.
Fleet managers can monitor the detection of safety events. Critical safety events include hard braking, hard cornering, and excessive acceleration. The Motive ELD solution automatically monitors and flags critical safety events. Safety scores are then calculated for all drivers in your fleet, ranking them by hard brakes, hard corners, hard accelerations.
Fleet managers can track the performance of drivers, identify the best-performing and safest drivers in the fleet, and reward them with either a bonus check, extra vacation days, or something else.
These performance-based rewards may improve the driver retention rate as well as increase the overall safety of the fleet.
5. Protecting drivers with dashcams
Accidents happen. However, despite passenger vehicles being at fault in 85% of truck-passenger accidents, commercial drivers are more likely to be blamed when cases are litigated. Drivers may not want to be with a company that doesn’t back them.
With the help of front-facing dash cams, fleet managers can see events unfold from the driver’s perspective. Video provides clear evidence of what really happened, allowing carriers to exonerate drivers when they aren’t at fault and do the right thing when they are.
Protecting and backing your drivers when they need your support the most may have a positive impact on the driver retention rate.
For more information, read about the Motive Smart Dashcam.
What’s next in driver retention?
Driver retention is about building a company culture that drivers actually want to be a part of. As the driver shortage and retention problems continue to grow, technology may play an even more prominent role in helping fleets retain good drivers.
And the role of technology isn’t only limited to driver retention. Modern tech and ELDs are having a positive impact on almost every aspect of fleet management. Jai Ranganathan, Motive’s VP of Product, recently talked about the future of ELDs and how these devices are a gateway to many more capabilities, such as asset tracking, vehicle utilization, and third-party integrations. You can listen to the podcast here.