21st Century Fleet Maintenance

StepVANSIn  a recent article, titled “How Telematics Has Completely Revolutionized the Management of Fleet Vehicles” published in Entrepreneur (Click HERE), the case is made on how UPS managed to increase maintenance intervals (reduce total number of inspections and PMs) while increasing fleet reliability:

That’s right: UPS went from 240,000 preventative maintenance inspections per year to 120,000. 

Director of automotive engineering Dale Spencer, who oversees the UPS fleet, explains that…For decades, UPS used the same maintenance schedule: changing the oil, fluids and brakes at prescribed intervals, no matter what…[now] UPS has learned to trust the [telematic] data–to monitor every truck remotely, from a high-temperature warning to signals as to whether a driver is wearing a seat belt. “We have the driver data; we know how fast they’re driving, how hard they’re stopping,” Spencer says. “That driver will change bad habits before it costs us money.”

With Telematics, it is easy to spot problems before they’d typically surface in normal PM inspections.  Some fleets are using the GeoTab program to spot failing alternators up to two weeks prior to the anticipated failure — giving them the luxury of pulling the vehicle when it is most convenient for their shop instead of dealing with a roadside failure later on.

It’s more than just cutting PM frequency to save money — it can be a powerful predictor of future recalls and warranty issues:

The software also allows the company to spot wear trends. “We could see certain parts wearing out on the same vehicles too quickly,” Spencer says. That enabled UPS to go back to the vehicle manufacturer and argue for a warranty claim because it was possible to document a pattern. Even a small-business owner with a 10-vehicle fleet might have such an advantage, he says, “as long as they had the data to prove it.”

ntdc truck lineupTelematics can also identify aggressive drivers who wear out vehicles faster than the norm within your fleet.  Drivers who accelerate, brake and swerve in harsh ways tend to kill the lifespan of brakes, burn fuel efficiency and damage steering and control systems. Often, these are the same drivers who top the list of “most crashes” before being asked to drive someplace else.

At the end of the day, the hardware and software your team purchases is important, but even more important will be the customer service support, the hand holding, the networking/benchmarking with other clients and the ability to integrate data into existing systems — all hallmarks of the GeoTab system offered by SafetyFirst (Click Here)

With SafetyFirst, we can integrate:

  • Scored MVRs (using your scoring system)
  • Aggregated Driver Risk Scoring (using crash data, HMD reports, MVRs and telematics)
  • Safety hotline reports (aka How’s My Driving – third generation)
  • Online Training Modules (5-7 minutes, newly produced, tailored to specific issues including speed alerts from telematics)
  • DOT DQ File Maintenance (online)

Further, these are all 100% in-house built systems — not merely a patch work assembly of multiple, third-party products that have been stitched together.

Connected Cars

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2014 Ten-Minute Training Topic Calendar

SafetyZone-Safety GoalDriver education takes many forms in many companies.  A variety of methods used frequently helps assure that drivers receive the message that’s being sent by the management team.

We recognize that there are many really wonderful driver “training” programs out on the market, but many approach the educational program by making the driver sit in a class or in front of a computer for more than an hour at a time.  This cuts into their productivity and may become “mind-numbing” after the first 12 to 15 minutes – especially if they’ve already been through this topic in the recent past.

We’ve built two different systems to deliver “reminder” or “refresher” programs to supplement our driver coaching program.  Both approaches are designed to remind drivers of what they should already know and be practicing on a regular basis.  Both feature module duration at the 5 to 10 minute time span to respect your driver’s professionalism and to get them to actually listen!

What’s the difference between systems?

  1. SafetyZone-Safety GoalOur Ten-Minute Training Topic series is delivered monthly by email to each location manager.  This package can be used or delivered to drivers in many different ways — a classroom talk, a tailgate discussion, a payroll stuffer or anything that works for your company culture.  The manager’s supplement provides a little extra information to help the supervisor address these issues from a policy standpoint and the driver handouts provide practical tips that address safer driving.
  2. SafetyZone-LMSOur Learning Management System (LMS) is set up to offer “stand-alone” course assignment or to “integrate” automatically with either our Hotline (get a Motorist Observation Report, then assign training modules matched to the reported behavior) OR our E-DriverFile platform (get a new MVR showing fresh activity, then get modules automatically assigned based on violation codes) OR our telematics platform (get a series of alerts, then get modules specifically published for dealing with GPS alerts)

SafetyFirstEach year we publish a new calendar for our popular Ten-Minute Training Topic series.  These driver training packages are included in our very popular “driver safety hotline” program that some firms continue to call a “how’s my driving” program.

This article is focused mainly on our Ten-Minute Training Topic series that is included with our hotline program.

The monthly training package for drivers includes:

  1. A driver handout with statistics about the issue, a description of why they should care and tips to consider about their driving habits.
  2. A manager’s supplement report that includes current news stories about that month’s topic, links to web sites with additional resources and a discussion of how the month’s topic relates to company policies and procedures.
  3. A pair of power point presentations — one for easy copying/printing and one with full graphics and images to help drivers relate to the message at hand.

The very first Ten-Minute Training Topic was published way back in May of 2003 — long before any other vendors had ever considered breaking driver safety down into simple, focused modules.  We’ve been publishing a new or re-written topic each month since then — building an archive of over 120+ topics at our customer website.

During 2014, we will be publishing several interesting topics based on client requests and feedback:

  • January – “Surviving Winter Weather“
  • February – “Check Your Vehicle“
  • March – “Driving Safely Near Motorcycles“
  • April – “Backing“ (April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month so you may supplement with additional “distracted driving” modules from our library)
  • May – “Red Lights“
  • June – “Intersection Collisions“
  • July – “ROW On-Ramp Collisions“
  • August – “School Zones“
  • September – “Tailgating – Following Too Closely“
  • October – “Tires“
  • November – “Roadside Hazards and Debris“ (November is Drowsy Driving Awareness Month so you may want to supplement from our library)
  • December – “Poor Visibility“

In the past, we’ve published topics on many other pertinent and timely issues related to driver safety.  Current clients may substitute older issues for current issues by going to our site and downloading the older topics as they see fit.

TeleMaticsIn addition to providing these topics as a benefit of participating in the “driver safety hotline” program, some clients subscribe to the training topics as a stand alone program — separate from the hotline program.

We base most of the topics on suggestions we receive from current clients and their insurance carrier support teams.  If you have a topic of interest, please let us know and we will see what we can do for you.

If you have an interest in receiving a courtesy copy of one of our monthly programs, let me know!  Additionally, if you’d like to see a preview of our supervisory training programs, or our interactive training programs, we can arrange a web cast.

E-DriverFile

Providing Coaching Feedback for Enhanced Performance

Driver safety programs start with what managers need to do to locate, recruit, screen and train/educate candidates to become qualified operators.  Most of these programs then skip to dealing with crashes and evaluating operator turnover.  The costs associated with letting crashes push the turnover cycle are huge; however, by adopting an assertive and fair coaching mechanism, “at-risk” behaviors can be detected early in the timeline.

Additionally, those drivers who repeatedly appear in front of supervisors for coaching feedback (positive directions on how to avoid repeating the negative performance) could be cycled back through refresher education — a far more beneficial outcome and less costly than having to replace an operator.

Driver Safety Cycles

An often overlooked, but critical management task is monitoring the performance of existing operators and providing timely, relevant feedback to help them eliminate bad habits and replace them with better habits.

Many driver safety experts place a great value on feedback mechanisms for two reasons — when done well they produce great results, and not all driver safety issues can be fixed by more traditional training programs (i.e. 42 minute, online course delivered in three modules, etc.)

Look at this quote from a recent FMCSA document (link):

Additionally, experiences from the insurance industry as reported in trade sources supplement the literature on driver behaviors, suggesting that risky drivers are more than simply those with a lack of skill or inadequate training. In an interview with Peter Van Dyne, technical director for Liberty Mutual, he explains that “many crashes are caused by drivers’ habits and practice, not by their lack of technical knowledge. For example, a driver may be careless about making lane changes, or the use of cruise control, even though he or she knows the proper procedures” (as cited in Leavitt, 2005). This reinforces the notion that safety cannot simply be improved with more training. Often drivers possess the skill and knowledge needed to drive safely, but a bad habit or outside factors, such as a weak safety climate or lack of communication within an organization, will intervene and result in unsafe driving behaviors.

In that same article, it was interesting to read about feedback delivered from technology versus a personal approach:

As in the focus groups, the survey results suggested that, even though drivers may find feedback from technology helpful, they would still like feedback from a real person in addition to the technology. The majority of drivers reported that when it comes to receiving feedback from a person, they would most like feedback from a safety director or their direct supervisor…

The problem facing managers is twofold:

  1. Figuring a time-efficient way to spot and document meaningful (urgently actionable) issues without being overwhelmed by “background noise” data.
  2. Developing coaching skills to deliver feedback in a way that avoids needless confrontation and focuses on improving results without spiraling into a blame-game.

First, multiple mechanisms exist to gather performance issue indicators –

  1. How’s My Driving actually works very well despite the myths and misconceptions about crank calls and wasted time.  Most safety managers who actually use the program have documented that 99 out of 100 call reports are valid and worth the time to investigate and use as a coaching tool.  This is a great statistic since most fleets only get two reports per 100 vehicles per month – that’s one “bad” report every three to five years for smaller fleets.  Best of all, the program is designed to provide helpful feedback to benefit the driver, not penalize them. (80% of the drivers NEVER get a report, but 10% get multiple calls despite having the same sticker as all of their peers in their fleet!)
  2. Periodic MVR review or profiling — pulling the history of police reported crashes and moving violations for each driver enables a fleet safety team to develop a baseline of expected performance and use that as an objective measuring stick.  If drivers are accruing violations for speeding, they should receive feedback before their license is suspended for too many infractions.  Additionally, by combining additional data points such as preventable crashes (reported internally), “automated enforcement violations” from red-light cameras and radar-speed-cameras, andBlended Risk Score how’s my driving events, et.al. the fleet can get a clearer picture of which drivers are taking excessive risks while behind the wheel.  In an article that appeared in Construction Executive driver safety expert Peter Van Dyne states “Annually monitor driver performance to compare each driver’s actual performance against established safe driving expectations. However, such monitoring provides limited insight if the company has not established the right expectations. The company should review the individual’s driving record, crashes and compliance with company fleet safety expectations using a combination of observation, technology and manager feedback.”
  3. Telematics or GPS systems provide alerts on harsh braking, excessive speed, heavy acceleration and excessive sway/swerve.  Some even provide speed limit alerts based on mapping of speed limits throughout the territory.  The issue is that the pile of alerts generated in a given day or week can become excessive, requiring a filter to separate the “urgently actionable” from the “background noise”.  Additionally, it can become tedious to keep repeating “Slow Down” to your drivers if they continue to speed.  Clearly, enhanced feedback strategies are needed to translate “DATA” into “Behavior Safety Results”
  4. Camera in Cabin systems capture video of crashes so that you can tell drivers what they did wrong and why they violated your safety policies.  Typically this leads to hurt feelings, animosity, bruised egos and fear among other drivers that their own mistakes might be documented for posterity (or court).  Still, these programs could be tailored to provide a more positive coaching experience and in those circumstances may be able to provide a long-term, sustainable solution via coaching programs instead of playing “gotcha!” games with drivers.

Other programs could include supervisory ride alongs, road trailing (following behind company vehicles to make discreet observations) or incorporating feedback from customers.

Secondly, once a data gathering program is in place, supervisors need to develop practical skills on how to provide feedback on a regular basis.  This is best characterized as delivering material coaching on critical performance issues (i.e. complacency, failure to adhere to policy, excessive risk taking, et.al.) to an operator with the intent of helping them enhance their performance before a truly negative outcome occurs (i.e. crash, injury, etc.)

CoachingWhen it’s time to talk to the driver, it’s important to have a strategy.  Many supervisors don’t know where to start and quickly end up putting the driver on the defensive – unwilling to consider whether they could change their own habits to prevent injuries or crashes.  Drivers who fear coaching sessions because they’re perceived to be unhelpful, masked punishment will push back through defensive arguing and negotiating over the details of the incident regardless of how the data was developed (i.e. how’s my driving versus telematics — the driver will argue that the system failed in some manner and that the driver is blameless).  The key is to avoid blame setting by either the supervisor or driver, and focus on getting both parties to agree on what the expected level of performance must be and how to establish a goal to keep performance within those boundaries.

Coaching Tips TitleSafetyFirst has produced an online, interactive training module, a stand alone video and numerous power points and word documents to help supervisors prepare for coaching sessions.  In addition to these proprietary resources, we often recommend articles on providing feedback such as the recent one featured in Forbes (click HERE for the full article).

In summary, the Forbes article, titled “Are You Making Any Of These Common Feedback Mistakes?” covers five key mistakes folks make when providing feedback.

  1. The Pillow Effect – sometimes we’re so concerned with the potential emotional response (or bruising) that could happen when delivering feedback about negative performance that we go overboard in placing “pillows” of false praise to cushion the blow of the actual feedback.  Sometimes referred to as the “Sandwich” of praise, criticism and more praise, this approach more often confuses the operator because we’re sending mixed signals.  The article states “Studies have shown that this type of feedback leads to confusion, and causes a distraction from the essential problem that needs to be fixed. Just as bad, the feedback can come across as insincere and condescending. If you’re the recipient of such feedback, you’re generally just waiting to get to the real point — and preferring to be treated like an adult who can handle the truth. In fact, the only person who feels better from this approach is the one giving the feedback.”  Instead of trying to cushion the blow, be direct and honest.  Explain why this coaching session was triggered (we don’t want anyone getting hurt and we take safety seriously, etc.) and outline the ideal outcome of the session.  Perhaps the start of the conversation might sound like this:  “I’d like us to talk about and agree on a plan to do things differently to reduce the chances of a crash – part of that plan will need to include no-fault training that offers a basic refresher on key topics – not because you’re at fault, but because we need to document actions taken and because it’s never a bad time to get a refresher on safety.”  This is clear and avoids the “good news, bad news, good news” sandwich that leaves operators confused as to what’s actually happening – did I do well or poorly?  Am I in trouble and don’t really know it yet?
  2. Lack of specificity – as supervisors and managers, the more precisely we define the issue, the more constructive the conversation can be.  Saying things like “you need to be more careful” don’t help most operators very much.  Explaining why most drivers don’t realize that they’re following too closely can get them into trouble with inadequate reaction time and stopping distance is more helpful when trying to help drivers curb their tailgating habits.
  3. Wrong type of feedback feedback is not a one-size-fits-all effort.  The article states it well “When people are new at a task they need more positive feedback. As they move to a higher level of experience, they crave constructive criticism to stay sharp and increase performance.”  So a rookie driver may need more details and examples of how to do it right, but a seasoned vet may need a blunt discussion about following the rules instead of taking liberties with policies that are in place to protect them from getting hurt.  The article references a skills versus will chart to help us diagnose whether the underlying issue is one of skills (don’t know what to do or how to do it correctly) versus will (knows how to do it correctly, but isn’t willing to follow the procedure due to complacency or other issue).  http://www.primarygoals.org/general/skill-will-matrix/
  4. Wrong setting – “Where you give feedback matters greatly. The adage to praise in public and punish in private exists for a reason. Giving feedback in a collective environment, like a weekly meeting, can cause embarrassment and stress. Even if you as a manager don’t think it’s particularly harsh, that doesn’t mean the recipient feels the same. A quick, critical comment about an employee’s performance can have a disproportionate impact.”  Giving your operator a head’s up about the need to have a coaching session gives them time to prepare, but it also gives you time to prepare yourself to focus on the benefits of improved performance, elimination of sloppy habits and the reduced chances of being hurt due to a crash – even if it’s another driver’s “fault”.
  5. Over-reliance on positive or negative feedback – “Depending on our personalities, some of us find it easier to provide one kind of feedback over the other. For example, some highly analytical people tend to lean on constructive feedback, and can find positive feedback to be fluff. It’s important to know what you gravitate towards, and to shore up your weakness so you provide a balance of feedback.”  Regarding safety issues, it’s important to avoid the blame game and instead focus on working as a team to set short-term, highly achievable goals that reduce risk, comply with policy and encourage the operator to leave the session empowered to do their job in an expert manner – for the benefit of both the operator’s well being and the company’s mission.

Training Matters

Many employers are sending their operators to online training modules as refreshers.  This is a good approach, unless the training is boring, tedious or feels like punishment.  The average online training session for driver safety issues runs about 42 minutes long!  The average adult attention span is under 15 minutes, and most television ads have been cut from 30 seconds to 15 seconds in recent years.

The selection of training content could undermine all of your coaching feedback efforts in an instant.  How?  If you ask a driver to submit to a mind-numbing series of modules on why they should be using their turn signals consistently it will surely feel like punishment after the fact.

SafetyFirst has pioneered a series of HD, broadcast quality videos that combine live action, talking heads, onscreen animations, and limited text presentations which engage drivers and give them the reminder in less than 5 minutes.

The programs have been praised by safety managers as comprehensive and by drivers who feel respected as professionals by the brevity of the presentation.

The ten-question quiz must be passed with a minimum score of 80% and is unique to each driver (pulling randomly from a pool of twenty questions, and presenting the answer choices in randomized order each time).

The program has been through an extensive beta-test to increase the “user friendliness” for drivers and their managers.  For those fleets who need i-pad support, our programs are NOT flash-based and will work on any hand-held device (for those “gather around” meetings at job sites where all can group around a laptop to watch the presentation and then take paper-based quiz sheets to document their understanding of the content).  We have twelve topics in English and the five most common driving issues available in Spanish, too.

Current Safety Hotline (blue sticker program) clients can pay the upgrade fee to turn on the system, or they can purchase DVDs of individual titles if they’re not set up for online training due to firewall/IT issues.

Summary

Feedback is critical to assuring success in any driver safety effort.  For fleets of company cars, supervisors may want to examine MVR data (provided and profiled by our E-DriverFile program) for coaching and refresher training.  Other fleets may use telematics or How’s My Driving hotlines (like our “Blue Sticker Program”) to target drivers who may be “at-risk” of becoming involved in a collision if their behaviors are ignored.

When you invest time to help supervisors improve their feedback skills, you’ll get a much larger dividend than from safety coaching alone – they’ll be better equipped to provide feedback on all sorts of performance issues (i.e. idling, customer service, etc.)

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Webinar: Motivating Drivers to Make Safer Decisions

Everest National Insurance, together with Aspen Risk Management Group hosted a webinar today (4/23/2013) on the topic “Motivating Drivers to Make Safer Decisions“.   SafetyFirst’s CEO, Paul Farrell, was the presenter.

The topic is timely and vital to fleet operations regardless of their native industry type or business model” says Farrell.  “We’ve learned over the past thirty years that ninety percent of commercial vehicle collisions are due to driver’s attitudes, actions, choices, beliefs and assumptions about risk taking while driving.  If drivers operate in violation of safety policies,   and we can diagnose why this is happening, we’re on the path to getting their cooperation and compliance.

Dan Lessnau, VP of Sales at SafetyFirst contributed this thought; “While technology can play a very important role in enhancing both vehicle and driver safety results, the human factor can’t be underestimated.  When managers make time to self-audit their current practices, evaluate their successes and apparent failures, they’re enabling themselves to define a solid benchmark to build upon.”

While many drivers do operate their vehicle in compliance with company policy and state traffic laws, some violate these guidelines for various reasons.  Noncompliance can lead to traffic violations and crashes with damaged vehicles, injuries or even fatalities.  These negative outcomes influence business results, BASIC measures (in regulated fleets) and even insurance premiums when rated on a past-loss basis.

Of those drivers who are consistently non-compliant with company driving policies, there are four distinct populations of drivers:

  1. Those who are genuinely unaware of the nature of the risk or the policy which is in place to address that issue. (aka Training/Education Issue)
  2. Motivating Drivers to be saferThose who are aware that there is some degree of risk and/or that there is a policy in place to address this type of behavior, but there is also a genuine misunderstanding about the nature of the risk (consequences) or what the policy is communicating. (aka Communications Issue)
  3. Those who understand the nature of the risk and the intent of the policy very clearly, but fail to comply out of conflicting expectations from their own management team (i.e. “Hypocritical Enforcement or a “goal alignment issue” where the actual rewards and benefits for violating the policy (i.e. pay, productivity, etc.) may be greater for non-compliance than for compliance.) (aka Goal Alignment)
  4. Those who understand the nature of the risk and intent of the policy, but simply choose to violate the policy by sheer willful decision.  (aka Performance Issue)

Diagnosing why non-compliant drivers are violating policy based on the model described above is the starting point to improving results.  Questions like the ones below could be used to help diagnose why some drivers may not have been aware of the policy, or didn’t understand the policy fully enough to comply on a consistent basis:

  • Are all drivers fully aware of our expectations for their performance?
  • How have we communicated these expectations?
  • How do we know that the message was received and understood?
  • Did we take a “once and done” approach or have we used thoughtfully repetitive messaging to reinforce the communication effort?
  • Have we evaluated the simplicity of the wording used since legal teams often interject very precise wording that may be difficult to understand?
  • Did we use illustrative examples to clarify how the policy would be applied in realistic scenarios?

Drivers who heard the policy and understood the expectation may require additional information to translate their understanding into positive action.  For instance, going the extra step to explain why the policy is needed, what goals are being sought through the policy and “what’s in it for me, the driver?” could provide motivation for some to voluntarily comply on a consistent basis.

Other concerns include how the message gets delivered.  Some old-line managers valueYou tell his mommy the melodramatic message to shock people and use emotion to motivate compliance.  This image and message accomplishes that goal, but this approach can be overused and become ineffective for several reasons.

First, a steady bombardment of this type of heavy handed messaging may make drivers feel like they are villains or make them angry if there is hypocritical enforcement (i.e. managers breaking the same rules with impunity).  Secondly, youthful drivers have been raised on a steady diet of “just say NO” messaging or “this is your brain on drugs” messaging and they have become increasingly calloused towards the approach.  “Our caution is to evaluate the types of messaging being used and take great care to avoid over reliance on one type or style.  A great variety of messaging mechanisms keeps the information fresh and attractive.” commented Farrell.

Goal Alignment, Mixed Signals, Crossed Purposes

That segment of drivers who understand fully, but don’t comply by choice may be doing so for a range of reasons.

First, we must recognize that from the driver’s own perspective, rules such as state traffic laws or company policy can seem like suggestions:

  • compliance isn’t monitored or enforced with consistency
  • the consequences for non-compliance are not feared (i.e. seen either as trivial or unlikely to occur)
  • bigger reward for non-compliance than for compliance undermines value of adhering to policies
  • “just don’t care” factor (personal liberty is more valuable that potential consequences of non-compliance)

The “just don’t care” factor can be best illustrated in light of Virginia Technical Transportation Institute and Insurance Information for Highway Safety studies showing:

  • Policethe difference in compliance between companies with cell phone bans versus no policy at all = %17 (neither complied very well)
  • no measurable difference in early results between those states with a cell phone ban versus those with a strong ban in place.
  • crashes rose slightly in those states with a ban versus those without.

Dealing with this segment of the driver population (understands policy, but rejects compliance) may boil down to monitoring and enforcement actions, which will be discussed in the final segment of the article.

Next we must open our eyes to operations teams who reward productivity through bonuses, stronger pay raises, or management praise while sending signals to drivers that speeding, using hand-held cell phones while driving and other risky practices are worth broken rules if it means more revenue.   If drivers believe that the possible rewards gained by breaking the rules outweigh the risk of the potential, but likely consequences, they’ll continue to violate the policies.  

Some drivers break the rules because the management team encourages them to do so — for instance, no one is to use their cell while driving “UNLESS” it is their boss on the line demanding to speak with the driver immediately.  This sort of hypocritical enforcement adds to confusion about compliance and how to apply directions given by the management team.

Time For A Change

Weeding out “hypocritical enforcement” (however subtle) and making sure that manager’s goals/expectations are properly aligned with policy statements isn’t always easy, but it does help everyone in the organization focus on a common goal.  While we’ve previously done whole webinars on goal alignment for fleet safety results, our focus today was on ways management teams could monitor driver performance and increase the accountability of both managers and drivers in regards to policy compliance.

Some parallels worth examiningWe believe this monitoring and enforcement effort actually begins with candidate screening practices (i.e. “setting up for success”).  Some organizations use screening tools such as DISC or other behavior/motivational/skills based testing to find “rules compliant” applicants.  Others use revised interview questions and tactics to evaluate a candidate’s attention to details, listening skills and so on.  This is also a good time to begin sending the messages that safety is important and valued within your organization.

Other monitoring and enforcement mechanisms were covered during the webinar and ranged from How’s My Driving hotlines to MVR profiles to identify drivers who may be at-risk of becoming involved in a collision or may have broken a local regulation.  Technology such as on-board recorders, GPS systems and even Camera-in-Cabin systems were introduced with their respective pros and cons.

The group had a special interest for cell phone enforcement technology, and incentive programs which might be used to help spur compliance.  We discussed the emerging technology solutions around cell phone control, including pitfalls and ways to defeat the systems.  We also discussed why incentive programs can start strong and end in ashes if not carefully managed each step of the way.

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Summary

Drivers need clear communication of expectations which are consistently reinforced by their own management team.  Simple rules, thoroughly monitored and fairly/evenly enforced using technology and administrative programs can make a vast difference in safety results obtained.   Motivating drivers to make safer decisions while behind the wheel is one of the cornerstones of a solid driver safety program.

Current SafetyFirst clients and their respective insurers will have access to the slides at our website shortly.  If you’re not currently affiliated with SafetyFirst and would like to discuss this topic or get a copy of the slides and support materials, please contact us at support (at) safetyfirst (dot) com (providing your contact information and how we can assist you) or call us toll free at 1-888-603-6987

SafetyFirst provides driver safety services to a network of more than 75 insurance providers and 3,800+ active fleet clients throughout North America.  Driver Education, Online Interactive Modules, Driver Coaching, Hotlines, GPS and more are available through our consultative team of transportation, insurance and IT specialists.

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Deciphering MVR Profiling

Whether you call them Motor Vehicle Reports, Driver Abstracts or Driver History Reports (we prefer MVRs for short), most fleets obtain them on each of their active drivers and review them against an established standard of performance. 

This is usually done for candidates as a screening/qualification process, and it’s typically done annually as a re-qualification process.  Employer benefits could include:  validating that a license is current, not-suspended or revoked; getting a glimpse of the violation history of the operator as a surrogate measure of their propensity towards taking risks while behind the wheel, and identifying any topics for refresher training during their orientation classes.

We’ve written several articles on MVRs in the past (found at our client-login website)**, but this one is new for several reasons:

  • Eighteen months ago, SafetyFirst became a “certified service bureau” and has been directly providing MVRs to its largest clients (i.e. insurers, leasing companies and large private fleets) as an extension of our E-DriverFile program (www.edriverfile.com) – a first in our industry!
  • MVR data, while a lagging indicator of performance has recently been validated by ATRI Studies as a measure of increased crash likelihood (https://safetyismygoal.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/predicting-truck-crash-involvement/)
  • Fleets have been getting more complex in how they evaluate their MVR data than ever before – setting values tied to individual ACD codes, weighing violations based on the number of months since they were incurred by the driver, blending scores with MOR data and preventable collision statistics, et.al.
  • Fleets are looking to enhance the mechanisms that they use to order and process MVR data without increasing their costs.
  • Automated ordering based on key anniversary dates, or other mechanisms are one of several ways to process MVRs in our system (bulk ordering is also available)
  • Fleets whose drivers are not regulated (CDL drivers, etc.) also need a better process to handle consent forms in those states where consent is required prior to ordering an MVR — our system provides “E-Consent” capabilities to streamline this administrative burden.

Recently, a poll on our discussion board at LinkedIn.com grabbed the attention of our client networking members.  It dealt with the manner in which MVRs are processed, but it led to requests for clients to offer benchmarking data on how they profile MVRs: 

  • periodicity of the reviews,
  • criteria for setting escalation levels,
  • timelines for “aging-out” older violation history
  • suggestions for weighting of “serious” violations such as DUI/DWI/Reckless Driving, et.al.
  • mechanisms to use to validate the profile that is currently in use
  • dealing with union objections or concerns to MVR profiling
  • score rounding or “smoothing” to help equate one state’s point system against another state’s point system (versus throwing out state points in favor of the fleet’s own scoring system)

Last Summer, we sponsored an informal conference call on these issues and it was very well attended with lots of questions and subsequent discussion.

How about you and your fleet?  Are you profiling your MVR data against a standard?  Who developed that standard and how do you validate it for your own peace of mind?  Would you join our discussion at the linked in group? 

If you’re interested in our E-DriverFile platform (used to streamline management record keeping of driver and vehicle data), our MVR solutions or how we offer “blended” risk scoring of Multiple Data Points (such as MOR, MVR, Preventable Collisions, et.al.) please let me know:  paulf @ SafetyFirst (dot) com

**Some of the prior articles touching on MVRs, written by our senior staff, include:

  • “Identifying Drivers Who May Be ‘At-Risk’ of Becoming Involved in a Collision: MVR Analysis” – CPCU Society, Underwriting Trends
  • “Road Safety and the Law — When Is a License Check Not Enough?” – CPCU Society, Loss Control Quarterly 
  • “Auditing Against ANSI Z15,1 for a Fleet Safety Tune-Up” – ASSE, Transactions
  • “Driving Miss Daisy: Fleet Safety and Older Drivers” – CPCU Society, Underwriting Trends
  • “The Bookend BASICs of CSA” – North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI)
  • “When is a License Check Not Enough?” – Presentation by SafetyFirst at NIOSH Global Road Safety Conference, Washington, D.C., February 2009
  • “Protecting Your Interests Following a Crash: Record Retention and Spoliation of Evidence” – CPCU Society, Underwriting Trends
  • “Negligent Entrustment”- CPCU Society, Loss Control Quarterly