Fleet managers who’ve been struggling to address high driver turnover are now turning to a new tool to help them address a serious challenge — technology.
The issue of driver turnover isn’t a new phenomenon. Rates have been high for most of the past two decades, with a brief drop in the wake of the Great Recession. According to a brief report by the American Trucking Association, the average turnover rate for 2005 and 2006 was 130% and 117% respectively for large freight carriers and 96% and 109% for smaller freight carriers. In 2010, turnover hit a low of 39% before skyrocketing again to just above 89% in 2018.
For such a rapidly growing industry with an urgent need for drivers, statistics like this signal a huge problem. Transportation companies are essential to the supply chain. If driver turnover rates continue to rise, there will be a huge gap between human resources and growth within the transportation industry.
All of these statistics beg the question: How do we keep young drivers on the job longer than they have in the past? One word: technology.
Using Technology to Attract and Retain Young Drivers
Before we propose ways to attract and keep young drivers, we must examine why they leave in the first place. Some of the reasons for high turnover rates include:
Causes of a High Driver Turnover Rate
- Driver shortage in the transportation industry creates increased competition and lowers the barrier of entry into new companies. Other transportation companies lure drivers away from their current employers with higher salaries, bonuses and immediate job offers. This makes it easier for drivers to leave their current jobs for better opportunities.
- Facing negative work events such as crashes, mechanical issues and other unforeseeable road conditions and being unjustly blamed for some of these events could contribute to a driver’s decision to leave their current employer. For example, a driver could get into an accident that was not their fault and get penalized for it because they do not have the right technology to prove it.
- Lack of proper communication channels especially with upper management can make work difficult for drivers. Since they constantly face unpredictable conditions on the road, they require an efficient feedback system for their complaints and recommendations.
- Lack of transparency is also a deterrent for drivers. Using deceptive hiring tactics such as hidden ultimatums or clauses in employment contracts could antagonize drivers and make them feel cheated.
- Not knowing their performance expectations or the processes for meeting them could also negatively impact drivers. This sets the stage for a driver to take on too much work and feel overwhelmed.
- Constant criticism and lack of recognition or rewards for good work are another cause of driver turnover. It is a standard practice to reward good driving behavior with bonuses and benefits using a points system. This shows drivers that their work is important and also validates negative feedback.
- Poor investment in training and development. If you fail to train your drivers, they may be more open to working for transportation companies who will. Training and development are necessary, especially for younger drivers who may have to work with various technological tools in the future.
- Lack of adequate driver safety processes. It goes without saying that if you do not provide the appropriate tools for ensuring driver safety, your drivers will naturally gravitate to where they feel safer. Invest in fleet safety tools, certifications and workshops.
How to Attract and Retain Young Drivers with Technology
In the first quarter of 2019, only 64.9% of new drivers stayed with their carriers for 90 days, according to research by Stay Metrics, who looked at data from 42,283 drivers across 93 carriers. Technology is a potent tool that addresses every negative factor leading to high turnover rates in the transportation industry.
We already know that for drivers to perform better at their jobs, they require support, open lines of communication, driver safety measures, training, a reward system and a way to mitigate road risks.
New technology, such as that used by Driveri, enable these functions with a platform driven by artificial intelligence.
With this technology, the platform collects and analyzes road data in real time and serves as an onboard coach for drivers. It warns drivers of road conditions and captures video that can be used as evidence to exonerate them during a crash investigation.
These platforms also provide effective communication, monitoring, feedback and rewards without antagonizing the drivers or denying them autonomy. It is all-encompassing and takes the pressure off human resources by creating automated channels for important but time-consuming tasks.
In a world full of many automotive fleet solutions, platforms like Driveri stand out for two major reasons:
- Cutting-edge technology: Smart data analytics technology such as artificial intelligence and edge computing are trained to improve as they gather more data, which in this case, makes driver safety more achievable.
- Driveri runs on edge computing and is not trigger-based like other fleet management technologies available today. This helps fleet managers see everything the driver sees — not just what happens after they hit the brakes.
- Take, for example, a situation in which another car cuts off a driver on the road. Other tools would only start recording when the driver hits the brakes, making it look like the driver was following too closely or driving too fast.
- You can see how this could easily lead to false accusations that are difficult to debunk. Instead of showing only the aftermath, a vision-based system would show the other car cutting off the driver, proving they did the right thing.
For a long time, fleet management systems have taken a vision-based approach to help managers monitor their fleets while on the road.
However, legacy systems have focused on the drivers and their behavior, not on the road or events that occur. This can be demoralizing for the driver who feels constantly watched without regard for collecting video evidence of events that occur on the road.
It is important to collect as much video evidence as possible in any situation. Apart from exonerating drivers, collecting video could save the company a lot of money in legal fines when accidents occur. It is also a great way to collect data for custom insurance premiums intended for individual drivers.
Alternatively, vision-based solutions give fleet managers proof in situations where the drivers are at fault. As we mentioned earlier, false accusations without proof can make drivers feel antagonized, especially when these situations pile up and lead to penalties.
DriverStar is the Driveri version of a rewards system. Rewarding drivers for good behavior is one way to encourage positive competition and better performance across your fleet. Taking note of high-performing drivers and rewarding them with bonuses and other benefits could also mitigate the issue of drivers feeling underpaid.
Ordinarily, this process is handled manually, with service managers conducting evaluations and writing recommendations. Unfortunately, this way, bias could easily affect a driver’s rating. It is also stressful, especially in large fleets to manually keep track of every driver’s performance every day.
DriverStar initiates real-time reporting of good driving behavior, including commendable driving decisions backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning. This gives fleet service managers the information required to appropriately reward good drivers. It also creates balance and eliminates bias in driver performance rating and encourages productivity.
Since Driveri is a single platform, managers do not have to keep manual logs of driver performance at all. The platform takes this weight off the manager in a hassle-free way. DriverStar also sets the tone for a competitive rating system in which drivers can strive to stay at the top.
In Driveri, this rating system is known as the GreenZone, another exceptional feature that promotes driver retention while giving managers a better perspective on their drivers.
Certain driver behaviors account for a large number of accidents annually. Behaviors such as texting, eating, sleeping, fiddling with objects while driving or driving while intoxicated are problematic not just because they pose a risk to drivers and other road users, but they could also potentially cost a carrier millions in damages.
Since managers cannot be out on the road with their drivers, it has been difficult to track these behaviors and apply preventive or curative measures. The GreenZone solves this problem in two parts thanks to its artificial intelligence-enhanced technology.
Firstly, it actively monitors drivers for distracted driving behaviors and signs of drowsiness or fatigue. The system also checks for following distance, adherence to road signs and compliant driving, especially with traffic lights.
Secondly, it relates this information to managers as soon as it detects any bad behavior. This ensures that managers can take the necessary steps to assess and fix the situation before any accidents occur.
In a sense, it gives managers a bird’s eye view of their fleets and helps them run an efficient ranking or points-based system which self-updates as positive and negative behaviors are recorded. This leaves no room for bias within the system and sets the groundwork for future feedback and communication.
Mobile App for Real-time Coaching:
Driveri combines its other features on a simple mobile application that connects to its hardware device installed in vehicles for easy access. This mobile version of Driveri ensures that drivers always feel like they have a driving coach nearby.
The transportation industry will struggle to fill hundreds of thousands of driving jobs by 2030 due to a high turnover rate. The turnover rate is exacerbated by drivers being underpaid, unfairly criticized and accused, deceived, and poorly trained, among other issues. There is also a sizable portion of current drivers who are slated for retirement. As a result, there is a growing need for young drivers.
Unfortunately, the lack of drivers in the transportation industry has created competition amongst motor carriers for the available pool of drivers. This, in turn, contributes to the high turnover.
We argue that if given the right technology that ensures better treatment, driver safety, transparency and communication, young drivers will be more inclined to stay at their current jobs. Driveri is an example of this type of technology.
Through its use of artificial intelligence and edge computing, Driveri provides a host of features that make it difficult for any fleet manager to look away. These features include risk mitigation through its vision-based smart real-time data analytics system, driver rewards through DriverStar and Greenzone, as well as a seamless mobile app interface.
Driveri has shown time and again that it should be the first choice for any fleet company that requires value, automation of mundane driver-related tasks, and a tech-savvy operation moving forward.
Contact us for more information about Driveri.