Since joining Navman Wireless a year ago, Solutions Specialist Chris L'Ecluse has helped numerous fleets in various industries and of different sizes improve their safe driving practices, driver behaviour and advise on incident mitigation strategies.
Prior to joining Navman Wireless, Chris had a successful 20 year career in the Western Australian Police Force where he held the rank of Sergeant. For the last 10 years, he has trained Advanced Defensive Driving in many countries around the world and consulted on land transport safety issues, specifically in the mining and resources sector.
Q: What is the biggest issue you see facing fleet managers?
The biggest issue facing fleet managers is that they are overwhelmed with the day to day running of the organisation which takes away from more pressing issues, like safety. They're focused on operations and ensuring their fleets get out the door and because of this safety gets missed. Quite often, safety doesn't gain as much traction until something has occurred ? a crash or injury. And with the Workplace Health & Safety (WH&S) Act of 2011, a lot of organisations fail to realise the impact not adhering to it could have on them.
Since it was introduced, authorities have been focused on the larger companies, but soon they will begin paying closer attention to fleets of all sizes. Businesses that don't adhere to WH&S can be fined up to $600,000 or face a term of up to five years imprisonment if found guilty for non-compliance, which could have a huge implication to an SME.
When authorities investigate an organisation, the main questions they will ask are:
- Have you done an audit to understand your risk exposure?
- If not why?
- What is the organisation doing to actively mitigate the identified risk to make it a safe place to work?
If organisations aren't able to show they are proactively addressing risks, they can be fined.
Another part of the WH&S legislation that most fleet managers aren't aware of is the 'chain of responsibility' ? every individual from the driver to fleet manager is inherently responsible for the safety of the operation. This means anyone who doesn't adhere can be charged as an individual ? they can no longer hide behind a company banner.
Q: What are the ways an organisation can mitigate risk?
We know that driving is a risk, so a fleet manager needs to find a way to challenge that risk and make it a safer place for their personnel. This proactive approach is one of the things authorities look for when determining whether a business is complying with WH&S.
One of the best ways to address this is with technology. For example, Navman Wireless' Driver Academy measures the risk profile of each individual driver to determine where their vulnerabilities may be. Once the risk areas are determined, the Academy then prescribes a training plan to mitigate that risk.
For example, if a driver is identified as a high risk driver because they speed, the programme will identify this and prescribe a speeding module for that individual, which is how an organisation can show it is being proactive in mitigating risk.
Q: From your time training drivers around the world, what differences have you seen in the way people drive around the world?
I've conducted driving courses around the world ? everything from mud and snow training in Poland to desert training in the Middle East. There are few continents that I haven't been. The biggest thing I've noticed is the difference in perception between skill versus behaviour.
For example, in Malaysia they have some of the most skilled drivers, but the behaviour of Malaysian drivers is poor as rules aren't enforced, so drivers don't adhere to them. On the other hand, the authorities in Australia are extremely rigid in ensuring that regulations are adhered to. So while the drivers here may not be as skilled, they're driving behaviour is safer, leading to fewer incidents.
Skill is impacted by the amount of training a driver receives whereas behaviour is dictated by the enforcement of the rules. It all comes back to the ABCs of driving: Activated, Behaviour, Consequences.
Q: As a driver what's your biggest pet peeve on the road?
Inconsiderate drivers ? people who don't take into consideration other drivers on the road ? people who jump the queue, don't use their signals or people who drive in the fast lane 10kms under the speed limit.