Research has shown that hiring quality drivers is the #1 action most fleets can take to reduce crashes. But how can you tell that the drivers you’re recruiting are quality? Though you might not have access to all the behavioral data surrounding a potential driver, there are important indicators hidden in any application that can help you spot a good fit. Here are the three characteristics the best drivers tend to have in common:
The Safest Drivers Have 6-8 Years Experience
Using data from the Survey of Drivers, conducted by the University of Michigan, researchers Kristen Monaco and Emily Williams found that the occupational experience group with the lowest percentage of reported accidents was drivers who had 6-8 years of experience.
Unsurprisingly, the drivers with the highest percentage of reported accidents were those with 1 year of experience behind the wheel. But with the driver shortage, no fleet can be picky. So if you can’t find enough drivers with 6-8 years of experience, you can:
- Focus on targeted training for newer drivers (if you aren’t already)
- Let new drivers ride-along with a more experienced driver so they can learn from the safest
- Offer refresher courses for when someone ages out of the 6-8 year cohort
- Build a strong culture of safety that makes sure every driver keeps safety top-of-mind
The Safest Drivers Log A Lot Of Miles (But Not Too Many)
Monaco and Williams found that drivers who log under 50,000 miles per year report the lowest number of accidents, but drivers who log about 100,000 miles per year actually report less accidents per mile. Importantly, accidents per mile significantly increases when drivers see their annual mileage rise above 100,000. Since fleets can’t all hire drivers with experience driving their preferred annual mileage it’s important to:
- Implement specific training to ease the transition when adjusting a driver to higher mileage routes
- Ask them which areas of their driving they’d like to improve upon and assign training that shores up their weak spots
The Safest Drivers Make Sleep a Priority
There is a wide body of scientific literature supporting the notion that sleep is a key ingredient to safe driving. A study in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention found that sleep deprivation significantly correlates with poor performance on a simulated driving exam. Monaco and Williams backed up that finding with real world data, identifying low amounts of “sleep in the past 24 hours” as significantly predictive of high accident rates.
According to their findings, roughly 28% of drivers who reported poor sleep patterns had an accident in the past year. Comparatively, only 15% of drivers who receive sufficient sleep reported an accident over the same time frame. Fortunately, if fleets want to encourage their drivers to develop safer sleep habits, there are three easy ways they can help:
- Encourage drivers to prioritize a full 8 hours of sleep each night
- Tell your drivers to cool their cabins to 65 degrees, the optimal temperature for sleeping
- Schedule your drivers’ routes so they can sleep at the same time each night
Despite these findings, even 8% of drivers in the safest subgroups of experience, annual mileage, and restedness reported having experienced a crash in the past year. Because of this, fleets need to invest in technology that will help them identify when both their safest and their most at-risk drivers are in danger of causing a crash.
For this, there’s the Idelic Safety Suite, which helps you understand your fleet data by:
- Integrating the systems you already use, making them more valuable
- Organizing and visualizing your data so it’s easy to understand
- Allowing you to add and edit data in the platform, so you’re not bogged down by multiple systems
- Using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to identify your at-risk drivers and recommend targeted training
With Safety Suite, everyone can keep safety top-of-mind, and making it a priority doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Watch a 2-minute demo how you can simplify your safety here.
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