The ORS has become a slippery fish – will it be made public? Or not? But really that question no longer matters as it has already served its purpose with most operators and many customers now seeing it as a valid measure of the standard at which a fleet is being managed. It has put a spotlight on two key areas that previously were in the “too hard” basket; the quality of driver / workshop maintenance checks, and driving behaviour on the road.

Combine this with the increasing focus on fuel efficiency, and it is clear that your driver is more than an ambassador when at your customer’s gate and showcasing your brand on the road. Good drivers are the difference between a 5 star ORS and a 3 star ORS, and the difference between spending up to $300 extra in fuel per truck per week.

No wonder then, that many operators are looking into performance bonus programmes for their drivers. It is one thing to offer a driver a good starting wage based on a belief of superior skills, and quite another to see those skills in action every day.

With a bonus scheme, the driver has to demonstrate those skills every day to earn top dollar. With a good starting wage, the wrong guy could end up with the extra cash, and you, the owner, could still end up with all the bills that trail in his wake.

It is no surprise then, that your previously underused GPS system is being dusted down for use as the basis of your driver bonus scheme, but before you start, there are some ground rules. Two biggies, with regard to speed management that have re-appeared at the top of our “Frequently asked questions” list over the last couple of months are:

  1. Which figures do I use to measure speed for my drivers?
  2. Is my Driver ID working properly?

Speed is a major in terms of both your ORS and the likelihood of a premature conversation with your insurance company. It can also be a big factor your fuel bill.

  1. Which figures do I use to measure speed for my drivers?

Just to be clear, the speed limits for Class 4 and 5 trucks is 90km/h. That’s on the flat as well as down hill. The police will normally allow you a tolerance of 5 km/h – meaning if you nudge up to 95km/h you should be OK. But driving at 95km/h and nudging beyond that is not OK.

So the smart people are measuring all speed events over 90 km/h. BUT watch out for these pitfalls:

  1. Some GPS systems have decided for you that you only need to measure over 96km/h (i.e. beyond the police tolerance),
  2. Some systems haven’t really thought about it at all and you can only measure over 100km/h (i.e. the car speed limit).

Make sure you know what you are measuring, and how that fits with the police’s view, your safety guidance, and the fuel efficient operating range for your trucks.

This is the big one though:

  1. Is my Driver ID working properly?

If you have Driver ID so you can log speed events against an individual driver to go towards your bonus calculations…. You’ll need to check that the driver is logged in. The fastest way for a Driver with a heavy right foot to guarantee a “zero speed event score” is to not log in… so make sure you check how many hours the driver has been logged in for each day / week / month, or how many kms are clocked up against each ID, before you pay out the bonus.

And the fastest mover on our FAQ list is yet to make number one, but it won’t be long until we need a definitive answer to this one;

  1. “My new trucks have fuel efficiency technology that only kicks in at 95 km/h. How do I stay legal, but still get the critical cost saving benefits of this technology?”
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