Wouldn’t it be great if investing in fleet technology were as simple as going to the mall and choosing an item from the shelves?
The reality is, selecting the right technology solution for your fleet’s needs is an important decision that takes time and thought. But when picking the right technology, where do fleet managers start?
We tapped Lytx® Sales Engineer Dennis Knake, who has more than 20 years of experience working for telematics providers and trucking companies, for answers on the most common problems our clients face—and advice on which technology solutions can solve their problems most efficiently.
Here’s what Knake has observed in his two decades in the field and the technology solutions he recommends.
The Problem: Driver turnover. “This is the biggest problem I see,” said Knake. “It costs up to $24,000 to recruit and hire a driver. And with driver turnover hovering near 90 percent, companies can’t keep drivers very long. So if you can retrain and retain a driver, it saves you from having to hire a new driver.”
The Technology Solution: A video-based driver coaching program. “Companies that have a coaching program supported by video telematics systems such as the Lytx [Driver Safety] Program can use it as a driver retention tool,” Knake said. “If you’re retaining drivers, you’re saving money by not having to replace them. A fleet safety program like the [Driver Safety] Program can help drivers perfect their skills through coaching, and it can help fleets retain their drivers as they improve."
The Problem: Drowsy driving. “Drowsy driving is a common issue for fleets, especially in the fall and winter, when darkness falls earlier,” Knake said. According to recent data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, missing just one to two hours of sleep doubles the risk of a collision.
The Technology Solution: Lane-deviation technology. “These types of programs, such as Lytx [ MV+AI technology], can help fleets identify and correct lane departure and close following behaviors that can lead to collisions,” Knake said. “In turn, they can help make fleets safer and lower CSA scores.”
The Problem: Fuel cost. Although fleets welcomed the news that U.S. fuel costs declined in 2017, fleet fuel management still stands among commercial carriers’ biggest challenges. “Fuel costs are a large expense to fleets, and anything you can do to reduce them is a huge benefit to a fleet’s bottom line,” Knake said.
The Technology Solution: To keep fuel consumption down, fleets can rely on telematics that provides information about speeding, idling, and hard braking—all behaviors that affect fuel consumption, Knake said. The U.S. Department of Energy asserts that while aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds, driver feedback devices can change behavior, thereby improving fuel economy by up to 10 percent.
“Telematics provides feedback about behaviors that consume a lot of fuel, such as speeding and hard accelerating,” Knake said. “By signaling drivers to slow down and pay attention to these behaviors, telematics can help drivers with fuel management— leading fleets to lower fuel costs.”
GPS fleet tracking software also can empower drivers to take the most efficient routes. “The more out-of-route miles you have, the more you are paying for fuel that you don’t get back,” Knake said.
The Problem: Distracted driving. It’s a chief cause of front-end collisions specifically, Knake said.
“When drivers are distracted, whether by a cell phone or a conversation with a passenger, it may diminish the attention they pay to driving and can lead to front-end collisions,” Knake said. If you can reduce distractions, drivers can have fewer accidents, because their attention on driving is increased.”
The Technology Solution: A video telematics program with an interior lens is the solution, Knake said. “The inside lens on the DriveCam event recorder, for example, is event-based, which means it’s triggered only when a risky behavior is detected,” Knake said. “Being able to understand what’s happening at the wheel during an event allows coaches to understand why an event happened, and it presents them with an opportunity to improve that behavior through coaching. “
The Problem: Claims costs. Claims costs have been trending upward due to high-profile court cases. We are living in a more litigious world than we were 10 years ago, and it’s causing insurance premiums to rise, Knake said.
The Technology Solution: To curtail claims costs, having video of the event can help provide proof of what happened and exonerate drivers. “Video that documents what happened from multiple angles can be a fleet’s best advocate,” Knake said.
“Having an outward-facing lens and a driver-facing lens to show how your driver reacted to the situation can empower fleets to battle a claim effectively,” he continued. “If your driver is not at fault, the video will help prove that. If your driver is at fault, video also can help cut claims costs by empowering the company to settle the claim quickly.”