By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor
Data is a powerful tool. The telematics data from a vehicle can help fleet managers plan routes, monitor fueling, and optimize maintenance schedules. But the latest area in which data is changing the game is arguably the most important: driver safety.
The top priority of every fleet manager is the safety of their drivers. Fleet managers need to monitor driver behavior to reduce the number of vehicle collisions and keep drivers safe.
Companies like CEI offer tools and resources to help fleets ensure the safety of their drivers. With the release of their newest systems, CEI is using telematics data to its fullest potential.
DriverCare Risk Manager Leads the Fleet Industry
CEI is known for its risk management profile tool DriverCare Risk Manager, the first in the fleet industry. DriverCare monitors and analyzes motor vehicle records (MVR), accident history, and telematics data to generate risk profiles for individual drivers.
DriverCare incorporates client-specific policies to trigger automatic remediation activities when a driver’s profile reaches a certain risk level, or specific events occur. In most cases, remediation through issue-specific online training is required.
Now, with the introduction of two new monitoring applications, DriverCare delivers more immediate, detailed, and actionable driver safety performance data. Both DriverCare Connect and DriverCare CoPilot provide increased visibility of risk to fleet managers, and performance data transparency to drivers.
A key feature of these new solutions is that they give drivers the ability to self-monitor and self-manage their driving behaviors before a negative event happens.
DriverCare CoPilot offers fleets a lower-cost solution while still providing them with a traditional telematics program. DriverCare CoPilot does not require hardware installation; it is a mobile app that collects driving behavior data using the sensors in the driver’s smartphone.
By collecting data through the driver’s mobile phone instead of the vehicle, CEI offers customers a solution that can collect data based on each driver rather than the vehicle. This makes it easier for fleet managers to consistently monitor driver behavior regardless of the vehicle the driver is operating.
It also enables them to identify distracted driving behaviors that involve phone use or interaction. Phone distraction is challenging to address due to the lack of visibility, but DriverCare CoPilot offers a solution.
“We’ve seen a 30% reduction in distraction events after just 30 days using the DriverCare CoPilot solution,” says Brian Kinniry, CEI’s Director of Safety and Collision products.
DriverCare Connect is a vehicle-based application that uses telematics data from a vehicle-installed system that collects key metrics and identifies risky behaviors. DriverCare Connect metrics include hard braking, acceleration, speeding, cornering, seatbelt activity, and other potentially dangerous activity.
For fleet managers who are already using telematics solutions to monitor their fleet, DriverCare Connect is a convenient way to integrate a safety solution that reduces the number of collisions among their drivers.
A More Comprehensive Risk Profile
While DriverCare Risk Manager relies on traditional data metrics such as collision history and continuous MVR monitoring, DriverCare Connect and DriverCare CoPilot bring in a whole host of new data to improve risk profiling.
“The data collected from DriverCare Connect and DriverCare CoPilot provides a much more proactive approach than the traditional data elements used for DriverCare Risk Manager,” says Kinniry.
Driver Transparency Encourages Safe Driving
One of the most significant advantages of CEI’s new services is the transparency they provide to drivers concerning their safe driving habits. When using DriverCare CoPilot, drivers receive a performance report after each trip. If the driver is hard braking, speeding, or accelerating, the near real-time feedback encourages self-correction of bad behaviors. With DriverCare Connect, drivers get a daily summary of their trip data for overall trends and individual behaviors, with feedback and training to self-correct.
This data also helps CEI build a more accurate risk profile for their drivers. Behaviors like speeding, hard braking, harsh acceleration, and others are indicative of crash risk, but they are likely not appearing on a driver’s risk profile because most of these events are not ticketed by law enforcement. With DriverCare CoPilot and DriverCare Connect, these behaviors are captured and used to provide a more granular score and evaluate true risk.
Unlike collision events, which can remain on a driver’s record for two or three years, the daily data collected by DriverCare Connect and CoPilot expires much faster, as quickly as 30 days. This refresh allows drivers to realize score improvements with behavior changes and see results for the efforts they make at self-management.
Proactive Risk Management
Instead of waiting for a driver to get into an accident or receive a speeding ticket, DriverCare Connect and DriverCare CoPilot can identify dangerous driving behavior before an incident occurs in the first place.
“The scoring that both DriverCare CoPilot and DriverCare Connect use is more predictive for future collisions,” says Kinniry. “It allows our customers to trigger online training and manager coaching automatically. Whenever a driver’s score in any of those sub-category areas dips into a pre-defined range, some remediation must be done.
“The expanded data provided by the new apps means that drivers will receive more individualized and specific online training based on the data collected during their trip. For example, if a driver has issues with hard braking, DriverCare Connect or DriverCare CoPilot can automatically trigger an online training coaching module specifically for hard braking.
Fleet managers won’t have to wait until the driver gets into a rear-end collision to be alerted to the issue of hard braking and can instead avoid a collision entirely. CEI can also copy in the field manager to provide them with coaching tips on how to help their drivers remediate their behavior and prevent future crashes.”
The Power of Data
With the increasing availability of data through telematics solutions, fleets have to determine how to utilize the new data at their disposal.
Many companies use these driver behavior metrics to help rewrite their policies and make it easier to offer remediation to the drivers who need it. Some companies also work with CEI to coach their team members to improve driver behavior.
Unlike previous risk profiling methods that relied solely on collision events and other incidences, the availability of near-real-time data from DriverCare Connect and DriverCare CoPilot allows field managers to see the good and the bad. CEI coaches many customers to use leaderboards and notifications that regularly examine team performance and recognize excellent driver behavior.
“What we love about these is they give insight into driving behavior all the time,” says Kinniry. “And there are a lot of drivers out there who are doing the right thing and taking safety seriously. It can provide quantifiable proof of the results of an internal safety campaign targeting specific behaviors, using data to prove an ROI for your investments.
The Future of Vehicle Safety Technology
While driver safety will always depend on the driver’s behavior, new technological advances have gone a long way in keeping drivers safe. Connected vehicles can monitor driver behavior and provide drivers with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that help reduce collisions.
ADAS features such as lane assist, lane change, and automatic braking are becoming available in an increasing number of vehicles. With the ability to monitor driver behavior and reinforce safe driving behaviors with ADAS features, fleets can deploy a multi-pronged approach to vehicle safety.
While ADAS features are a powerful tool, many drivers don’t know how to properly utilize them and end up tuning them out. As these technologies continue to evolve, many drivers may be unfamiliar with them when they switch to a new fleet vehicle.
“Our initiative is to continue to reinforce to the drivers the importance of the feedback they’re gathering from these technologies,” says Kinniry. “Rather than becoming overdependent on them, they can utilize vehicle feedback to continue to control and change their behavior.”
Proactive driver safety solutions like DriverCare Connect and DriverCare CoPilot offer companies that are investing in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) a powerful tool to meet their goals. With telematics data at their disposal, fleets can reward safe drivers and incentivize everyone to drive responsibly.