With injury accidents and nuclear verdicts on the rise, not implementing a proactive fleet safety system has become too large of a risk. Yet, some fleets are concerned that their drivers will quit if they do.

In this guide, we’ll explain how you can implement dash cams effectively without increasing driver turnover in 14 steps.

Be Transparent

Overcome feelings of discomfort by being transparent and collaborative—explain why you are installing cameras. Share your company’s goals and guidelines, so drivers understand the need for change. Clearly establishing your fleet’s goal can improve CSA scores, lower insurance premiums, and protect your drivers from false insurance claims.

“We told the drivers the cameras were there to help them, and we asked them to try it out for a month. With this process, we gained their trust.” 

– Amanda Gallegos, Director of Risk Management, Stewart Transport

Explain How It Works

Communicate how the technology works and what the drivers can expect. Doing so will set a foundation for success. Explain how events are predicted and detected, who has access to the footage, how long videos are stored, etc. If you will be using an advanced AI-enabled camera, where footage will be reviewed by computers – not humans – let them know; they may find computers more acceptable than having humans make judgments about their driving.

“The AI technology really helps the drivers buy-in as a whole because having humans decide whether or not they’re doing something right is [unappealing]. At first, that was 50-50 percent but now as they see their behaviors change their score, the buy-in increases each week.”

– Karen Smerchek, President, Veriha Trucking

Ask for Feedback 

Be collaborative. Ask for driver feedback via a survey, online forum, or one-on-one conversation. You may adjust your rollout based on their concerns; for example, they may be amenable to outward-facing cameras, but not inward-facing cameras.

“We wanted feedback from them to understand what their concerns were and what they wanted to see. Perhaps there was something about the technology they were interested in. So we gave them a lot of opportunities for feedback.” 

– Dave Besterfeldt, the Vice President of the Midwest Operations, ALTOM Feedback

Give Them a Reason to Care 

What’s in it for them? In addition to a decreased chance of a major accident and exoneration in the case of a non-fault accident, driving for a safer fleet will ultimately help their career. Lower insurance premiums may encourage some fleets to offer better compensation. What is good for the company is good for the driver. Additionally, driver scores that come along with smart cameras may become an industry standard to measure good driving, that a driver will use like a resume, to prove their value.

“When the drivers saw we were using [the video] in a positive manner, they embraced it very quickly. When they realize what we’re doing is trying to enhance them as a driver, and protect them and their safety, it’s really a little bit of a game changer.” 

– John Elliott, CEO of Load One Transportation 

Recognize Good Driving

Many drivers are used to legacy cameras that focus on hard brake or G-force triggered events. The problem with this is that managers don’t get the full picture – only the “bad” driving. Advanced AI-based cameras capture and analyze the entire driving day, enabling managers to confidently recognize all the good driving – which comprises most of the drive time. A performance report that is based on a balance of positive driving behavior and constructive feedback will encourage drivers to perform better.

“It’s important to stay disciplined with coaching, build relationships with drivers, and provide positive recognition. It’s like a bank account – you can’t make a withdrawal unless you have sufficient deposits.”

– Karen Smerchek, President, Veriha Trucking

Utilize Gamification 

We all have a competitive streak, so use it to your advantage. Companies that use gamification features have seen an average of 60 percent increase in employee engagement, and 72 percent of people say competition makes them work harder.

Gamification can be as simple as allowing drivers to see their score rank compared to their peers (in an anonymous fashion) and/or the fleet average. By applying gamification to fleet safety, you reward positive behavior, motivate teams, celebrate success, and give drivers a sense of control. All of that together – happier drivers, and positive driving behavior – leads to higher productivity.

“It’s important to stay disciplined with coaching, build relationships with drivers, and provide positive recognition. It’s like a bank account – you can’t make a withdrawal unless you have sufficient deposits.”

– Karen Smerchek, President, Veriha Trucking

Gamification video game controllers

Empathize

Reinforce that you know your drivers are great at what they do, and that the camera is primarily to protect the driver from getting unfair blame. Think of it as having a trusty wingman always riding shotgun, there to help and protect with real-time feedback on how best to stay alert behind the wheel!

“By empathizing with them about the position that they’re in, the job they’ve got to do every day, we’re telling them we care. We care about what you’re doing, we care about your day from start to finish.”

– Dave Besterfeldt, Vice President Midwest Operations, ALTOM

Empathize

Show Them What You See 

Self-awareness is the first step for any personal shift. Enable the drivers to watch their own videos. Often, they don’t recognize their own driving, and seeing it for themselves can be a catalyst for a big shift in behavior change. Email event videos to drivers, or enable automated coaching that does it for you. Driver•i’s “Virtual Coach” feature sends a push notification to drivers to review their top 3 event videos each week, along with suggestions on exactly what they can do to improve their score.

“Once they know what they need to do, they pretty much change on their own, you sometimes just have to walk them through it.” Hollis adds, “When the system came out, I wasn’t the highest performer, but now I consistently get high scores… it has improved everyone. We’re on a higher scale as a team.”

– Driver Rashad Hollis

Empower Them 

Give drivers visibility to their own performance metrics so they can manage their progress. Let them have control over their career. Not only will this save managers time, but it will give them a sense of autonomy and control of their careers. And happy drivers are good for a fleet’s bottom line. One way to do this is to use a driver app where they can access their stats at any time.

“I had an owner-operator that was upset about getting a camera – that I was going to be on him to change this or change that. I said, ‘Download the app and pay attention to it, and you’ll never hear from me. I know the type of driver you are. Just pay attention to what it’s telling you, correct it, and we’ll move on.’ Three weeks later, he comes walking into my office and says, ‘You know, I’m still not happy about a camera in my truck, but that app basically told me I was becoming complacent, and this has made me a professional driver again.’ So that’s a big impact statement from that particular driver.”

– Lucas Mowrey, Safety Director, Grand Island Express

Go One Step at a Time 

Roll the program out slowly and be patient during the adjustment period. Do a trial; give people 30 days to get used to the cameras, and then reassess. You may choose one group of drivers to start with, such as those who have had consecutive incidents. Or one feature at a time – start with exterior cameras only for a few months, then move to inward cameras, then implement driver self-coaching, etc.

Also, choose one or two driving goals to focus on at a time, so people don’t get overwhelmed. Pick your top area of concern and work on it until you reach the set goal. For example, focus only on speeding until it is under control; then add on following distance; and so forth.  What Worked for TITAN

Use Incentives to Encourage Participation 

Especially in the case of owner-operators, the drivers may have the final say on what goes in their cab. Make a big deal out of the camera and driver app installation. Hold a “safety week” and give out cash and prizes for participation. Offer bonuses for those that agree to the installation. Example   Incentives

Reward Improvement, Not Just Top Performers

Reward those who show the most improvement over a time period or most improved for a particular alert, even if they are not meeting the goal score. This will boost morale and encourage improvement across all levels of drivers. Attach incentives to the scores, rewarding drivers with bonuses, swag, gift cards, paid time off, etc. Most fleets find that even a nominal reward works wonders.

“You’ll have the bottom 10-20% of drivers, and you really want to encourage them to meet the fleet goal score. We recognize the lower-scoring drivers that have a great week, a peak in scoring, or proactive driving moves.”

– Shannon Branch, Director of Compliance and HR, Petroleum Transport

Reward

Share Successes 

Fleet drivers are NOT at fault in 80 percent of collisions, and video cameras provide that proof. Installing this type of technology can exonerate drivers, providing evidence in case of an accident, saving fleets thousands of dollars in wrongful liability claims and time spent in litigation. Share exoneration videos and stories in group meetings, via email, online forums, on the TV in the driver’s lounge, or wherever you communicate with your team.

“Some of our spokespeople for the cameras are drivers that were involved in accidents and were exonerated based on what the footage showed. So, we really publicized that. We talk about it in virtual driver meetings, and we post articles in our newsletter about ‘this driver’s specific success story with the camera.’”

– Adam Lang, CDS, Chief Risk Officer, Halvor Lines

Trophy teamwork

 

Give Them Privacy

It’s important to emphasize that the inward-facing dash cam is not there to police your drivers’ every move but to protect them on the road. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that between 94 percent and 96 percent of vehicle accidents are caused by some type of human error. In-cab audio alerts like following distance and distracted driving will help your drivers proactively avoid collisions while also protecting their privacy.

There are a few approaches to this that are possible with an AI-enabled camera like Driver•i:

  • Start slow. Many fleets begin with only road-facing cameras on, and they use a physical cap so drivers are certain the inward camera cannot see them. As drivers become more accustomed to the cameras, they can remove the lens caps and utilize the inward features.
  • Edge computing allows for a special privacy feature that allows the device to process alerts without recording.
  • Drivers should know that – except in the case of an event or alert – no person will be reviewing videos; the AI is doing all of the analysis.
  • Reassure your drivers that when the ignition is off, their vehicle is their home, and the camera will not be recording.

“When drivers realize that we’re trying to protect them and help their careers, it’s really a bit of a game changer. They want to be part of something that is safe and positive, and to see that the company genuinely cares about them.”  

– John Elliott, CEO of Load One Transportation 

Building Your Incentive Program

Develop clear goals: Make concrete goals like improving fleet safety, increasing customer satisfaction, and boosting revenue. Then establish the smaller steps your fleet will take to meet these goals like limiting phone usage and improving adherence to schedules.

Communicate expectations: You must provide drivers with a detailed manual that clearly defines goals, rules, and benefits. Make sure it includes criteria for incentives, data gathering techniques, and how metrics will be weighed and tallied. Communication doesn’t end once the manual is shared, continue to get feedback from your drivers and offer regular updates on how your fleet is performing as a team.

Find the right reward: Not all fleets have the same needs or goals. This goes for the rewards you choose to incentivize your drivers. Some drivers appreciate safe driving bonuses and others love receiving gift cards in monthly or quarterly safe driver compensations. Get feedback from your drivers to know how you can show your appreciation for their success.

Example: 

Lamb Fuels Inc. uses $100 cash bonuses for whoever had the highest driver score at the end of the month.

Final Thoughts

There is a level of discomfort with any change, especially when it involves a perceived invasion of privacy. In the case of cameras, careful planning and thoughtful communication can make all the difference.

Advanced AI-based video safety solutions like Netradyne’s Driver•i can help get your drivers on board with cameras by focusing on recognizing and rewarding good driving, and empowering drivers to take charge of their own success. The driver scores and gamification become the foundation for a positive safety culture, more profit, better driver retention, and ultimately a safer fleet.

“We believe that our drivers are as interested in safety and managing their performance as we are. The Driver•i program has given our company the opportunity to recognize our high performers and invest in those that could use some additional training.”

– Jay Doescher, President of Fuchs Trucking

Live Webinar on April 11

What are your chances of being hit with insurance rate hikes or a nuclear verdict? Building a positive safety culture could help mitigate risks. Join experts in technology, trucking, and law to see what steps you can take to build a positive safety culture.
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