This year, Art Liggio, president and CEO of Driving Dynamics, was inducted into the Automotive Fleet Hall of Fame. A life-long vocation spanning three decades, his passion for reducing driver injuries and saving lives has been at the center of his fleet safety career, but that’s not where his story began.
By Janice Sutton, Editor in Chief
If Art Liggio had told his younger self that someday he would head a highly respected fleet driver safety company and be honored for his decades of contributions to the fleet industry, he probably would have been amused and quickly rejected the notion.
Born into a devout Catholic family, in Yonkers, NY, Art was called to join the priesthood and entered the seminary. But over the years, his passion for music grew. He graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in sacred music. At the time it looked like a career as a composer lay ahead. Again his life took an unexpected sharp turn.
Liggio had worked as director of liturgical music for the Archdiocese of New York City while he was completing his studies. But the expense of living in the big city prompted him to take a second job as a part-time salesperson. This turned out to be a choice that would set his life on a new course. He was promoted to national sales director at that same company a few years later. With growing success and excitement for his new profession, a career in the church was now in the rear-view mirror.
A subsequent number of professional moves led him to found and then sell two insurance agencies. That landed Liggio at the global insurance industry giant Zurich, in 1987. There, he was eventually tasked to head and turn around an ailing operations and sales center.
Instead of improving profitability by cutting staff and costs, he chose another route: offering the customer base greater value through a suite of driver safety services. The aim was to decrease crash rates for its commercial auto insurance fleet accounts—a move that not only proved to be a smart one but the turning point of his career. In eighteen months the office, ranked 25 out of 26, moved up to the second most profitable center in the nation. Through that experience, he would forever recognize the positive return on investment of implementing successful safety programs.
With his new-found calling, Art joined The CEI Group in 2000 as its first-ever director of risk and insurance. The company, dedicated to accident management, was looking to diversify into risk and safety. While at CEI he led the creation of a web-based driver risk management platform and was instrumental in developing a first-of-its-kind standardized motor vehicle records grading system. The system was such an impressive accomplishment, it was covered in the New York Times.
It wasn’t long before Driving Dynamics’ founders Bill Buff and Paul Hubbard recognized Liggio’s potential as a leader and successor and recruited him to the company. They saw in Art someone who could be entrusted to maintain the mission and integrity of the business and to grow it for years to come. In 2008, Liggio became the company’s first vice president, then president; with the retirement of Buff and Hubbard, Art took over as managing owner in 2016
Throughout his time at Driving Dynamics he’s transformed the company into a fleet safety powerhouse. His tenure has been marked by significant product line growth and expansion into new and broader market segments. It now offers services to a variety of industries and drivers who operate passenger cars through heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles. Driving Dynamics has been named one of the country’s top-20 safety training companies every year since 2017 under Art’s leadership — and the only one in the fleet industry.
He is committed to assuring that the company remains at the forefront of addressing the needs of fleet-based organizations to respond to today’s driver safety challenges: provide comprehensive end-to-end safety performance solutions and prepare drivers to adapt to new vehicle technologies.
In recent years Liggio has updated the company’s flagship behind-the-wheel training, enhanced its award-winning e-learning catalog, and introduced a suite of behavioral coaching programs, a smartphone-based driver safety telematics application, and an online risk assessment service. He recognized that, as our nation faced a CDL driver shortage, having a well-established provider like Driving Dynamics source and properly train truck drivers would be another way to positively impact the fleet industry, which he made possible with the acquisition of Center for Transportation Safety in 2017.
This year, Liggio faced one of his biggest challenges; helping customers navigate driver safety amidst a pandemic. With a country-wide lockdown, unforeseen safety risks, and an uptick in crashes, he and his team moved quickly to ease the minds of customers and drivers. Liggio initiated the transition of the company’s flagship course to include a virtual classroom training session that would continue the necessary training. Driving Dynamics delivered interactive virtual sessions to thousands of drivers within three months.
This fleet safety pioneer and recent Automotive Fleet Hall of Fame inductee had a helping hand in some of the industry’s most notable achievements. Art has earned his position as a thought leader, being called on to consult with industry professionals. He is an active member of NAFA Fleet Management Association, serving as chairman of the Associates Committee (2018-2020). He has presented at conferences across the nation and has authored numerous articles sharing his expertise on risk management and driver safety.
This inspiring story of serendipity and self-transformation that began decades ago is marked by a commitment to ensuring that drivers are always prepared to maintain their safety behind the wheel and businesses are supported in administering their fleet safety programs. Through his passion for saving lives, he has made noteworthy strides in prioritizing safety and improving our nation’s roadways.