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How dash cams, driver coaching tools could help fleets reduce costs

April 6, 2023
Asset-based truckload carrier Security Transport has deployed various ways to turn fleet-wide safety around and save on insurance costs.

Nuclear verdicts, the truck driver shortage, and fleet safety violations are just some of the factors feeding the rise in insurance prices that fleets are experiencing. Add to that, loss severity and the cost to settle losses is only getting higher for fleets and insurance providers alike.

But there are tools out there that fleets can use to identify trends and driver habits that can have an impact on safety, and, in turn, insurance costs.

During a recent Truckload Carriers Association webinar, Bobbi Farrow, senior manager of insurance at Netradyne; Bob Carl, fleet services and risk engineer at HDVI Commercial Trucking Insurance; and Les Mayhew, safety director for Security Transport, discussed how the three companies work together to improve safety and insurance rates for Security Transport, an asset-based truckload carrier that hauls dry goods.

After working closely with HDVI and adopting Netradyne’s Driver-i AI-powered dash cams, which analyze the entire drive and all insights into driver behavior, Security Transport to date has seen a 7% average cost savings throughout the policy period and just over a 10% discount in their insurance premium, Mayhew noted. The carrier has also seen a significant bump in their fleet-wide safety score.

“Every month, HDVI brings in insights from the whole industry and shows us how we can keep improving,” Mayhew said during the webinar. “When we started, we were at a score of 500 (an F driver; HDVI’s average score is 700, which equates to a grade of C). It didn’t take long because our drivers saw what they were doing and when they saw what was wrong, they jumped in points for safety scores in a matter of a month.”

Netradyne provides fleets with the technology they can use for coaching via in-cab alerts, a driver app, virtual coach, manager coaching, and driver recognition. The Driver-i system can assess speed, traffic sign compliance, following distance, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and uses voice-activated, in-cab alerts to warn drivers of risky driving behavior in real time.

See also: Deterring distracted driving to save dollars and lives

For distracted driving, speeding, and following distance, when a driver receives one of these alerts and they comply within 10 seconds, it doesn’t impact their score or send off information to the fleet manager, Farrow explained. So, the technology incentivizes drivers to self-correct and change their behavior in the moment. 

Netradyne also provides a weekly virtual coaching solution that sends drivers’ most severe alerts to an app on their phone. The coaching tool shows drivers where they rank in the fleet, as well as their safety score, and then it gives them actionable items telling them where they could rank if they change their behaviors.

“We have fleets today that set their score and their appetite for risk,” Farrow explained. “They can focus on the driver who are doing awesome and recognize them, as well as focus on the drivers that are struggling or that have riskier behaviors and really coach them to change their behavior.”

Fleet use of cameras

Security Transport has been using both inward- and forward-facing cameras to not only coach drivers but also exonerate them as needed at the scene of an accident.

For instance, the carrier had an incident where one of its drivers pulled into a rest area to park and was getting ready for bed. A passenger vehicle driver pulled in right in front of the truck, then backed up, and crashed into the parked truck.

“We were able to retrieve the videos, and it really finished the whole claim because the other driver was saying that’s not what happened,” Mayhew said. “By showing the video, it’s obvious the truck was parked. The vehicle backing into him did about $10,000 worth of damage to the hood. It's been great for us to be able to defend our drivers.”

See also: Using technology to prevent nuclear verdicts

Security Transport also meets with an HDVI fleet services representative monthly to review driver trends derived from Netradyne’s cameras, CSA scores, and anything related to a DOT audit or roadside inspection.

“For many fleets, safety managers do a lot of jobs,” HDVI's Carl noted. “I’ve walked in their shoes. I’ve been a driver, a mechanic, managed repair shops, and I try my best to share my expertise with the fleets we service and try to take some of the burden off of them.”

Before implementing cameras, Mayhew indicated that Security Transport would interview every driver after an incident and rely only on word-of-mouth testimonies. Now, with the camera footage, Mayhew said he feels he has a better tool to coach drivers who might have become complacent behind the wheel.

“It’s great because when you work with them, the drivers seem to really want to improve their driving,” Mayhew explained. “When they come in at first, they say, ‘Well, I’m the best driver, I’m not going to have any marks or anything.’ But before you know it, I am bringing them in saying, ‘Take a look at this and see what you think.’ And they say, ‘Oh my God, that’s me driving?’”

Mayhew admits that the company’s over-the-road drivers were concerned about the privacy element of having in-cab cameras, but the camera automatically shuts off when the truck is parked. Mayhew said it’s important to communicate with drivers that they do have privacy, and that the device is not a “nanny cam.”

One big incentive for drivers: Security Transport uses insights and data from Netradyne, as well as savings from HDVI, to reward safe drivers with quarterly bonuses.

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