By Ingo Wiegand
Driver safety is always a top priority—but in a tight labor market, a strong safety program is more important than ever for organizations seeking to attract and retain talent. The commercial driver shortage has increased safety concerns, as experienced drivers leave the industry and newer drivers take their place. This shift has brought even more attention to the importance of driver training and coaching.
However, driver coaching is often reactive, happening only after an incident occurs. This is already too late, as drivers are only made aware of risky habits after the fact and not in the moments when it’s most critical. At this point, the damage is done, potentially leading to serious injuries, expensive litigation, increased insurance premiums, and other avoidable costs. Reactive coaching also increases the risk of employee turnover, since drivers can’t identify and change risky behavior in the moment—as a result, drivers may feel disengaged or unmotivated.
Modern organizations are looking for a way to proactively coach drivers on the road in real time through technology—to improve safety, boost driver engagement, and increase retention for the long term. In fact, our recent State of Connected Operations Report revealed that 58% of leaders see technology as a key factor in recruiting and retaining employees. Early adopters of AI technology have also shown how impactful it can be; 95% of organizations we surveyed said that implementing AI and automation technology has led to increased retention.
That’s why Samsara is excited to announce Proactive Driver Coaching. This solution is the evolution of our existing in-cab coaching capabilities, designed to elevate the coaching experience in the cab and empower drivers while they’re on the road.
Bringing AI and coaching technology directly into the cab to help drivers self-correct risky behavior
Samsara’s Proactive Driver Coaching solution takes a preventative approach to driver coaching, elevating the in-cab experience to help drivers build safe habits during the moments that matter—in real time, before an incident occurs.
With In-Cab Nudges™, Mobile Usage Detection, and No Seatbelt Detection now available, Proactive Driver Coaching makes it possible to:
● Prevent incidents before they occur: Preventative AI technology automatically detects risky driving behaviors—such as using a cell phone or not wearing a seatbelt at the start of a trip—and delivers real-time voice coaching to help drivers improve these behaviors on the road. These AI In-Cab Alerts make it possible to shift from a reactive coaching approach after an incident has already occurred to coaching proactively, before an incident occurs. By eliminating a delayed feedback loop, these In-Cab Alerts help drivers immediately identify and self-correct risky behaviors, and avoid near misses during the moments that matter.
● Empower drivers to own their coaching experience in the cab: Immediate coaching is critical to changing behaviors. Drivers may not be aware of an issue (such as an unbuckled seatbelt) or receive feedback on a risky behavior (such as mobile usage) until they are pulled off the road to review event footage with a safety manager. For drivers, this may lead to the development of unsafe habits and a lack of autonomy over their own performance. With new In-Cab Nudges, drivers are alerted to proactively self-correct risky behaviors on their own, in real time, before a safety event is created and uploaded for manager-led coaching (and before Driver Safety Scores are impacted). Distributing the ownership for coaching provides drivers more transparency and control over their own experience, while also giving time back to safety managers for other safety priorities.
● Motivate and incentivize drivers to build safe habits: Drivers want to know what they specifically need to focus on to build safe habits on the road, whether it’s reducing speeding or increasing following distance. Additionally, when drivers do improve, it’s important for managers to recognize them so they don’t feel discouraged, unrecognized, or disengaged. As part of our elevated in-cab experience, drivers can access safety insights directly within the Samsara Driver App, enabling them to compete with peers for potential rewards by building safe habits while on the road. These include Driver Safety Scores—which empower drivers to see their safety score trends over time—and gamification through the Safety Leaderboard. By rewarding safe driving habits and celebrating positive progress, you can proactively recognize driver performance, increase engagement, and boost retention.
Real-world impact of Proactive Driver Coaching
Many Samsara customers are already using Proactive Driver Coaching and have seen firsthand how it empowers their drivers to self-correct risky behaviors in the moments that matter.
For example, Eurovia USA—a global leader in transport infrastructure—relies on Samsara’s AI technology to prevent incidents before they occur and help drivers self-correct a wide range of behaviors, including mobile usage and lack of seatbelt usage. “Before, we could only speculate that unsafe activity inside the cab caused incidents,” said Ruby Dubay, Vice President of EHS and HR at Eurovia USA. “Now, AI Dash Cams give us visibility into the cab and provide our drivers with technology to help them self-correct and prevent incidents before they happen.”
30 days after turning on AI In-Cab Alerts for Mobile Usage Detection, Eurovia USA saw an 80% decrease in mobile usage events. Similarly, four months after turning on AI In-Cab Alerts for No Seatbelt Detection, they saw a 76% decrease in safety events that detected drivers not wearing seatbelts at the start of their trips.
As a result, Samsara enabled Eurovia USA to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive approach, building a world-class fleet safety program that empowers their drivers to take ownership of their coaching experience. “Samsara helped us with being transparent on the why,” said Dubay. “Why is safety so important? It’s about the drivers, first and foremost. The cameras improve our drivers’ safety and wellbeing so they can stay on the road.”
Similarly, Chalk Mountain Services—a leader in oilfield services for customers across the United States—relies on Samsara to empower drivers with real-time feedback.
“There were a few bad habits I didn’t know I had, and Samsara was able to point them out to me so I could fix them,” said Vanessa Veloz, who has been a driver for Chalk Mountain Services for three and a half years. “My priority is safety, and Samsara helps me get home safe to my family.”
Proactive coaching has helped reduce risky behaviors across Chalk Mountain’s fleet, helping lead to an 86% decrease in preventable accident costs and 43% decrease in worker’s compensation costs. Furthermore, safer driving can reduce wear and tear on their vehicles, reducing damage-related repair costs.
As a result, safety has become a competitive advantage for Chalk Mountain Services to retain its top drivers. By building a positive safety culture where they reward, celebrate, and protect their drivers from false claims, Chalk Mountain Services improved driver retention by 15%—cementing their reputation as a place drivers want to work.
“Samsara truly helps our drivers be even better at their job—protecting them and the company at the end of the day,” said David Serach, Director of Safety at Chalk Mountain Services.
Learn more about Proactive Driver Coaching
Ongoing labor shortages and macroeconomic challenges have placed enormous pressure on driver safety and employee retention. Facing uncertain times, it’s even more important to proactively coach drivers and empower them in real time. Investing in the right safety technology today can help you improve safety in the moments that matter and retain drivers for the long term.
All Samsara safety customers now have access to Proactive Driver Coaching. If you’re interested in learning more about how Samsara’s Proactive Driver Coaching solution can empower your drivers, check out our overview.