Driver turnover has been above 90 percent for more than nine consecutive quarters and shows little sign of slowing down. What’s more is that issues related to management and workplace policies and communication have caused 30 percent of drivers to leave their job.

Keeping your drivers safe, recognizing them for doing the right thing, and offering a solid feedback loop are key to increasing driver engagement — and retention.

If the people who drive your products from one place to another do not feel like you have taken extra measures to keep them safe, then they will leave for jobs that do. Where does this leave you?

The more drivers you lose, the more difficult it will become to transport your products. This slows your operations, leading to monetary loss. Even worse, your organization will have a reputation for its low driver retention rate.

Losing drivers also creates a need for new recruits. Unfortunately, the recruitment process is time-consuming and expensive. The cost of onboarding new drivers and getting them up to speed on the company culture and policies may not seem like a lot when it’s just one driver, but as you hire more drivers over time, these costs pile up.

Poor driver safety affects the overall company culture, leading to a decrease in productivity, employee happiness, and the feel of the company. Poor employee morale is a leading cause of high turnover rates in any industry, so incorporating good safety practices into the foundation of your company is important.

Incorporating Driver Safety

Although the current turnover rate is far from positive in most transportation segments, you can break the cycle by incorporating some simple features to make your drivers feel safe, secure and valued.

If you don’t have a safety program in place, you may be thinking that starting one involves constantly monitoring your drivers. You may also be thinking about the time and money involved in monitoring the many drivers in your organization.

For a minute, let’s imagine what that would be like. You would probably have to use a manual video device to record your drivers’ every move, and then have people check hundreds of paid hours of recordings to look for common patterns.

This is expensive, inefficient, and does not make your drivers feel safe; if anything, it accomplishes the opposite. Having someone breathing down their necks to monitor their driving habits takes away a driver’s autonomy and contributes to a feeling of insecurity. Constant monitoring would also cost any company a lot of money, and do nothing to stop turnover.

A better way to ensure driver safety is to find a solution that focuses on keeping your drivers motivated, focused and recognized — while using technology to keep them safe.

Motivation can be accomplished through rewards and other incentives, especially to those with an outstanding driving record after successful completion of numerous routes. Rating systems can be put in place to reward high-performing drivers and find out about the difficulties that lower-performing drivers face. This creates a focal point in any communication between drivers and management.

Continuous communication is necessary for any organization to thrive, and it is no different when it comes to drivers. Ask yourself the following questions:

How easily can your drivers voice complaints relating to their performance and safety?

Is it normal at your company to subconsciously shut drivers down when they voice these complaints?

Are there systems in place to swiftly address these complaints, or do drivers have to follow up several times before anything is done?

These are important factors when creating a working environment in which drivers can safely carry out their jobs. Your company should make it an official policy to provide a direct channel of communication — this will encourage open dialogue and driver improvement.

Driver Safety

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On the technological side of things, one way to boost driver safety is to have a solid performance analytics system in place. Such a system would collect traffic and driving data during each driver’s typical workday.

This can help companies to get a better view of how their drivers operate, what risks they may face, and how the changing road conditions affect their work. Based on this data, you can make informed decisions on how to improve the safety of your drivers.

Drivers also need the right technological tools to perform their jobs. Such tools protect them from “grey area” situations in which other vision-based tools don’t accurately assess or capture the context of things.

As far as safety goes, legacy systems have done the best they can; however, we believe that it is time to set them aside and implement better systems.

The need for driver safety transcends the usual risk mitigation measures that have been employed in the past. Modern challenges call for smart systems that record and process data in real-time. These issues also call for a system that allows you to tackle both the human and technological aspects of driver safety on the same platform.

This offers the chance to save millions of dollars in overhead costs while ensuring that drivers stay safe enough to do their jobs. Driveri, our standout product, offers these benefits and more.

Technology to Keep Drivers Safe

Our goal is simple: “Make bad drivers good, and good drivers outstanding in a supportive, collaborative environment that leads to improved yield in driver recruitment and retention.” More importantly, our goal is to keep drivers and by extension, other road users, safe.

When choosing technology for your fleet, you’ll want to find a platform that combines the potential of artificial intelligence with advanced video technology to collect and analyze critical data points.

The importance of data collection in any transport cycle cannot be overstated. It is essential for the following reasons:

There are many blind spots that drivers may miss on a daily basis. These could be anything from a misunderstood situation to minor performance issues that they only catch subconsciously. The right vision-based safety solution will pick up minute details that may escape the drivers in their work environment.

Relating issues to managers can be difficult for drivers due to different things. Issues can be taken out of context, exaggerated or understated since there is no specific data to work with. When you’re able to see the entire picture, you can form an objective opinion.

Transparent data cancels out any type of bias that may surface. For example, a driver who has made several mistakes in the past may be shut down due to biases even when pointing out a valid issue. The right technology ensures that the data speaks for itself no matter what a driver’s previous record is like.

Data collection also leads to better risk management by helping you pinpoint the issues your fleet is facing.

Here at Netradyne, we want technology to empower drivers to take more control of their safety.

Your drivers must feel protected and valued as an employee. By providing a platform for voicing concerns, and showing that you care about how your drivers fare on the job, you are showing them that the work they do is important. You are also showing how important their safety is to you. This motivates them to keep working for your organization.

When technology shows the full picture of each driver from start to finish, it can serve as a mediator during a conflict. Accusing a driver of being at fault, especially when they can’t prove their innocence, is a huge morale killer. You can avoid this by checking your safety system’s artificial intelligence-backed database to see where errors occurred. This way, allegations can be substantiated with proof and drivers will not feel like they have not been given the benefit of the doubt.

A system like Driveri uses GreenZone — a score that highlights each person’s driving capabilities, allowing you to reward those who perform well and find out where others are lacking. It also sets the foundation for peer mentorship programs in which drivers can be paired with peers to learn new skills. It can also form the basis for rewards systems that make drivers feel more appreciated.

Most importantly, you need technology that keeps drivers safe and protected against any issues, other drivers or accidents that may occur on the road. Letting them know that they have an extra layer of protection is a great way to keep drivers motivated and boost driver retention.

Final Thoughts

The US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a set of guidelines to keep employees safe on the road. Among these guidelines is the need to put a good driver safety system in place.

Not only does this keep drivers safe and motivated enough to do their jobs, but it also saves companies millions in damages, training costs, and any other costs incurred. It also has the potential to improve driver retention.

Driveri was created by Netradyne to serve as the type of safety system recommended by the government. Using HD video, artificial intelligence, a solid communication system, and WiFi, it works as an excellent safety companion for any fleet. Want to see what Driveri can do for your fleet? Learn more about the product here.


This article was originally published on netradyne.com

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

The high frequency of road accidents makes driver safety one of the biggest challenges fleet managers face each day. In the US alone, 6 million car accidents every year happen every year from driving, with more than 40,000 motor vehicle accident-related deaths in 2017.

Several factors come into play when looking at the cause of traffic accidents. It could be the weather, changing road conditions, or the fault of other road users such as another driver or pedestrian.

Apart from the risks posed by accidents to drivers, companies face significant losses when such accidents and traffic violations occur. Road accident claims are among the most expensive, almost double that of other types of workplace injuries — especially if the accident includes fatalities.

Up to 68% of companies recorded recent accidents, according to popular reimbursement platform provider Motus in its 2018 Driver Safety Risk report. These road accidents often lead to millions of dollars in claims and other costs. In 2017 alone, road accidents cost companies over $56 billion.

The stats on individual crashes are just as shocking. A report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) found that vehicle crashes can cost employers between $16,500 and $74,000 for each injured driver.

US collision insurance claims have also risen over the past five years. Although companies plan for accidents through insurance, there is still a significant loss of time, productivity, and money when they occur. Some direct effects of crashes include:

  • Severe injuries
  • Expensive property damage
  • Reduced productivity, slow operations and missed revenue opportunities due to decommissioned vehicles and injured drivers
  • Third-party liability claims that cost a lot of money to settle, depending on the severity of the accident.

In many accidents, one of the drivers is at fault; a significant number of traffic crashes happen because of driving infractions such as drunk and distracted driving. In many cases, these infractions are not easy to detect until they’ve caused accidents.

Common Driving Infractions

Several studies have been conducted to measure the frequency of road accidents caused by different infractions. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown insights into the severity of some common driving infractions and their threat to driver safety.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving refers to any behavior that takes a driver’s attention off the road. This could include texting, making a phone call, eating, talking to a passenger and looking off the road, or drowsiness.

Drivers are expected to be alert and fully focused on the road with a forward view. Any deviation from this position could lead to easily avoidable car accidents.

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accounts for 16.7 percent of drivers who contributed to road accidents. Accidents caused by distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017.

As the following statistics by the National Safety Council show, texting is the most common distracted driving behaviors. Texting while driving accounts for up to 390,000 injuries and up to 25% of accidents annually. It is also 6 times more likely to lead to accidents than drunk driving, because it takes a driver’s attention off the road for up to 5 seconds.

Eating or drinking while driving is another distracted driving behavior that poses a serious risk to drivers. The NHTSA estimates that eating or drinking at the wheel accounts for up to 6 percent of near-miss crashes annually.

Driving and Texting

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Drowsy Driving

Just like distracted driving, fatigued driving is also common and fleet managers must make it a priority to prevent it.

Drowsy driving due to fatigue, illness, or other conditions led to 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. According to a report by the Center for Disease Control, drivers who are at risk of drowsy driving include those who work long shifts, do not get enough sleep, have untreated sleeping disorders, use medication that causes drowsiness, or are overworked.

Intoxication

Among the most dangerous driving infractions, driving while intoxicated on substances such as alcohol or marijuana accounts for a significant number of accidents each year.

According to research by Australia’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC), alcohol negatively affects a driver’s vision, perception, alertness, and reflexes. This makes it difficult to navigate roads or avoid accidents, presenting a plethora of safety issues that could easily be avoided by staying away from the driver’s seat.

The CDC puts the death toll of alcohol-related driving crashes at 10,497 in 2016 alone. In addition to the risks posed by drunk driving, narcotics were also found to be involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.

Speeding

Speeding is one of the most common causes of fatal road accidents. A study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) showed that speeding caused 112,580 deaths between 2005 and 2014.

The study also showed that drunk driving and speeding are similar in their likelihood to cause fatal accidents for drivers and other road users. This is why the NTSB recommends more serious charges for speeding. Currently, it carries a lesser charge than driving under the influence of alcohol. Drivers would do well to keep a safe speed to avoid a hefty fine and keep themselves and others out of harm’s way.

Other driving infractions that lead to accidents include angry driving and ignoring stop signs. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 72 percent of crashes occur at stop signs.

Mitigating Driving Risks

Driving risks will always be present in a driver’s transport cycle; however, some of them can be mitigated with preventive measures in place. Since liability claims and damages are suffered by the company, not the driver, the onus lies with employers to ensure that accidents are avoided. Some ways to ensure safe driving include:

Training Drivers to Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors

Risky driving behaviors, such as distracted driving, seem harmless when they do not result in accidents. Since many driving infractions are within the driver’s control, proper training is necessary to prevent them from showing these behaviors. Drivers should be trained to avoid using cell phones, eating, fiddling with the stereo or doing anything else that takes their concentration off the road.

Companies should have policies that highlight the negative effects of these driving infractions, such as accidents which could lead to death, injury, and liability claims. Each driver should be mandated to sign this policy and adhere to it at all times. Rules prohibiting these risky behaviors should be displayed around the workplace to serve as a reminder.

Reducing the Drivers’ Workload

In addition to training, drivers should be given adequate rest periods between shifts to avoid fatigue or drowsy driving. They should also be monitored for signs of intoxication and encouraged to avoid driving when sick.

Many drivers who work long shifts show signs of fatigue with effects similar to those of drunk drivers. These effects include poor vision, perception, judgment, and reflexes. Drowsy drivers may fall asleep while driving and veer off the road or collide with other road users.

Introducing a Driver Rewards System

Another great way to mitigate these risks is to recognize and reward good drivers. A common model is the leaderboard/rating system in which drivers score points for good driving which add up over time.

As drivers amass points, they can rank higher on the leaderboard. You could raise the stakes by encouraging drivers to score a certain number of points to earn a reward. This reward could be a bonus, tuition reimbursement, extra paid time off, or other benefits.

Platforms like Driveri have a GreenZone system that updates a driver’s score in real-time. A system like that could be used to monitor a driver’s rating without any bias.

Correcting Infractions as They Occur

Another way to reduce the occurrence of driving infractions is to correct drivers with penalties. These penalties can range from losing driver points to taking serious disciplinary action. Platforms like Driveri have an app that sends real-time notifications when risky behavior happens so fleets can promptly correct the issue.

Implementing Reliable Driver Safety Technology

The world of driver safety has evolved, leading to the adoption of technological tools that aid drivers and fleets in mitigating risks. Several of these tools combine emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data to provide insights to drivers. Their functions span data collection and analysis, video recording, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and accurate vehicle fault diagnosis.

Advanced automated fleet management systems such as Netradyne’s Driveri act as an all-purpose platform for fleets. In addition to serving as an onboard driving coach, they handle driver rating systems, offer access to road data which can be used to make informed decisions, and monitor drivers for distracted driving behaviors.

Data is essential to every process. The study of past data influences how events occur in the future. In the automotive vehicle industry where a large number of accidents owing to many different factors happen every day, it is important to collect data.

This task is tedious without the use of advanced technology especially due to the number of miles traveled daily and how often road and driving conditions change.

Data analysis is also necessary because it tells you how past data is relevant to future events. Legacy systems that collect data for humans to analyze are slowly giving way to smart systems that analyze data and provide insights in real-time.

Another application of technology in driver safety is driver monitoring. As much as it is possible to train drivers on which behaviors to avoid, there is still a chance that they manifest these behaviors when no authority is around.

This is why driver monitoring is necessary. Constantly monitoring drivers via video cameras may be perceived as invasive and antagonistic. Instead, Driveri monitors signs of distracted driving behaviors such as yawning, head turns and drowsy eye movement to report in real-time. Its artificial intelligence system includes:

  • Internal lens for the detection of distracted or drowsy driving behaviors such as yawning. After detecting such behaviors, the application adjusts a driver’s greenzone score (rating) in real-time. This ensures that managers are aware and can take immediate action.
  • A comprehensive database and data analytics system. The platform has also analyzed over 1 million unique miles of US roads to date and makes this information accessible.
  • A real-time video capture system consisting of forward, side, and interior HD cameras that capture high-quality videos of internal and external road events. Also, fleet managers can access up to 100 hours of video playback for records. This can be used as evidence during legal proceedings in the case of accidents.
  • Access to 4G LTE / WiFi / BT connection within fleets for data transmission, analytics, and communication
  • Location mapping using OBDII and GPS technology
  • Vehicle Speed and Orientation mapping using a 3-Axis Accelerometer and Gyro Sensor
  • A single module installation system.

Final Thoughts

Driving infractions are responsible for a significant number of motor vehicle accidents annually which cost employers millions of dollars in damages. Infractions such as distracted driving, intoxicated driving, speeding, and drowsy driving, account for the most crashes.

Fortunately, these behaviors can be prevented through driver training, the introduction of policies, rewards systems, and the use of technology.

Driver safety technology is necessary for data collection and analytics which helps fleets mitigate the risks associated with accidents. It also serves as a navigation and monitoring system while coaching the driver.

Netradyne’s Driveri uses artificial intelligence and other features like cameras, sensors, and machine learning to achieve these functions. It offers an advanced monitoring system for risky driving behaviors and notifies managers when any such behavior has been detected. Driveri also coordinates all its functions through a simple platform that drivers and managers can use and understand easily.


This article was originally published on Netradyne.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay


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