Titled “How’s My Driving? Dial My Car Insurance Company” it took a look at the How’s My Driving (or “Safety Hotline”) industry and tried to answer the question; “What happens when you call a How’s My Driving number?”
The article begins; “An operator will answer your call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and take down the details of the incident. The report goes to a supervisor for verification and is then e-mailed or faxed to the driver’s manager. What happens next depends on company policy and the driver’s history. Your call, by itself, is not going to get a driver fired. His own car insurance rates won’t rise, and the company’s commercial premiums probably won’t, either. Reports are followed up with a counseling session and additional driver training. [Bold added for emphasis].” Further, the article expands on this statement; “…reports are used to identify, retrain and if necessary weed out problem drivers before a serious incident occurs.”
SafetyFirst was interviewed for the article, and contributed the following information; “Most SafetyFirst clients receive two to three calls per month. The most common complaints are:
- Failure to signal
- Excessive speed
- Improper lane change
(These driver actions have been validated to be most closely tied to an increased risk of crash by the ATRI 2011 crash predictor study as reported on our blog earlier this year.)
“Roughly 80 percent of the drivers in a fleet never get a complaint. Half of the remaining 20 percent get one complaint call and never get another, while the final 10 percent make up the majority of the complaints.” (It’s not random chance that drivers get complaints — something clearly motivates callers to pick up the phone.)
Interestingly, the article explored the option for fleets to run their own “Do It Yourself” program and the differences in effects from a commercial program; “Donna Shaft, a professional services marketing specialist in Chicago, was tailgated by a tow truck driver. During a small break in traffic he gunned past her, swerved in front of her, and gave her the finger for good measure. When she called the number on the back of the truck, she reached a company employee who defended the driver and doubted her account of the incident.” [Bold added for emphasis] How does that sort of response help boost the public image of that company, or benefit the affected tow truck driver through “no-fault training”? Clearly it doesn’t accomplish much.
The good news is that relying on a commercially produced program, sponsored by an insurance carrier who has vetted the quality of the service provider, can provide many clear benefits:
- Crash reductions (documented by many private fleets and insurance carriers, too)
- No fault refresher coaching for affected drivers (training, not blaming)
- Professional call takers who don’t take sides
- No added “spin” to the reporting, and in most cases, we defuse the emotions of the caller
- Tracking of data to establish patterns that may signal larger training or system issues.
If you operate a fleet of vehicles (pickups, vans, SUVs or even heavy duty tractor trailers) and you don’t use a safety hotline service, why not?
What’s the potential downside to getting insights about driver habits if the point is helping that driver improve his or her performance so that they reduce the risk of becoming involved in a collision even if it’s not their fault?
Safety awareness and safety attitude need to be built up day by day — hotlines provide feedback and training tools to reinforce that strategy.
Here are links to the articles: