According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration, you need a driver safety program:
- To save lives and to reduce the risk of life-altering injuries within your workforce.
- To protect your organization’s human and financial resources.
- To guard against potential company and personal liabilities associated with crashes involving employees driving on company business.
Your program should work to keep the driver and those with whom he/she shares the road safe. And, if necessary, the program must work to change driver attitudes, improve behavior, and increase skills to build a “be safe” culture.
Sounds easy, right?
Wanting the results of an effective Safety Program is admirable, but the real accomplishment is getting the results. This article provides recommendations on how to put your GPS data to work once you have it.
Measure What You Want to Manage
First things first. Deciding what to measure is often the most difficult part of any safety program. With Wex Telematics, we’ve implemented reports that already determine the events and thresholds for you. Yes, you can customize these reports as you go, but we recommend starting with one of these options to get your program started:
Although these reports function differently, they help you measure the most common events that contribute to safety: Rapid acceleration, harsh braking, hard right and left turning, idling*, and speeding*.
*The Safety Scorecard (Enterprise Only) does not account for idling. Additionally, the Safety Scorecard accounts for threshold and posted speeds, whereas the the Driving Violations Report accounts for threshold speed only. Refer to the respective documentation (Safety Scorecard or Driving Violations Report) to learn more about how these events are measured and applied to the vehicles in your fleet.
Manage What You Just Measured
Now comes the most important part. You have the data…now what? In other words:
- How often should you review this data?
- What data is most important to look at individually and as a group?
- How do you decide who to talk to once you have the data? What should you say?
- How do you see the types of events that are happening for specific vehicles?
- How do you improve behavior once you know it’s bad?
Based on what we’ve seen work best with our most successful customers, here’s a basic implementation plan to follow and customize to make your own.
This plan assumes drivers are assigned to one vehicle.
1. Define the frequency.
Upon initial rollout of a new safety program, we recommend that you review your report* and schedule conversations with drivers on a weekly basis. A weekly commitment helps you learn how to read the report and start to spot trends. You’ll also see the most dramatic change in the first few weeks of a new program as drivers adjust to new behaviors. After the first month of the program, move to a monthly review.
*The Safety Scorecard recommends running the report against two driver groups (Light/Medium Duty and Heavy Duty), so in that case you would have two reports each review period.
2. Draw the line.
Before you investigate individual trends, find out your fleet’s performance as a whole by looking at the Average Number of Safety Events Per 100 Miles*. This KPI is important for several reasons:
- You can use it to compare across any time period and against any number of vehicles that drove different distances. In other words, once you start monitoring monthly instead of weekly, you can still make “apples to apples” comparisons.
- You can use it to determine which drivers require coaching meetings. Think of this number as the line in the sand and set your focus on any vehicle that triggers more than the average number of events.
Depending on your fleet size and the number of direct reports you have, you may choose to limit the first set of weekly coaching meetings to the top 25% of drivers who fall above the average to keep your schedule manageable.
*The Driving Violations Report currently does not display this KPI in the report header. Temporarily, to obtain this number, Divide the total violations per 100 miles by the number of vehicles in the report.
3. Have a conversation.
Once you isolate the drivers to coach, what kinds of things should you discuss with them? Most drivers will correct unsafe behaviors without much effort just by having those events brought to their attention. We recommend keeping your discussion with each driver to two points:
- Actual vs. Assumed. Start by asking the driver how many individual events he or she thinks occurred during the time period and then share the actual number that he or she triggered. Often times drivers perceive their own habits to be better than they actually are, so this exercise helps drivers reset self-expectations. Additionally, discuss how the driver’s average compares with the fleet average, the highest score, and the lowest score.
- Top Event Type. Find out which event total the driver has most of, and ask the driver to pay attention to that specific behavior going forward. Focusing on the event with the highest weight in the driver’s score is the fastest way to positively impact the driver’s overall performance before the next review period.
For the majority of driver meetings, awareness is all it takes. If you need to see which times or locations unsafe events seem to happen most often or to investigate a particular event in question, consider running Activity Detail for the vehicle–particularly if the vehicle is equipped with an In-Cab Alert mechanism, which includes a designated column to notate these events.
4. Track your progress.
Once you know what your average is, all you have to do is aim to consistently lower it until you reach your goal. How many safety events (on average) per 100 miles is a realistic goal for your fleet? Ten? Five? Zero?!
Whatever annual goal you decide to shoot for, announce it to all drivers after the first month and continue to reinforce it in your ongoing 1:1 conversations with individual drivers each month.
To monitor your progress toward that goal, you should export your reports each month so that you can compare the data over time. Then use the following template (or create your own) to log your fleet’s average number of events per 100 miles for each report period.
However you track your progress, please let us know how you did! We to brag about your successes.