-  Photo Courtesy of J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

Photo Courtesy of J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc. 

Light/medium duty vehicle fleet managers have an immense responsibility to serve customers safely while their drivers use public roadways.

A 2023 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. Fleet Manager Pain Points survey found that 65 percent of safety managers expressed their role as challenging mainly due to the difficulty of hiring and retaining drivers.

Video-event-based (dash cam) coaching can improve safety and driver retention, reducing a significant source of stress for fleet managers.


The Cost of Turnover

Driver retention and limiting avoidable turnover are critical to a safety program and essential for a healthy bottom line.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates that in 2022, there was a shortage of 78,000 drivers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates driver job growth at 89,300 from 2023-2032, helping support ATA’s estimated 160,000 drivers short in less than ten years.

The cost of replacing a driver or any skilled employee varies by industry. Typical costs of turnover include, but are not limited to:

  • Recruitment;
  • Qualification (background checks, Motor Vehicle Records (MVR), medical exams, drug tests, and road tests);
  • Training;
  • Safety and service degradation; and 
  • Underutilization of vehicles.

Make drivers better and recognize them; don’t make them leave

  1. They help you prevent “early tenure” turnover due to a lack of skills or job satisfaction. Good coaches establish a rapport and gain commitment to behavioral changes using the proof of behaviors that dash cams provide. Coaches ask questions, acknowledge driver concerns, help the driver identify root causes and corrections, and offer support while acknowledging their value as a member of the team. 
    “The success that we’ve seen from [dash cameras] is priceless … Trustworthy drivers. A culture that breeds positivity, honesty, and integrity. Drivers beat us to the punch … They tell us when they’ve messed up.”

    View story here.
  2. You can avoid unnecessary termination of drivers by correcting issues as soon as you are made aware of them with the dash cam footage, rather than waiting for an accident or report of bad driving. You can also substantiate reports of poor driving and use dash cam video to exonerate drivers. 
  3. Additionally, leveraging dash cams to reward and recognize drivers maximizes your dash cam ROI and builds authenticity and integrity around all coaching events. 

 

Don’t just incentivize productivity and fuel efficiency – include safety behaviors!
 

 -  Photo Courtesy of J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

Photo Courtesy of J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc. 

The J. J. Keller March 2023 In-cab Technology Pulse Poll of light/medium duty fleet leaders found that “Improved driver awareness of unsafe driving habits or skills” was the primary benefit from video-event coaching systems” - outranking insurance and claim-related benefits. “Improved driver training programs” was the fourth most important benefit.

 

Leadership Support is Essential

Consistent leadership support is essential in sustaining a culture of safety and accountability. Leaders must support investing in best practices that uphold the value of safety on and off the highway, going above and beyond the bare minimums of the regulations.

To be defendable, carriers must exceed the rules and proactively avoid violations and crashes, according to defense and plaintiff attorneys in ATRI’s 2020 study “Understanding the impact of nuclear verdicts on the trucking industry.”
 

The J. J. Keller survey found that 51 percent of safety managers selected
“Leadership consistently showing that safety is important” as most influential
in the success of their safety initiatives.


Reduce the chance of excessive litigation

Safety leaders must justify the investment in safety technologies, like video-event recorders (dash cameras). Fortunately, research and studies are plentiful.

If even one driver is exonerated after a crash, the cost avoided would likely support the purchase of the entire video system. The April 2023 American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) Survey “Issues and Opportunities with Driver-Facing Cameras (DFC)” study found:

  • DFC footage helps exonerate drivers in 49 percent of litigation cases and 52 percent of insurance claims. Road-facing cameras (RFC) proved drivers were not at fault in 64 percent of claims.
  • Driver approval of DFCs was 87% higher when video footage was used for coaching and training than when there was no proactive safety use.

Additionally, two studies by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that:

  • Event-based video systems and behavior coaching accounted for a 20 percent reduction in fatal crashes and 35 percent fewer injury crashes.
  • A study of nine carriers with significant crash reductions found that five out of nine carriers held video-based coaching as a top safety strategy, and all nine used video-based coaching.

Video evidence makes proving negligence much more challenging for a plaintiff's lawyer and can negate excessive financial demands, especially when combined with a proactive coaching and training program.

Remember, all data from vehicles, company systems/records, drivers’ cell phones, and everything a carrier did or failed to do will be discoverable. Data without video can pile up in a hurry and out of sight. Lack of action on data not reviewed doesn’t absolve carriers of their ‘duty to act” to correct the risky behavior.


Wrapping it up

Investing in employees to be safer and more satisfied with their role protects the company. Using dash cams to coach and improve skills is an ideal way to retain drivers and detect risky driving – which is also critical to protecting your fleet. 

Educate yourself and your team with a free download of J. J. Keller’s Building a Successful Driver Coaching Program. Learn how J. J. Keller dash cams can help you build an enviable safety culture and help you manage risk at KellerEncompass.com, or talk with a compliance specialist at 855-693-5338.