Written by: Tara Beeby, Head of Customer Experience Idelic 

Recently I sat down with fleet safety veterans Nate Lewis, Sr. Dir. Risk Management, Transportation, Tyson Foods and Tim Eckhardt, Director of Safety, Dot Transportation, Inc. during a joint webinar with TCA to learn more about what they’re doing to effectively manage risk, lower accident rates and retain great drivers. Here’s part two of that conversation. If you missed part one you can read it here.

4. Monitor Driver Behavior Patterns vs. One-Off Events to Help Reduce Accidents

Safety teams receive an abundance of data from telematics and in-cab monitoring. While this data is invaluable, addressing individual incidents reactively can make drivers defensive and curtail effectiveness. Tyson Foods and Dot Transportation have shifted their teams to utilize Idelic’s Safety Suite to analyze driver behavior patterns, enabling proactive coaching, reducing accidents, and enhancing driver engagement. Nate articulated, “We need to evolve from record-keeping of events that have already occurred to monitoring behaviors… that’s the avenue to preventing a collision before it occurs.” He likened addressing one-off incidents to putting a driver in “the penalty box,” which has limited effectiveness. Nate’s team has observed a significant decrease over the past year in overall accident frequency rates, attributing the success to the monitoring of driver behavior and the implementation of professional development plans.

5. Give Drivers an Opportunity to Self-Correct Behavior Before an Accident Occurs

Many fleets employ scorecards to assess a driver’s road performance. However, the effectiveness of scorecards as a coaching tool is increasingly being questioned by safety teams. “They’re essentially just a report card… here’s a lagging indicator, and here’s how you did,” Tim noted. “We desired more leading indicators… allowing (drivers) to modify their behavior independently without our intervention after a poor decision has already been made.” Dot Transportation employs Idelic’s predictive analytics, which utilize machine learning to offer a predictive view of which drivers are most likely to experience an accident within the upcoming 90 days. Using the Driver Watch List, Tim’s team identifies which drivers require proactive coaching, allowing them an opportunity to amend behavior before disciplinary action becomes necessary.

6. Sustain Behavior Improvements by Partnering with Drivers through Coaching

Despite advancements in technology, AI, and machine learning, the trucking industry remains profoundly ‘human-centric.’ Nate and Tim repeatedly emphasized the crucial role of establishing one-on-one relationships with drivers, customizing incentives, and employing diverse communication methods. “You have to prevail in every safety conversation,” asserted Nate. Both concurred that transactional training videos can feel punitive. Conversely, collaborating with drivers through continuous professional development plans can significantly impact behavior improvement. Nate stated, “The only scenario worse than training someone and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” Consequently, Tyson Foods integrates Idelic’s professional development plans, outlining the program’s progression and maintaining constant communication, ensuring drivers never feel isolated.

If you missed the first installment of this series, you can find it here.

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