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Driver Scorecards Improve Safety and Reduce Operational Costs

By Brad Penneau July 10, 2020

If you collected baseball cards as a kid (or maybe still do), the most distinctive attribute of that baseball card after the picture on the front is the statistical data on the back. Presented neatly in rows and columns, even a person with a limited knowledge of baseball could look at that compilation of data and make a judgment about what type of baseball player is featured on each card. A driver scorecard works in much the same way: in just a glance, the fleet manager reviewing it is able to come to a quantifiable conclusion about what type of driver each person is and what actions may be taken to improve certain behaviors.

What is a driver safety scorecard?

The driver scorecard presents key information specific to driver behavior in a clear and understandable way via a dashboard view. Driver performance factors monitored and reported by the driver scorecard can include driving behavior such as mileage, after hours mileage, hard braking, hard acceleration, excessive speeding, speeding vs. posted speed limit, idling and seat belt utilization. Statistics automatically calculated based on these factors — similar to batting average in our baseball analogy — include violations per 100 miles and an overall safety score that can rank individual drivers throughout the organization.

How does a driver scorecard work?

The data points collected through a moniritng system are documented based on pre-set parameters or can be configured/weighted to meet the demands of each individual customer.

Pre-set key metrics include driving before 6 AM or after 9 PM local time to determine after-hours usage, speeds greater than 80 MPH to identify excessive speeding, and speed rates 10 percent greater than the posted speed limit to determine speeding vs. posted speed limit. Each individual user is capable of weighting certain behaviors over others, or altering the predetermined threshold to determine a “violation”.

This driver behavior data gives your customer actionable information to work into driver coaching and safety management programs. Fleets that use the data in this way have shown immediate and substantial reductions in alerts pertaining to key safety factors, as well as reductions in accidents, unsafe driving violations and complaints from the public. This coaching is a great preventative measure: the first time a driver gets in an accident or gets a moving violation is likely not actually the first time they have exhibited a high risk driving behavior. Identifying and curbing that behavior now will ensure driver safety and reduce the likelihood of incidents happening in the future.

Benefits of truck driver scorecards

As such, as more companies implement these telematics technologies as a safety tool, it's important to recognize the cost savings benefits that correlate to safety and the specific driver behaviors identified by driver scorecard programs. Operating a vehicle in a safe manner will ultimately give you more MPG than if you speed or are regularly experiencing harsh acceleration and braking. Safe operation also minimizes wear and tear and can lead to a longer life for the vehicle. Driving safe reduces accidents, which reduces vehicle repair and replacement costs, workers compensation, and possibly lowers insurance premiums. It's important to note that many commercial vehicle insurers are incorporating telematics-based information into their programs and offering discounts and incentives related to driver safety. A few safety-specific stats to consider:

  • According to the US EPA, smart driving such as gentle acceleration and braking can improve fuel economy by up to 33% and save more than $1 per gallon.
  • Increasing speeds by five to eight miles per hour increases fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.
  • Every year, an estimated 20 percent of all fleet vehicles are involved in accidents according to the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA).

Inherently, people take pride in their work. We've found that drivers presented with data pertaining to their driving habits and coached on how to curtail those behaviors will make those adjustments and will do so immediately. This ultimately makes your customers' employees and assets safer, and ensures that both are ready for work the next day — while improving the bottom line along the way.

Brad Penneau

With a career in transportation safety spanning 30 years, Penneau’s experience includes progressively responsible safety, regulatory compliance, and training in (and in support of) the trucking industry.

Tags: Cost control, Customer Service, Dispatching & Scheduling, Field management, Productivity & Efficiency, Revenue & ROI, Routing, Safety, Vehicle & asset security, Vehicle Maintenance

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