Results from surveys of drivers and fleets for the Best Fleets to Drive For program, by the Truckload Carriers Association, show that drivers overwhelmingly support the efforts by fleets to provide ongoing training and professional development. But they “don’t want people harping on them,” says Mark Murrell, vice president of sales and marketing for CarriersEdge.
CarriersEdge, an online provider of safety and compliance training tools, administers the Best Fleets to Drive For program for TCA.
Cypress Truck Lines expects its drivers to take the initiative and discuss any coaching or training needs with fleet management. It helps that drivers are rewarded for doing so.
In 2014, Cypress Truck Lines, a family-owned and operated flatbed hauler, began to outfit its fleet with SmartDrive technology that combines video with telematics data.
The platform uses a recording device in the vehicle to capture video and event data when triggered by risky driving behaviors. The data is sent to servers in the cloud where applications use data science to calculate numerical values for the observed rate of risk for every driver in the fleet.
The numerical values are SmartDrive Safety Scores, and they give Penland a way to assess driver performance on 80 individual behaviors that include speeding, following distance, texting while driving, seatbelt compliance, aggressive maneuvers, and more.
The scores are normalized by hours and miles driven. The higher the SmartDrive Safety Scores, the higher the risk of collision.
Fleets use scores and video clips of safety events to coach drivers on specific behaviors and monitor the results for improvement. The SmartDrive scores are calculated on a rolling, four-week average. If a driver stops a risky behavior, like speeding, the score will reflect the improvement within a month.
On January 1, Cypress Truck Lines rolled out a quarterly cash incentive program for drivers with a scorecard that includes the SmartDrive Safety Score, metrics for fuel efficiency and other performance data captured by SmartDrive.
One of the metrics shows the percentage of coaching events drivers have completed. When drivers have an event for running a stop sign, or any other reason, this metric gives them an extra incentive to contact management and complete a coaching session.
Drivers can login to the fleet’s SmartDrive portal to see coaching events they have not yet completed, Penland says.
Penland says the simple explanation he gives to drivers for using advanced technology to score their behaviors and coach them with video is no different than what sports teams do for their professional athletes.
“We are professional truck drivers. That’s what the culture has got to be,” he says.
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New scoring features that make it easy for drivers to review their own performance
Video safety systems that detect a wide range of risky driving behaviors
Using leading indicators of driver risk to stage an early intervention
Comprehensive databases that give a “360 degree” view of driver performance