Electrification and driver behavior are not new topics, but they constantly evolve and require constant attention.
In the last meeting of 2022, the Work Truck Editorial Advisory Board dug deep into topics Work Truck has been covering throughout the year and shared their view on how they continue to shift and evolve in the industry.
The Psychology Behind Risky Driver Behavior
Risky driver behavior is a topic most fleet managers struggle with throughout the states. What do you do if you see a driver with risky behavior on the GPS?
The members voiced different views on how they manage risky drivers.
Matt Betz, expert fleet optimization for DTE Energy, explained that he and his team are interested in an emerging opportunity on using behavioral psychology and organizational behavior management for driver management. This approach aims to have meaningful conversations with drivers so they don’t repeat the behavior.
There are programs available that use these approaches to help make a difference. He stated, “I haven’t seen anything like this in the industry. The programs use Ph.D. behavioral psychologies to design programs to help change drivers’ behavior,” he added.
Lauren Fletcher, the executive editor at Work Truck, also finds this approach to driver behavior intriguing. “It’s important to talk about the correct way to approach the things we need to work on. Behavior modification and the evolution of these systems don’t only address the negatives, but how it's helping create better drivers through coaching and behavior modification.”
Another way to monitor and address risky driver behavior is with the help of technology.
Pete Silva, independent consultant, added he has experience using driver-facing and forward-facing cameras to combat risky behavior.
“The cameras forced our managers to have verbal contacts because they recorded those events. And those conversations would also be used as coaching opportunities.”
Brian Thompson Jr., general manager of transportation at DTG Recycle, added that he has also had success using technology for managing risky driver behavior.
He recently added a new Netradyne camera system with AI to his fleet. It emails alerts directly to the dispatchers such as:
- Hard braking.
- Stop sign violation.
- Fast acceleration.
He added, “With the new camera system, we’re able to focus on training. We can teach the driver what to look for while on the road.”
Pete Silva concluded the topic with something everyone agreed on, “Two things that stick out to me while on the road is the U.S. interstate network is very inefficient. It's amazing what drivers must deal with daily out there. Number two is, most of the time, the truck drivers are not the safety issue; it’s everyone else on the road causing truck drivers to swerve and hard brake.”
Do You Need Smart Charging for EVs?
As we all know, electric vehicles (EVs) are the hottest topics in the industry. Many laws were passed to push for EVs and other sustainable alternatives, such as the Clean Air Act.
For fleets just starting their electrification journey or are in the midst of it, it’s not without its challenges, no matter what level you’re at. The members shared where they are in their electrification journey and what challenges they’re currently facing.
Matt Betz said his actual electric vehicle (EV) deployment went off without a hitch, but his fleet needed help installing widespread chargers.
Betz added, “We bought 300 chargers for 30 locations. We have about half installed now, and we’re running into issues with them not working as advertised. We did not buy software for smart charging. It's only our vehicles that are charging on them. And not all the chargers are working. And so without the software to manage all of them, we're finding it a little difficult to determine why they're not working.”
On the other hand, Brian Thompson Jr. is just starting his fleet’s electrification journey. With a busy year of acquiring 14 different companies last year and more on the way, transitioning to an electric fleet has hit the backburner.
But he has made some progress since the last meeting. “I ordered five Battle Motor electric trucks that arrive in March. And we're working on all the charging now. I have staff doing assessments on our facilities for the chargers. We also have 10 Ford F-150 Lightnings coming to be used as managers’ site trucks and other uses,” he added.
Pete Silva added that his advice to fleet managers just starting their journey is to first look into free resources available.
In 2022, he worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a free toolkit for fleets that have yet to roll out EVs. The Total Cost of Electrification Toolkit is a resource now available to help remove the barriers to approaching financing electrification.
Curious about what else the Board has been talking about? In the last meeting, the group discussed EVs for customers, part shortages, and the death of the small van!