By Janice Sutton
Celia, please tell us about eDriving and the company’s mission
eDriving is the largest provider of regulated driver training, online driver training, and global driver risk reduction. Regulated driver training in the U.S. exists in two forms. One is the process teens go through on a state-by-state basis to get their driving license. We are the largest provider of online courses to satisfy the state classroom requirement in many states. The second part of regulated driver training is traffic school for drivers who get tickets—we also are the largest provider of online courses to satisfy the traffic school requirement in many states.
And then, globally, we provide comprehensive driver risk management programs to large multi-national companies operating in many countries.
eDriving’s mission is to attack the “94%” problem — 94% of collisions are caused by driver attitudes and behaviors. So, it’s the decisions that drivers are making or deciding not to make behind the wheel. It is not about a lack of knowledge — people don’t text and drive because they don’t know that it is dangerous to do; they do it because they lose the willpower to ignore a message that comes in or because they are late getting to their appointment, for instance. So, we are very focused on interrupting the behavior that makes someone susceptible to that message, or to speeding or to tailgating.
We know that driving behavior is difficult to change; what is eDriving’s approach?
We believe that telematics is a critical technology to help drivers change the behavior that is causing 94% of collisions on the roads. For many companies, it is about capturing the signal that can be interpreted into a hard brake or hard cornering or acceleration. For many companies, the next step is to also produce a score that predicts risk. Most companies stop there.
What we are focused on doing is developing a full, turnkey, closed loop approach so that we actually remediate the behavior once it is measured and scored. We are about measuring behaviors and delivering insights that are meaningful and actionable to a driver and assigning a playlist of content modules to them to get them to be aware of what they can do to improve their behavior on a drive-by-drive basis.
As with any type of behavior modification, change happens through incremental steps. I think a lot of driver training fails to have a really lasting effect because it is kind of a “one and done” approach. Real behavioral change, if you look at whether it is breaking an addiction or losing weight, for example, is a process that is most successful when it comes in methodical, persistent steps.
eDriving’s closed loop approach is accomplished via our MentorSMprogram. It is a smartphone app that induces a behavior modification process that happens over some time. With every drive you take, Mentor gets some insights: you get some comparisons to other drivers and you get a suggested playlist of content. You get some “way to go’s” and some “oops”. It is personal, engaging, and it is very much like other wearable devices that people are used to using to track exercise, heart rate, quality of sleep, etc. It rewards you and it shames you a little bit, and it has some gamification. It is about getting you to incrementally do things that build positive habits.
Tell us about eDriving’s SMART Driving Principles Guide
One of the tools that we have introduced to help chip away at the 94 percent problem, is our SMART Driving Guide. We have boiled down the critical driving behaviors into 15 principles which are easy to “get” and keep in mind. If every driver keeps these 15 principles in mind they’ll virtually eliminate the risk of being in a collision.
In addition, we’ve developed an acronym for SMART with easy-to-remember guidelines for safe driving:
Scan 360 to build up a total picture
Manage your attitudes and emotions
be Accountable for the choices you make
be Ready to respond to anything
be Tuned in and focused on the drive
Where do you think fleets stand with respect to the cost impact of driver safety training?
I think fleets’ regard for the role of safety training exists on a very wide continuum, even among our blue chip clients who operate in many different countries around the globe. Even within a given client, the motivation to engage in safety training can differ by country. It is meaningful to the people who are very fiscally focused, as well as to those who are really focused on the human impact.
For other companies for whom it is less of a company core value – not that anyone would say getting their employees home safely isn’t a core value — but for those who come to it with a real financial ROI target to solve in terms of the cost of collisions and claims, it makes mathematical and empirical sense. We have proven this over time with many companies over many years. The impact on their collisions per million miles, the impact on their costs – these things go hand and hand. They are measurable, they are meaningful. There is a very clear relationship between a comprehensive approach and the effect on both human lives and dollars spent. Our Virtual Risk Manager Clients realize up to 67% reduction in collisions and incidents and realize a 20-40% ROI.
What do you believe is the unique value proposition that eDriving offers its clients?
eDriving is uniquely positioned in the safety training, risk reduction space because of our expertise, and the length of time and the breadth of drivers that we have serviced over two decades. We are a technology company with e-learning in our DNA. We’ve served millions and millions of drivers and have the enormity of data from the millions and millions and millions of miles driven to create best-in-class solutions.
We’ve trained ten million consumer drivers and so nobody understands better and adjusts their training better for the reality that, at the end of the day, a human being gets in a car, shuts the door and is wrapped with a complex mix of personality traits, driving history, cultural biases, and stresses related to everything from whatever appointment they are late for to the argument they’ve just had. We understand what can be done to affect that person’s behavior behind the wheel.
We’re also unique in the research we bring to our products and services. We undertook the first large-scale, university-based research studies to validate the predictive accuracy of our RoadRISK assessment tool. We’ve published over 60 research papers, helped our clients win over 70 awards for their safety programs using Virtual Risk Manager, and continue to share our leadership and expertise with the global fleet community through benchmarking conferences, presentations, and publications.
Let’s talk about your insurance solutions product and how that works with fleets.
We have longstanding and very deep relationships with some of the largest global insurance companies, many of whom recommend our products to their clients because they have seen the effect on lives, collisions, costs, etc. With our new telematics product Mentor, we have partnered with FICO® to develop a proprietary driving score that, over time, we envision will be as meaningful as the FICO® credit score is to consumers managing their personal finances. We’re focused on a real driving behavior score that becomes ubiquitous and hopefully, ultimately, is something that is acknowledged by insurance companies as a valid – perhaps the single most valid – predictor of driving risk and, by extension, a meaningful bottom line indicator for individual drivers and for anyone managing risk for fleets of all sizes.
Tell us more about the FICO® Safe Driver Score
We are producing a smartphone-based telematics app that receives, processes, and interprets signals into driving behaviors and produces a score. The score is dynamic, and through our partnership with FICO®, we believe it will become a ubiquitous driving behavior score.
We are working with FICO® to develop a driver safety score from the get-go in partnership with an advisory board of insurance companies, large commercial fleets, and with other key advisors and university partners so that the score becomes meaningful and predictive as quickly as possible and delivers on what many have called the potential of a “FICO-like” score. It will, in fact, be a FICO® score.
Do you believe that insurance companies will base their rates off this FICO® score?
Insurance companies themselves are active across a broad continuum of scoring to help both predict and reduce risk. There are scores now that are currently used in insurance pricing in the U.S. that vary greatly by state and are defined by tight regulation. Ultimately, the industry, the whole ecosystem, will benefit from a score that is tied directly to what a driver actually does behind the wheel and what a driver is willing to do to change behind the wheel. In other words, your score is on you. You can improve it.
While there are numerous companies producing and chasing a ubiquitous score, we believe we have partnered with the one company who knows exactly how to work with insurance companies to deliver fair, meaningful scores and to work with consumers to educate them on how to control those scores. That company is FICO.