Published in CCJ Digital | May 4, 2021
Fact #1: Vast amounts of actionable data are available to trucking companies and more is compiled all the time and from all over the place. It comes especially through telematics, but also from ELDs, dashboard cams and TMS components, even outside sources like from the company's own insurers, motor vehicle records, VIN databases or federal safety collections.
Fact #2: Today's transportation industry is placing an ever-stronger emphasis on safety. Companies prioritize and make investments into ways to improve training, avert nuclear verdicts, mitigate risks and manage insurance premiums.
Let's bring these two facts together by suggesting that data can and should be used to address all these safety concerns.
Ideally, one platform is pulling data from the various disparate sources and compiling it into some easy-to-use mechanism like a driver scorecard. Otherwise, your teams will be stitching together data points inefficiently, working with inconsistent formats/outputs and trying to make predictions and correlations that are much harder without a comprehensive, unified approach. (This is the sort of issue digitization is meant to correct!)
Assuming you have a system like this in place or are moving toward it, let's take a look at how data can help make you safer. The key is leveraging and analyzing the data to pinpoint potential risks, and then respond to those risks with concrete actions to reduce the risk levels.
Data can be applied before and after accidents happen. It often takes the course of extra training for at-risk drivers.
Post-accident training would obviously be based on whatever incident has occurred. The sooner the training happens after the accident, the better. Reinforcement or remediation of certain material can help prevent the inciting behavior and thus further accidents. It can also be offered to insurers as good faith proof of efforts to mitigate future risk.
Proper review and follow-up is essential to make sure the offending behavior is being controlled by the driver. Compliant drivers - ones who observe the rules, and correct behaviors when they do start to develop bad habits - are safer drivers. But the good news is, we've seen a quoted figure that such post-accident training reduces the driver behavior in question by up to 80% over the following year and a half.*
Pre-accident training is tied to any areas toward which your predictive data is indicating. It could drop incident rates by as much as 30%. Examining the data will expose training opportunities up and down your organization.
For instance, is a driver lately recording more incidents of hard braking? Or is excessive speed up across the entire fleet? These points will help target your potential communications and training. Again, the process is much more manageable if you have a system in place to handle such workflows - say, identifying behaviors at a certain threshold, matching with appropriate training modules, alerts and follow-ups - at least semi-automatically.
You may also link accident prevention intelligence to specific routes. Data can tell you everything from what time of day on a particular road is the safest or what section of a route experiences higher accident rates - the data can get surprisingly granular. Drivers can be notified accordingly, whether that is done manually through a dispatcher or via an automated workflow.
The results make these efforts well worth your time and energy: better training, more prepared drivers, fewer accidents, less chance of nuclear verdicts, reduced risk and improved relations with insurers along with hopefully lower (or at least more stable) premiums. Thank you, data!
Now that we've demonstrated how data can energize your safety program, let's go a step further. A unified system with united data can aid in virtually every goal of your business... such as the quest for compliance.
Let's say the DOT pays a visit to you in Kansas City to perform an audit. However, your filing cabinets containing compliance paperwork are all in Dallas. They don't do you much good there. This sort of scenario is on the decline, but it does still exist! A uniform approach to digitized data is an obvious upgrade to the copious challenges you would be facing here.
Even if you've gone all digital with the files, what happens if you have 50 locations nationwide and each location is a 'silo' that keeps its information separate and unintegrated?
Well, you will still have many and severe problems with gathering, collating and presenting all the data. The right system will funnel all the relevant data into one vantage point and present it in an easily digestible format.
Putting a system like this in place will help streamline and improve everything from troubleshooting in-the-minute operational issues to determining long-term strategy. Executives need to see how the data from all locations fits together to get a cohesive, overall view of the business. This real-time, bird's-eye view of your corporate situation enables an efficient vehicle to achieving control and visibility into all aspects of the organization.
Your data is what you make of it. A thoughtful and thorough approach to data management, usage and analysis ensures it will point the way forward to success in each area of your business.