Finding the 'Needle in a Haystack' Faster

Innovation Spotlight

We all know driver coaching is a good idea. It can improve performance and cut down on unsafe and inefficient driving habits. And that, in turn, reduces collisions.

But there’s another consequence that David Butcher did not anticipate.

“The drivers and management are forced to work with each other,” said Butcher, vice president of safety at GO Riteway, a transportation company and Lytx client based in Milwaukee, Wis. “When you have one manager for every 50 drivers, sometimes that doesn’t always happen naturally. When you have a system of coaching in place, all of a sudden they’re having conversations they wouldn’t have had otherwise. That face time is helping to foster better relations.”

For a time, GO Riteway was using cumbersome, third-party hardware for coaching sessions; it was complicating matters. The camera systems were attached to physical hard drives on school buses, meaning video-based driver coaching could happen only five or so times a month. It all depended on how often coaches were able to carve out time to retrieve the hard drives, bring them into the office, download the video, and scan through hours of footage to see whether operators were following procedures.

“We have a 10-acre bus yard. Just walking out to the bus to retrieve three hard drives, coming back to the office, plugging them in to make sure they’re working, then taking them back out will take you 30 minutes. It’s time consuming,” said Butcher, whose company employs 1,200 drivers who operate 900 school buses and 130 commercial services vehicles. “That doesn’t include the time it takes to review the video.”

Faced with a month’s worth of raw footage, driving coaches often found themselves looking for needles in haystacks. The result: spot checks would yield only a handful of coachable events, and many unsafe behaviors went unnoticed.

This year, GO Riteway tried connected cameras that could provide live feeds from vehicles while they’re on the road, via the Lytx Video Services program. Dispatchers and supervisors can check in to the program anytime from their office computers.

I can go straight to the part of the footage that shows triggered events. I don’t have to go hunting through hours of footage. I don’t even have to wait for the bus to come back to the yard.

                             — David Butcher, vice president of safety, GO Riteway


“I can check up to four buses in 15 minutes,” Butcher said. “With this system, I can be 10 to 20 times more productive because it’s so fast.”

It’s not so much the quantity of footage, but the relevance—those needles in the haystack.

“I can go straight to the part of the footage that shows triggered events. I don’t have to go hunting through hours of footage. I don’t even have to wait for the bus to come back to the yard,” Butcher said. “Before, we’d do driver coaching maybe five times a month. Now we coach as much as five times a day. It is tremendously different, because it is so easy to use. It’s quick, to the point, and on my desktop. If I see something, I can mark it, and download those few seconds and give it to my safety guys and they talk to the driver that day.”

Not all of those interactions are about correcting behavior. Butcher makes sure his coaches also use video to praise drivers as well.

“When we see a good video,” he said, “my coach will call the driver in, show them the video, give them a $10 gift card to Subway and say, ‘Lunch is on me!’ Now suddenly, they’ve developed good relations with the boss. That was an unintended consequence.”

GO Riteway improved productivity through the Lytx Video Services program. Read what Lytx Chairman and CEO Brandon Nixon has to say about the program and how it can help your organization.

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