Step it up for your drivers

April 4, 2017
Fleets should consider gamified tactics to improve driver heath

I’m a competitive person. Ask anyone who’s done a Fitbit step challenge with me.

They say that 10,000 steps a day is what you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And by “they” I mean the health experts—or the marketing folks at Fitbit or other fitness wearable companies that want you to buy their trackers.

But I don’t buy that. I think it takes a lot more than that—in fact, I know it takes a lot more than 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy. Nonetheless, I spend my days obsessing over how many steps I’ve logged compared to the friends—and the admittedly random people—I do these challenges with.

It wasn’t until I was assigned the “Gamification in Trucking” feature (page 80) for this month’s issue that I actually thought about what I am doing when I am participating in my weekly step challenges. Personally, I’m not happy unless I am winning a challenge by at least 10,000 or 15,000 steps ahead of the second-place person on the leader­board.

That’s human nature, right? When you see your name at the top of a leaderboard knowing that you’re surpassing your peers and more than meeting your daily goals, you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Gamification uses these kinds of game mechanics and dynamics to drive engagement and key performance indicators, or KPIs, in a non-game context. The objective of gamification among businesses is to drive better employee performance while using real-time feedback, goals and incentives or rewards. Fleets can leverage apps and leaderboards to publicly display employee and driver rank among their peers as a way to promote friendly competition and target specific behaviors.

“The average cost per crash involving a fatality was between $7.2 million and $11.7 million.”

- Cristina Commendatore, Fleet Owner Associate Editor

For this month’s gamification story, I spoke with a few fleets and app providers that stressed the benefits of gamifying fleet operations when it comes to driver safety, quick return on investment, measuring and managing KPIs, increased productivity among workers, and achieving better fuel efficiency.

To my surprise, however, no one mentioned using gamification to improve driver health, which is a major problem in the industry.

Recently, we reported that the more medical conditions drivers have—obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure—the more likely they will be involved in a crash than truck drivers with only one condition. And the cost of crashes is high, according to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. About 60,000 truck crashes were reported to the police over the past five years, with an average cost per crash of between $331,000 and $533,000. The average cost per crash involving a fatality was between $7.2 million and $11.7 million.

Not only that, but health problems are one of the top reasons cited by truck drivers for leaving the industry, which creates a lifestyle that makes them susceptible to weight gain and poor health. They sit all day, rarely exercise, endure stress, and a lot of times make poor food choices because of what’s available to them at truck stops.

The industry already has a problem retaining drivers—particularly good, safe drivers. So more incentives to stay—pay bonuses or gift cards for weight loss or driving the newest, high-tech trucks—couldn’t hurt.

Since trucking happens to be one of the highest risk occupations with sky-high obesity rates among drivers, why not use gamified tactics to help improve driver health? Or at least use it to get drivers motivated to get out of their cabs and move a bit more than they already do. I’m sure you’d find that such a program would help your drivers maintain their medical certifications as well.

I know driver fitness programs and apps abound, but is there a way you can leverage them to create leaderboards and promote a healthier lifestyle among your drivers? Even a simple step challenge might be a good start.

Speaking of … time for a walk.  

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...