Distracted driving thought leadership articles for commercial fleets
Last year, we became members of Women In Trucking Association (WIT), a nonprofit association that encourages the employment of women in the trucking industry and promotes their accomplishments. 17% of WIT are actually men who support its mission. In a recent WIT newsletter, we spotted an exciting announcement, winner of the First Annual Female Driver of the Year award. The winner is much admired Susie De Ridder, a company driver for Armour Transportation Systems in New Brunswick, Canada.
The improvement of telematics has come a long way since it was first introduced in the 1990's. As technology evolved over the years, telematics solutions were able to collect more data and report that data faster at decreasing costs. Today, telematics solutions collect a wealth of vehicle data and, with the addition of video recording, can somewhat detect the behavior of the driver for review. At best, these telematics solutions replicate having a virtual blindfolded passenger along for the ride to observe the behavior of the driver to increase safety and minimize the risk of accidents. But does a blindfolded passenger make you a safer driver?
The impact of COVID-19 is yet to be accessed fully, but it is fairly clear that the insurance industry is facing mounting losses in the short term and an uncertain recovery in the long term. Commercial Lines are expected to be hit the hardest. Property, Liability, Workers Compensation and Marine coverages may face somewhere between $30 and $80 billion in claims according to Willis Towers Watson and will see significant market shrinkage post-pandemic. The two months of the lockdown delivered a devastating blow to the US economy. With 39 million Americans forced out of jobs, the commercial insurance market is bound to shrink beyond the levels seen following the Great Recession of 2008.
Earlier this year, I read an article in the local newspaper about an oil company truck that was transporting hazardous material. It overturned and spilled gasoline and diesel fuel onto the roadway close to Titicus Reservoir in North Salem, NY. It piqued my attention since it happened in my neck of the woods. Although the crash happened a year ago, the article was about the cleanup that’s still going on today. Most of the 1,200 gallons wound up on land. The soil under the roadway got soaked, causing environmental troubles.
We are living in extraordinary times. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyday tasks that we used to take for granted (like going to the grocery store) into a major obstacle. Many people have turned to online shopping with delivery or curbside pickup, to avoid standing in line at the entrance of stores, or the need to wear masks and gloves while visiting them, at risk of infections.
"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." This quote by George Addair seems to be highly relevant in today's environment. This is indeed a powerful time to be alive. Change is here, and each one of us has the power to make it a good one, bringing about new freedom coupled with a sense of responsibility. Our power is in what we can sense, how we can boost our immune systems, stay positive, proactive, and productive. We all have that power! Over the last several weeks, we have been brainstorming how we can do something positive and meaningful, stay productive, and serve others. Staying focused and determined is probably the best we can do under the circumstances. Our focus remains the same: Save lives by preventing crashes and micro-train drivers while keeping them safe at all times. We are here to increase the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of the operations that power our economy. The new challenge is how we can help drivers and passengers stay healthy. Recently we have had calls with our clients presenting additional functionality to keep their drivers safe and healthy. These functions include helping with operational as well as health safety aspects of the businesses we deal with. The goal is to help drivers, passengers, and trainers by offering the following: Provide drivers easy access to automated tools to evaluate symptoms and perceived changes in their health as they go; inform them and the manager early and help manage necessary plan changes Provide managers and trainers tools to observe trainees in action remotely, using live camera feeds and predictive risk evaluation in real-time Provide drivers and managers tools to verify compliance to safety regulations, e.g., the correct amount of face masks, increasingly required at destination ports The Need to Keep our Drivers Safe Grows More and More Crucial Last year we wrote a blog “Training Inexperienced Drivers: The Answer to the Truck Driver Shortage?” about the shortage of drivers and how newer technology is leveraging AI and utilizing onboard video analysis for real-time coaching of the driver as well as contextual driver behavior analytics. We quoted that there are two significant areas of impact from this shortage are our economy and road safety. About 71% of all freight tonnage moved in the US is done by trucks. We take for granted that we can go to the store and buy anything we need. A lack of drivers could result in out-of-stock items on the grocery shelves. As the current drivers start to retire, there will be an influx of newer, younger, and less experienced drivers resulting in a higher risk of accidents. Adapting to a New Normal Companies are adapting to this new normal that we find ourselves in these days. With more cars on the road, coupled with an increase of new, inexperienced drivers, insurance companies will see an influx of claims that will need to be processed efficiently and quickly. LOGISTICS & TRANSPORTATION The logistics and transportation industries are going through deep metamorphosis. There is a greater need for drivers in this strange age of social distancing and sheltering ourselves. More and more people will request goods to be delivered at home. More people will resort to driving their cars rather than using mass transportation and traffic will become heavy again. If anything, all the problems we want to prevent may become even more amplified. There is help on the way to cope with the increased demand for home delivery and meet the need for safety on our roads at the same time. Driver micro-coaching Real-time warning Health checks for drivers and passengers Live driver training for certification At the 2018 NETS Strength IN Numbers® Benchmark Conference, driver safety was the discussion, and how telematics data is being used to promote and coach safe driving behaviors. Telematics is also being used for health and safety in various ways, such as monitoring and in-depth analysis to ensure safe driving. As a fleet owner, you can practice reactive fleet safety or address it proactively. A solid investment in proactive safety tools will save not only money in the long run but will help to keep the driver safe at all times. "Recognizing the human element in road safety is essential. Telematics is an effective strategy for proactive management. But collecting telematics data alone isn't enough. Taking informed action is also necessary for improving driver and fleet safety." - Sherry Calkins, VP Strategic Partners, Geotab We couldn't agree more – proactive real-time coaching and warning of drivers are key to safe driving. Geotab discusses how telematics tools are critical in managing productivity and asset utilization. In an economic downturn, decisions need to be made quicker. In uncertain times, telematics will continue to support businesses in areas of asset utilization, business integration, and safety. INSURANCE Insurance companies have been looking for digital enablers, and now that need will amplify. As in every crisis, necessity is the mother of invention, and lots of insurtech innovations will stem from this. Digital is a necessity, as insurers are losing customers. Commercial insurance is still going strong, and with the increase in deliveries, companies will look for the most efficient and differentiating offers. No doubt there is a more prominent need for digitalization. Many challenges for insurance companies have come to light today. One big challenge is, of course, how to handle the increase of claims and decrease of clients. We see lots of pressure on auto insurers to embrace smart digital solutions to address the efficiency and satisfaction requirements of their commercial fleet clients. The insurance industry has become more relevant than ever. With so many insurtechs around, some will have an influential impact on that transformation. AI, real-time information processing, and advanced analytics are all on the roadmap to truly intelligent solutions. Digital information management with connected vehicles brings in one key element: the opportunity for insurance to be much closer to their customers, have a better understanding of their habits and needs and be in a position to offer many value-added services that the older scheme did not make possible. For example, advanced warnings about possible risk conditions, faster claims processing, preventive vehicle maintenance, and suggestions of special offers associated with observed preferences of their customers. Customer retention will be improved and no longer be dependent on the infrequent interaction with a local agent. Conclusion Through this blog, we'd like to send a positive message: let's be deeply grateful for what we have and appreciate each day as an opportunity to make a difference. We are not powerless in the face of this crisis. We can activate our energy into everything we are doing. Today there is a profound sense of change and togetherness. Each one of us is a master of their domain. If each of us takes action, the results will be astounding and positive. We see opportunities stemming from the changes we are experiencing. Action and positive energy will propel us forward. Hopefully, this blog will help as a positive call for action to release the best of what we have to offer. We are deeply grateful to serve all of you to help you stay safe on the roads, and we are actively thinking of how to do it better. Let's stay strong and hopeful! Let's stay focused together! Please let us know how we could help. Interested in learning how Walter can assist with distracted or inattentive drivers with real-time interactive attention alerts? Click on the link below to download our brochure.
How do you feel after driving hundreds of miles on a rural highway, or navigating for hours through congested city traffic? In either scenario, the ability of humans to stay constantly attentive for long periods is problematic. This is where technology that provides augmented attention for safer driving should be considered. Today, humans are better than machines at providing the ability to make decisions quickly and maneuver even in complex situations. Machines are less capable of handling difficult situations but are better at keeping constant attention also in boring conditions. The best of both worlds is a system where the human driver takes care of difficult situations, and the machine handles the repetitive and boring ones. But the machine needs to verify that the driver is available, attentive, and informed when it needs to transfer control - and this transfer needs to happen quickly and seamlessly.
The costs of workers’ compensation (WC) insurance and claims continue to rise for commercial fleets. According to the NCCI Research Brief, “Motor Vehicle Accidents in Workers Compensation,” from 2011 to 2016, the frequency of WC claims from motor vehicle accidents increased, while the rate of all WC claims decreased. The rise of motor vehicle accidents may be attributed to the adoption of the smartphone in 2010 that has led to distracted driving. Ironically, to reverse this trend, mobile technology can be used to reduce the increasing costs of WC claims.
Rob Galbraith gave our company the best present for Christmas 2019: his book, "The End of Insurance as We Know It." Inside, he wrote an inspiring message "To Małgorzata, Best wishes on your tremendous efforts to shape the future of insurance and bring about a safer world." Roberto received the same hand-written message in his book, of course. Roberto and I teamed up to discuss Rob's book and how new technology is transforming the insurance industry.
Over the past ten years, “nuclear verdicts” have dramatically increased in frequency, which has affected the rising costs of commercial insurance premiums and threatened the existence of fleet companies. The challenge with predicting if your fleet is sustainable to a crash of this magnitude is the uncertainty of how these verdicts are determined. Often the amount awarded is not proportional to the actual damages.