Originally published in Fleet Management Weekly 07/06/23
By Sarah Bechtold, SVP Global Driver Risk Management, eDriving
In the pursuit of safer driving behaviors, the acceleration and sustainability of mindset changes among drivers take center stage. At eDriving, our unwavering focus is to ensure that every driver returns home safely at the end of each day. Achieving this mission requires a fundamental shift in how drivers perceive their actions on the road and the impact they have on themselves and others.
Three critical factors play a pivotal role in expediting and maintaining this mindset shift: effective communication, the power of incentives over penalties, and fostering active engagement.
When it comes to driver safety, communication cannot be overemphasized. The success of any culture change initiative hinges on robust and meaningful communication channels. Involving drivers in the process and providing them with a clear understanding of the rationale behind program changes is paramount. Sharing industry trends, company-specific insights, and tangible examples that demonstrate the program’s impact helps drivers grasp the significance of their active participation. It’s essential to translate costs and consequences into relatable contexts that resonate with drivers, enabling them to truly comprehend the tangible effects of their actions on both the company’s bottom line and the well-being of individuals on the road.
Transparency serves as the bedrock of implementing new programs or making modifications to existing ones. Clearly articulating the purpose, components, and expectations of the program cultivates understanding and trust among drivers. Establishing open channels for drivers to ask questions and organizing live Q&A sessions foster engagement and active involvement. The key is to ensure that drivers feel heard and valued as essential stakeholders in the journey toward safer roads.
To drive sustainable mindset changes, we must adopt a carrot versus stick approach. Driver safety programs should never be punitive or solely focused on catching drivers in the act. Instead, the emphasis should be on continuous improvement and learning. By creating avenues for drivers to share experiences, best practices, and near misses, we tap into the power of peer-to-peer messaging, which carries more weight than top-down directives.
Recognizing and rewarding desired behaviors serves as a potent reinforcement mechanism. Contests that promote engagement and continuous improvement, along with long-term internal reward systems or integration with existing bonus programs, can help solidify positive changes.
Engagement stands as the heart of expediting mindset changes. Leading by example and active participation from organizational leaders inspire and motivate drivers to get involved. Encouraging participation across all levels of the organization demonstrates a collective commitment to safety and ensures that the program is not perceived as targeting a specific group. Consistent management of program requirements from the outset, incorporating opportunities for friendly competition among drivers, and facilitating manager-led coaching sessions all contribute to fostering a culture of engagement and accountability.
At eDriving, we have developed Mentor, an innovative smartphone app-based telematics program designed to identify and rectify risky driving behaviors. By offering micro-trainings, coaching, rewards, gamification features, and a dedicated support team, Mentor assists clients in reducing collisions, injuries, license violations, carbon emissions, and the overall cost of vehicle ownership. Incorporating the principles of effective communication, prioritizing incentives, and fostering active engagement, Mentor has proven to be a powerful tool in accelerating and sustaining driver mindset changes, ultimately contributing to safer driving behaviors.
By prioritizing these factors and leveraging Mentor, organizations can achieve remarkable outcomes. Analysis* has shown that Mentor can produce up to 89% reduction in risky driving behaviors and up to a 67% reduction in collisions. Moreover, organizations can expect a significant return on investment ranging from 14 to 20 times the program’s cost. These statistics underscore the effectiveness of Mentor in promoting safer driving habits and its potential to transform the safety landscape of our roads.
In conclusion, instilling a new mindset among drivers is a critical component in promoting safer driving behaviors. By cultivating effective communication, emphasizing incentives, and fostering active engagement with the help of Mentor, organizations can drive positive and lasting changes in driver behavior. Together, we can pave the way for safer roads and a brighter future for all.
*Analysis conducted in spring 2022 commensurate with 3.5 billion Mentor miles driven. As of 6/1/23, Mentor miles driven totaled over 5.8 billion.