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Fleet Intuition

Updating driver information

Posted by Jean-Clay Van Heerden on 2019/01/09 11:00 AM
Jean-Clay Van Heerden

updating driver information

A major pain point for the Human Resources (HR) department of any company is collecting and maintaining accurate driver details – this information is often not updated because each side believes the onus is on the other side to do the work.

Collecting updated driver information is a massive pain point for fleet managers and the HR department in many companies.

However, this is vital information on a number of levels for both companies handling their own fleet management and for fleet management companies doing the work on behalf of a client.

 A simple scenario on just one of these levels – a driver is involved in a crash but the information on hand has not been updated and no next of kin is identified, causing unnecessary and even critical delays.

 Sudesh Pillay, Head of Consulting and Data Analytics at EQSTRA Fleet Management, says updated car and driver information is important so accurate reporting to internal and external customers can be maintained.

 “For the company it is necessary in order to redirect traffic fines to the driver. Equally, incorrect car specification or details might affect the cost of the vehicle, fit for purpose of the vehicle, safety features and regulations requirements, which might lead to recommending an incorrect vehicle to a client,” he says.

 “There are also tax implications where different tax rates may be applicable to different drivers and the benefit of using the company vehicle may not be taxed correctly when this information is not adequately captured.”

Ideally one would want the driver of the vehicle to ensure their vehicle and personal information is captured and updated. However, this is difficult to achieve in practice though the use of fleet management apps makes this easier to do.

 “Collecting and updating driver information is between HR and Fleet or Operations department. HR may provide information to the Fleet or Operation department to update but it is normally a fleet administrator’s responsibility to keep the information updated,” says Pillay.

In order to streamline the process, collaboration across departments is important where human resources, fleet management and the department(s) using the vehicles share information as and when needed.

Read: How to manage the licensing for your fleet

 “Human Resources is a good starting place as it would have most of the driver specific information, including which drivers receive what vehicle perks. More importantly, they have information on which employees are joining or leaving the organisation. Automating the flow of this information to the fleet management department would go some way towards streamlining this process,” adds Pillay.

 Technology can play a part in keeping information current and, for example, biometrics can assist in identifying who is driving a vehicle and when, as it is not easy to copy a fingerprint or retinal scan.

 Essentially, a vehicle will only be able to be driven if a valid driver presents their credentials to the biometric scanner:

  • Coupling this information with the telematics would also allow one to determine whether drivers are abusing the company vehicle, but more importantly it would allow one to optimise on driving behaviour.

  • In obtaining vehicle details, technology has assisted in seamlessly and accurately capturing details of a vehicle such as the VIN number, make and model. It may sound trivial but a vehicle’s make and model is difficult to capture accurately as there are so many variants of a vehicle and the differences may be very subtle. By scanning a vehicle’s license disc (taking a picture of it through an app for instance) one would be able to obtain a lot of the required information and would also be able to determine when the vehicle’s license is about to expire.

 Technology has evolved over the years and has assisted companies with fleets to manage and monitor their vehicles and drivers efficiently and effectively using features such as:

  1. E-Call – will automatically place a call for help in cases of medical emergency or accident.

  2. Eco driving – Offers advice on how to reduce fuel cost through safer driving habits.

  3. Vehicle tracking – May be used in  a number of ways, such as anti-theft and enhanced vehicle security.

  4. Remote diagnostics – help avoid vehicle breakdowns by detecting when a vehicle requires service and alerts drivers accordingly.

  5. Geo-fencing – is a technology that can detect when a vehicle crosses a virtual boundary around a real-world geographical area.

 However, Pillay warns care needs to be taken to prevent abuses to the constant monitoring offered by these devices and that the right to privacy is enshrined in the constitution.

 “Violations to the relevant acts such as the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) could lead to a fine and some jurisdictions also require a driver to opt in to monitoring even if the vehicle is company owned. As technology becomes more pervasive, it is expected that more jurisdictions would follow similar trends,” he says.

 “In order to mitigate against potential issues, companies should have well thought through and clearly communicated fleet policies. The intentions of the policy should also be transparent and easily understood by all users of the fleet.

 “Access to this type of information should also be controlled and processes should be put in place to ensure the best and most ethical standards are adhered to.”

 The POPI Act is there to ensure all South African institutions conduct themselves in a responsible manner when collecting, processing, storing and sharing another entity’s personal information by holding them accountable should they abuse or compromise your personal information in any way.

 POPI provides certain rights and protection to the owner of personal information:

      • when and how you choose to share your information (requires your consent).

      • the type and extent of information you choose to share (must be collected for valid reasons).

      • transparency and accountability on how your data will be used (limited to the purpose) and notification if/when the data is compromised.

      • providing you with access to your own information as well as the right to have your data removed and/or destroyed should you so wish.

      • who has access to your information, i.e. there must be adequate measures and controls in place to track access and prevent unauthorised people, even within the same company, from accessing your information.

      • how and where your information is stored (there must be adequate measures and controls in place to safeguard your information to protect it from theft, or being compromised).

      • the integrity and continued accuracy of your information (i.e. your information must be captured correctly and once collected, the institution is responsible to maintain it).


Examples of personal information includes:

      • Identity and/or passport number

      • Date of birth and age

      • Phone number

      • Email address

      • Physical address

      • Gender, Race and Ethnic origin

      • Biometric Data

      • Photos, voice recordings, video footage

      • Marital/Relationship status and Family relations

      • Criminal record 

“At the end of the day it is a two-way street where both drivers and the company should strive to keep records as up to date as possible – it really is in the driver’s best interests,” says Pillay.


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Topics: Management