Fleet Driver Awareness and Education
Encouraging fuel-efficient driving techniques
A driver awareness program for local government employees communicates fuel efficiency policies, including vehicle usage procedures and fuel efficiency targets and driving techniques. The key goal of the program is to ensure all drivers understand corporate plans, policies, and programs related to climate action.
A driver awareness program can be integrated with existing training programs or regular meetings and include, but do not need to be limited to:
- Regular meetings
- Workplace posters
- Fuel efficient driving techniques resources
- Personnel pay stub tip inserts
- Group emails
A driver training program focuses on training drivers in fuel efficient driving techniques and managers in fuel efficient management techniques. It is driven by the idea that engaging staff (already your largest operating cost) creates a culture of fuel efficiency and taps into the knowledge of those often closest to the vehicles.
Training workshops can be held in-classroom or in-vehicle and should always reflect the needs of business operations. Often it should be an extension of existing training programs. A driver training program is a core element of a green fleet action plan and can be strengthened by a driver incentive program.
A driver incentive program encourages drivers to practice fuel efficient driving techniques and take climate action by reinforcing a green fleet action plan and related policies. It should be delivered alongside key resources, such as training and equipment, and in an open and fair manner.
The program should be consistent with training and respond to driver preferences. It should be updated on a regular basis to respond to strengths and weaknesses as well as driver concerns.
In the local government context, financial incentives can often be difficult to implement. However, competition and reward systems have been successfully implemented. Driver incentive programs, especially financial, have proven to be an important contributor to emissions reductions at major trucking companies.
Everyone is part of the solution
Implementing an awareness program is a simple step to take and should occur early on in your fleet emissions reduction strategy. For example, the Township of Langley organized a coordinated effort between their fleet operations and environmentally focused employees to enhance their approach to communicating the new GHG reduction program and its importance.
To help determine the costs and benefits of developing an awareness program, identify any awareness needs based on your green fleet action plan strategies and communicate accordingly.
Start your training in a classroom scenario by teaching your drivers fuel efficient driving techniques. Coordinate your training program with a driver awareness program and green fleet action plan in order to reinforce the same habits over and over. Training should provide instruction for drivers on how to operate their vehicles efficiently, for managers on how to track emissions reductions, and for mechanics/technicians on how to ensure the fleet will run at optimal engine efficiency.
Start by determining the costs and benefits of redeveloping your current training to include energy efficient techniques. Analyze the raw operating and usage data and identify opportunities for immediate action and activities that result in higher than average fuel consumption. This is one place a fuel data management system comes in handy.
It is important to seek commitment to the program. Identify the job types requiring training and any existing programs. Make sure you have an understanding of job responsibilities, training needs, and key organizational players.
There are numerous resources that provide guidance on fuel efficient training and even consultants that will help you do the job using tested and true techniques. Natural Resources Canada’s FleetSmart Program and E3 Fleet provides consulting support on exactly how to effectively implement a program.
Once developed, implement training as you see fit, ensuring that new employees have access to the same opportunities. Develop a driver incentive program to reinforce the changes if needed.
Before implementing incentives, try developing a regular competition for employees to participate in related to reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency. Incentive programs are developed to encourage employees to take the actions that will reduce fuel consumption. As such, use your green fleet action plan to understand your incentive needs and try to determine leverage points. Leverage points will allow you to achieve the greatest amount of reductions with the least amount of investment.
Be sure to involve drivers and mechanics/technicians in designing the program to ensure that the incentives will effectively result in behavioural change. Make decisions regarding timing and the reward system and implement your program. Ensure that you continuously review and revise the incentive program to keep it effective and up to date. This likely means removing some incentives and replacing them for others.
Incentive programs should not be the main driver behind GHG reductions. If relied on too much, behavioural change is unlikely to be permanent. It is important to frame the incentives in terms of the objectives of the program and clearly communicate to drivers that they are being put in place to form new habits that will have huge benefits on both the environment and for each employee.
Carefully manage incentive programs. Remember that the goal is to change behaviour permanently, not just during the duration of the incentive program. Make sure that your program is designed so that behavioural changes are not lost if the program is removed. Be careful when removing incentive programs to avoid employee frustration and response.