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Identifying and acting on truck driver risk factors – BEFORE the crash

October 12, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

How one truck company is using a program to prevent truck accidents by analyzing truckers’ weak driving spots

I tend to write about trucking companies that break safety rules, that cause otherwise preventable truck accidents, and that hurt and kill people – often in their efforts to make more money by circumventing safety.

But it is just as important from time to time to stress that there are also some very good trucking companies out there that play by the rules, and even take things a step further in trying to prevent trucking crashes and improve safety performance.

I read an article about C.R. England, a refrigerated trucking company that’s using a program that identifies and predicts accident risk factors in its truck drivers and then works to correct them. The program is called the “Fleet Safety Model” and it’s by FleetRisk Advisors.

The computerized system uses analytics to predict which truck drivers are most likely to have an accident during the next month, according to an article on Fleetowner.com, The value of seeing and acting on driver risk factors. The firm customizes the safety model for each trucking company by drawing from a variety of data sources, including operations, human resources and safety. The model analyzes predictors such as change in length of haul and hard braking, as well as empty miles, time idling and days since the trucker’s last vacation.

And by analyzing the types of accidents that must be prevented, the risk factors and the highest-risk drivers, the model predicts the future performance of drivers.

You might wonder how the company uses this data to actually prevent accidents. Simply by communicating with the truck drivers — before they cause an accident.

When the company gets scores on its drivers every 28 days, safety officers will either speak in person or by phone with the 10 percent of their highest risk truckers. These conversations then reveal what’s on the driver’s mind that could be a performance distraction. From there, safety officers give a “Recommended Action Plan” tailored for the individual driver.

Here’s how the model has worked for C.R. England:

  • It has attained a 32% reduction in frequency of truck accidents;
  • An 81% reduction in severity of accidents;
  • A 17% reduction in driver turnover,
  • And a 24% increase in productivity.

It seems with this predictive model — intervention rather than reaction after a crash — is truly the way to prevent truck accidents.

Kudos to C.R. England for being one of the good guys.

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