Imagine, for instance, a driver with a clean record who is conscientious about maintaining the speed limit and complying with the rules of your organization, but unknowingly tends to follow other vehicles too closely. Does he pose a risk to your fleet? He does if an unforeseen event such as a collision or debris in the roadway ahead of him, coupled with black ice and his tendency for following closely, make it impossible for him to stop quickly or safely maneuver his vehicle around the collision.
So, what do you do? Traditional driver training programs in and of themselves are not enough, and having an actual driving coach in the vehicle with your drivers at all times to observe and alert the driver when he exhibits risky driving behaviors that could lead to an accident is not practical or cost efficient. How do you identify the seemingly “safe” driver in your fleet who is an accident waiting to happen?
Let’s use the previous example of the driver with the tendency to follow too closely. Identifying this tendency and demonstrating it to him in a non-punitive way through the objective audio and video evidence captured via an event recorder is key. The next step is providing him the right coaching to help him improve his driving and eliminate the risky behavior. In doing so, you are eliminating the risk he poses to himself, other motorists, passengers and your organization. He in turn is becoming a better, safer driver. He also knows that his employer cares about him, is noticing his performance and wants to see him succeed.
By improving the overall safety of fleets, driver risk management solutions also mitigate costs, including vehicle damages, workers’ compensation, administrative and legal fees, as well as claims payouts, associated with risky driving — often by half or more. For large fleets, these costs can be very high, trending upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars (and in the unfortunate event of a fatality, millions of dollars) each year depending on the number of accidents incurred.
Fortunately, these need not be fixed costs. Melton remarks in the article referenced previously: “What fleets must understand is that insurance costs are variable costs, and can be controlled.”
Increased Safety Directly Impacts the Bottom Line
Veolia Transportation implemented a driver risk management solution as part of its overall safety program and quickly saw return on its investment in the form of increased operator and passenger safety and reduced insurance costs.
In the first year following installation of the solution, Veolia Transportation experienced a 38 percent reduction in the total number of collisions and reduced its costs associated with risky driving behavior by 25 percent. The company also found a way to recognize and reward its operators for driving safely. Veolia Transportation implemented a “Go For The Green” campaign that plays upon the green light on the video event recorders in its vehicles. Operators are rewarded for maintaining a green light — meaning they do not exhibit any risky driving behaviors that would trigger the recorder and cause the light to turn red.
Other benefits transit providers have found as a result of implementing Driver Risk Management solutions include reduced vehicle wear and tear and lower maintenance and fuel costs, since drivers are less likely to drive aggressively or exceed the speed limit knowing that such behaviors will be captured on video.
Drivers too have embraced driver risk management solutions as they have realized the potential of the solutions to help them improve their driving and protect themselves in accident situations where they are not at fault, but likely would have been assigned blame based on eyewitness accounts alone. The video event recorders in their vehicles present objective evidence of what actually happened. Features that allow drivers to manually activate the video event recorder provide another level of protection.
Imagine unruly children on a school bus making it difficult for a driver to successfully perform her job and posing a threat to the safety of other passengers. Or, imagine passengers on city buses who refuse to obey the rules of not standing forward of the yellow line, and a disabled rider in a wheelchair who declines the driver’s request to securely position her wheelchair in a designated seating area on the vehicle. In each of these instances, the driver can activate the video event recorder to capture the incident and ensure the appropriate measures are taken (e.g., the misbehaving school kids are reprimanded) to protect herself from potential he said/she said situations and reinforce the safety of her riders.