The cost of doing business is rising for fleets of all sizes and the driver shortage is still stressing the industry. Fleets are aggressively looking for innovative ways to protect their bottom line, while also recruiting and retaining talented drivers. All of this in the midst of an economy that’s experiencing rapid evolution and change.
The good news is there’s a way fleets can save money and enhance driver safety all at once—with the help of video telematics. Here are the top ways a video telematics solution can help cut costs. Some of them may surprise you.
1. Retaining Drivers
Video improves driver training, which increases retention and lowers hiring costs.
In a world where it can cost up to $24,000 to recruit and hire a new driver, onboarding top talent isn’t cheap. The key is to cultivate and develop the drivers already working for you. By using a program such as the Lytx Driver Safety Program to coach drivers who exhibit unsafe driving behaviors, you can help them improve.
“There’s a saying called retrain to retain, and there’s a lot of truth in it,” says Del Lisk, Lytx VP of Safety Services. “By coaching, or retraining, your drivers within a few days of their displaying an unsafe behavior, such as speeding or following too closely, you’ll help them develop professionally and reduce their chances of being in a traffic accident.” A driver improved and retained will save you the effort and costs associated with onboarding new drivers.
According to a 2016 report by the American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry invests at least $9.5 billion in safety annually. Of that, driver safety training accounted for the largest portion of the total annual spending, 36%. And yet, too many fleets under-invest in training their drivers.
Many commercial fleets opt for compliance-based annual training, requiring drivers to come off the road for a day to be trained. But a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t account for individual driver needs. One driver may need a deep dive on many safe driving habits, while another may only need a brief reminder on seat belt use.
For more targeted, impactful driver safety training, commercial fleets can integrate a video telematics program into their training programs. This includes features like virtual ride-alongs, driver progressive coaching, and more. “Think of using video in your training programs like professional athletes use game footage. It’s a tool that helps you improve skills because it gives a neutral view of what’s happening in the field,” Lisk says.
“For example, if a video clip shows a driver following too closely, you can coach the driver on that behavior within a couple days and fix the issue right away, versus waiting for the next training cycle to arrive.” And since a typical coaching session can be completed in a few minutes, it means your driver can be back on the road quickly, producing profits for the business.
Regular, consistent training reduces cumulative time spent off the road, in comparison to the “once per year” training. Plus, it’s proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase driver engagement.
2. Improving fuel management & vehicle maintenance
Video telematics provides data on how to lower fuel consumption and decrease vehicle wear and tear.
As the number of vehicles on U.S. highways increases, so does the congestion. This leads to more stop-and-go traffic, idling, rapid accelerations, and hard braking. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, safe driving habits can lower gas mileage by between 15 and 30% at highway speeds, and 10 and 40% in stop-and-go traffic.
For better fleet fuel management, commercial fleets can rely on telematics technology to pinpoint inefficient vehicles, and inefficient drivers. By helping drivers slow down and be more aware of gas-guzzling behaviors, telematics helps conserve fuel and money—between 29 cents and $1.17 per gallon, according to the Dept. of Energy.
Video telematics can also reveal where aggressive driving techniques, such as hard accelerating or braking, put more stress on the vehicle overall, whether it’s the chassis, the transmission or other parts of the truck. “The bottom line is that safer drivers drive at more moderate speeds, with fewer sudden stops and starts,” says Lisk. “As a result, they don’t wear out brakes as quickly. Not only will the vehicle last longer, but repairs won’t need to be made as frequently.”
3. Providing clear evidence & exonerating drivers
Video helps protect against fraudulent claims and theft.
From cargo fraud to fender benders with exaggerated injuries, commercial fleets have become a target of “nuclear verdicts” and frivolous lawsuits in recent years. Fortunately, video telematics programs can help protect fleets against false claims by capturing collisions—or the lack of them—on video.
If a driver is falsely blamed for running a red light and causing a collision, for example, a video from the on-board camera can show who’s at fault, exonerate your driver, and turn the tables on the case.
“With fraudulent claims, any injuries the victim may be claiming can be contested with the assistance of video,” Lisk says. “Video telematics lets you see how significant the collision was or wasn’t. Lytx Video Platform, for example, displays the speed at impact and the G-force on event clips and continually recorded video. So, with the help of an expert, fleets can discover if a person’s claimed injury or damage to their vehicle is inconsistent with the collision’s impact.”
Essentially, video can help reconstruct the collision—even with low or no G-force events. And it can also reconstruct less severe, but equally expensive situations such as cargo theft. Video monitoring of the exterior of your vehicles can give hard proof about how and when a theft occurred and provide critical details about the perpetrators.
All of this video “evidence” saves thousands of dollars in claims—both legal and cargo loss. It also protects the reputation of your business, and therefore future profits.
4. Lowering collision rates
Video telematics reduces collisions and other incidents by targeting risky driving.
Risky driving is one of the biggest challenges fleets face. The most prevalent risky driving behaviors of 2019 were: not wearing a seat belt, smoking, making an incomplete stop, using a mobile device, and eating or drinking. Plus, multi-tasking—eating, drinking, smoking, and using a cell phone—while driving increases the risk of collision by 100%.
Empower your drivers to quickly correct their risky driving behaviors as they happen—without manager intervention. Lytx advanced machine vision and artificial intelligence (MV+AI) technology senses difficult-to-detect behaviors and prompts drivers to self-correct with real-time alerts, such as in-cab audio and lights.
“Drivers retain their independence and can monitor and manage their own performance, while management has the visibility they need to track progress and intervene if needed,” Lisk explains. “This builds trust between all parties, increases driver retention (saving you hiring costs), and ultimately reduces collisions and associated costs by combating risky driving in your fleet.”
5. Confirming service
Video can provide service verification and help optimize overall driver productivity.
A less severe, but more common situation where video can provide aid is with service verification. When a customer reports that a package never arrived or worker never showed, you have instant, visual proof that a service was indeed rendered. Or, if the customer is correct, you can quickly scan through video logs to track down the issue at hand. For example, you can give visual proof, including a time stamp and location, that a package was left on a customer’s doorstep or technician entered a residence. Having video verification can dramatically improve your customer support efforts. Your team will spend less time and need fewer resources to keep customers happy.
“When you have incontrovertible proof of service, it eliminates a host of ‘he said, she said’ issues that bog down your customer support team and can damage your company’s reputation,” says Lisk. “Video gives you instant confirmation.”
Additionally, video telematics can help increase the productivity of your drivers by analyzing and optimizing their routes to find better ways to reach customers. This will help the company improve revenue and support because drivers are able to reach more customers, faster.
Read case studies, see stats, and get the latest news on how fleet managers are using video technology to improve driver safety and reduce costs in our Resource Library.