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Driver coaching: 4 useful tips for fleet safety

By Julie White January 29, 2024

Traffic accidents, including fatal ones, are on the rise in the United States, making it more urgent than ever for transport companies to take steps to prioritize fleet safety via driver coaching and other initiatives. 

Overall, 42,795 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2022, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.1 The picture doesn’t get any rosier when looking specifically at the transportation industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers in transportation and material moving remain the occupational group with the highest number of on-the-job fatalities, including 1,523 in 2021, up an alarming 18.8% from 2020. In the overall workforce, vehicle crashes are the most frequent type of fatal event, with 1,982 deaths in 2021, up 11.5% over 2020. In fact, transportation incidents caused 38.2 percent of all work-related fatalities in 2021.2

One big reason for that: A typical fleet driver in the U.S. travels 20,000 to 25,000 miles each year, compared with the 12,000 to 15,000 miles logged by non-fleet drivers. Those extra miles raise the collision odds for fleet drivers.3

Here are four ways to focus on fleet safety, including new video-based driver coaching features from Verizon Connect.

Fleet driver coaching from Verizon Connect

The new Verizon Connect video coaching solution is available to all new or existing Integrated Video customers on Reveal and Fleet with dashcams.. The program supports proactive, manager-led driver coaching sessions based on video. Video coaching is fact- and evidence-based, drawing on vehicle video data to facilitate personalized, customized and immediately actionable coaching opportunities with drivers to prioritize fleet safety.

This fleet driver training solution enables fleet managers to quickly identify specific drivers and events to coach, as well as common event types to tackle as part of overall driver coaching initiatives. Managers can mark given video events as coaching needed, coaching not needed, or coaching complete. They also can add coaching notes and view activity logs to support coaching workflows. The data creates lists of summarized events and behaviors by driver and identifies trends over distance driven. 

With the Verizon Connect video coaching solution, fleet managers can:

  • Develop video-based coaching sessions: Events can be viewed in a timely manner while providing safety managers with video evidence and event context.
  • Identify key areas of risky driving: This enables companies to focus fleet safety resources on driver coaching to mitigate risky, repetitive behaviors.
  • Document events for coaching: As they determine which events require coaching, managers can easily assign a coaching action status and provide additional notes for the driver.
  • Create a safe driver culture: With this video data, fleet managers can now take additional proactive measures to mitigate accidents and develop a safe driving culture—rather than reacting to accidents after they occur.

Driver coaching with data

How critical is data to promoting fleet safety? According to the 2024 Fleet Technology Trends Report, companies implementing fleet management software see accident costs reduced by 15%.4

When giving a driver feedback about unsafe or harsh driving behavior, the coaching moment becomes much more impactful if managers can provide data that shows the driver’s actions or inactions. Plus, that data can also show how positive behavior change prioritizes fleet safety and operational efficiency as measured against industry standards.

Such clear data points offer concrete reasoning for the change in driver behavior. A great example: If the monitoring system shows that a driver tends toward hard braking and acceleration, showing evidence of those occurrences is the first step in changing the behavior, especially if they happen frequently. The second step is to share industry-backed evidence of improvements when guidelines are followed—such as how reducing harsh accelerations leads to fuel savings.  

Feedback on driving behavior can be hard to hear sometimes, but it’s difficult to argue with hard data shared during driver coaching sessions. And providing this data often helps drivers understand how their actions affect the big picture in terms of fleet safety and efficiency.

Driver coaching requires clear safety goals, timely intervention and constructive feedback — and should be data-driven. Download our free eBook to find out how to bring all the elements together and transform your fleet’s safety culture. 

Verbal feedback

Person-to-person feedback is a powerful tool for drivers to understand the fleet safety costs of their actions. In-vehicle safety alerts are important, as are regular fleet safety training sessions for the group. But when it comes to driver coaching, one-on-one sessions backed with data can be a highly effective way of changing bad driving habits.

In-vehicle coaching with audio alerts

Real-time feedback can help drivers understand what to modify about their driving. In-vehicle coaching using audio alerts is an immediate way to alert the driver to pedestrians, tailgating and, with the driver-facing camera, a drowsy driver. Verizon Connect’s AI Dashcam can support fleet safety by monitoring the driver and their behavior in real time and triggering instant audio alerts as needed.

Ongoing fleet driver training

Understanding that driver training is not a one-time discussion is paramount to changing behavior. Creating individual programs for a driver to focus on their driving behaviors can work well if managers check in often for improvement or stagnation. Other components of a successful driver coaching program aimed at improving fleet safety include:

  • Fostering a safety-first culture. Regularly reinforce with drivers the true costs of unsafe driving. 
  • Share high-priority safe driving metrics. Which safety metrics are most important to your fleet? Speeding, harsh braking, failure to wear a seatbelt? Focus your driver coaching efforts on those priorities. 
  • Reward good driving behavior. Driver coaching necessarily focuses on correcting dangerous and inefficient driving habits. But offering incentives and recognition to the fleet’s safest drivers will turn them into safety ambassadors and give other drivers meaningful rewards to aim for.

1U.S. Department of Transportation - NHTSA Estimates for 2022 Show Roadway Fatalities Remain Flat After Two Years of Dramatic Increases 

2U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics - National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2022 

3U.S. Department of labor OSHA - Fleet Safety at Abbot

42024 Fleet Technology Trends Report

Julie White

Julie is an experienced product management professional with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry in a variety of customer-facing and technical roles. She is skilled in product management, business analysis, product ownership, enabling sales and customer support management.

Tags: Data & Analytics, Performance & Coaching, Safety, Team Management

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