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Reliable AI leads to real-time visibility and instant accident prevention

Oct. 25, 2023
Gary Johnson, head of safety and compliance strategy at Motive, dives into how to leverage AI to reduce risk, using video-based coaching for fleet safety, and more.

Roads are getting more dangerous, and accident-related costs are higher than ever. The National Safety Council estimates that more than 46,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2022, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that traffic crashes cost the U.S. about $340 billion a year.

Statistics like these highlight the wide-ranging impact of traffic crashes — and the importance of preventing them. As road risk rises, physical economy leaders are increasing their investment in safety technology. A recent survey from the American Transportation Research Institute found that in the last three years, 92% of fleet respondents adopted new safety technologies and that 56% implemented three or more new safety technologies.

The most effective safety technologies rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to improve driver performance and prevent accidents. Without real-time awareness of what’s happening with drivers on the road, physical operations leaders can’t reduce accidents and protect their organizations from losses. Alerts that should warn of imminent risk come too late, or worse, never come at all. Coaching is then spent addressing false positives and calming upset drivers.

The Motive AI Dashcam leads the industry in detection of unsafe behavior to monitor and protect drivers, giving safety managers the real-time visibility they need to prevent accidents and reduce risk. In a recent Motive-partnered study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), the Motive AI Dashcam alerted to cell phone use, close following, and rolling stops up to 4x more successfully than other solutions.

As part of a comprehensive safety program, AI-powered dash cams can reduce risk and prevent accidents in real-time. In professions like commercial transportation, construction, and oil and gas, where one mistake can cost workers their lives, the importance of real-time visibility cannot be overstated.

The value of human life cannot be measured, of course, but the high cost of accidents also cannot be ignored. As accident costs increase, AI-powered safety technologies have become crucial to containing costs and protecting workers. A collision at work involving a distracted driver costs an employer an average of $100,310. When a serious injury or fatality takes place, costs soar well above that. And the cost of accidents extends far beyond the collision itself. There are also:

Work injury costs and time lost. Work-related injuries cost society a total of $167 billion, averaging $1,080 per worker. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $47.4 billion, medical expenses of $36.6 billion, and administrative expenses of $57.5 billion.

Repair and maintenance costs. Like so many other costs, per-mile repair and maintenance costs reached a record high in 2022, rising 12%. The increase in costs is being driven by inflationary pressures, an increase in unscheduled maintenance, widespread part shortages, and a shortage of skilled technicians that’s driving up rates.

Insurance costs. Fleet insurance costs per mile rose 2.3% from 2021 to 2022. Over the last decade, premium costs per mile have risen 47%. Premiums have increased across all fleet sizes and sectors, with fleets of under 21 vehicles paying more than three times as much as those with more than 1,000 vehicles on a per-mile basis.

Litigation costs. As verdicts and settlements have soared in recent years, nuclear verdicts have gotten most of the attention. But even smaller verdicts can be costly, with the mean payment size in smaller verdicts and settlements averaging about $427,000.

As accident costs increase, AI detection that’s fast and reliable is the key to reducing risk. By coaching drivers to change unsafe behavior before it causes a crash, AI can lead to safer, more productive, and more profitable outcomes. Fleet and safety operators can get the most from AI dash cams by taking the following steps.

  1. Use AI to identify hazards. Improving driver safety begins with understanding the risks drivers face. AI dash cams like the one from Motive provide complete visibility into who’s driving risk in your fleet. Behaviors like following too close, distracted driving, and unsafe lane changes are captured on dash cam video, alerting drivers to them in real-time. Drivers are prompted to stop unsafe driving instantly, redirecting their attention to the road ahead. Unsafe driving habits are then scored and ranked in a dashboard, helping fleet safety managers to easily prioritize the behaviors that put their team most at risk.
  2. Use dash cam video to proactively coach drivers. Fleet safety doesn’t improve by identifying hazards alone. After identifying the unsafe behaviors that jeopardize your team, use dash cam video to coach drivers to improve. Including drivers in coaching conversations about their own development will inspire them to become more invested in safety performance and meet performance goals. Fleet managers can use video clips to show drivers how close they came to a crash — or how a driver’s quick actions prevented one. Ongoing reinforcement is the best way to create lasting change, so make coaching check-ins a regular part of your safety program.
  3. Empower drivers to be safer. As part of ongoing coaching, drivers should feel empowered to do their work as safely as possible. Help drivers make the connection between their actions and personal safety. You can do this by sharing safety data fleetwide, celebrating safety improvements, and encouraging drivers to learn from each other. Today’s mobile driver apps let drivers access tips and review unsafe driving clips on their own time, so they can improve independently, without manager intervention. Overall, safety technology and driver coaching can create safer outcomes for your team, keeping them invested in their own growth.
  4. Reward drivers for safe performance. To keep drivers engaged in safety, be generous with praise. Positive feedback given shortly after a safety achievement is most impactful. When safe actions are rewarded and reinforced promptly, it sends the message that safety is valued and important. When rewards are closely tied to specific driving behaviors, such as leaving space around the vehicle, reasonable speeds, or safe lane changes, drivers will begin to associate those behaviors with positive recognition. Diversifying rewards will keep your driver incentive program fresh and drivers engaged. For praise to be most effective, do it immediately. If you wait too long, praise will lose its impact.
  5. Emphasize the less tangible benefits of safety. Improving your safety record saves lives and prevents injuries. It can also improve productivity and strengthen a company’s bottom line. A safer fleet is a more successful fleet — one that has the potential to enhance job satisfaction and improve retention. After all, safer performance isn’t just about keeping employees safe. It has broader societal impacts on passenger vehicles and pedestrians. And, finally, it’s good for business.

Download this full report from Motive.

Gary Johnson is Head of Safety and Compliance Strategy at Motive. He has more than three decades of experience in fleet safety, human resources, and employee management. Johnson is an experienced subject matter expert on transportation-related issues.

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