Originally published in Fleet Management Weekly 2/1/23
By Ed Dubens, CEO/Founder, eDriving
A smartphone-based driver safety and risk management program – are you serious?
The last 4+ years that our digital driver risk management program, Mentor by eDrivingsm, has been live with our customers globally, have been some of the most exciting and terrifying of my entire career. Once clients had processed what we had been quietly working on since 2016, shock and concern turned to interest, and interest turned to some of the best collision reduction numbers we have ever seen with the brave few prepared to pilot Mentor in early 2018!
According to the most recent analysis of Mentor in the Spring of 2022, we can reduce unsafe behaviors by risky drivers by up to 89% over 18 months! Not bad for a program designed around turning smartphones from the culprit to the cure for risky behaviors.
As the Founder of eDriving, it is truly inspiring to reflect on the journey our company has taken over the past 25+ years from our origins in Huddersfield, UK to now over 130 eDriving employees (our “Wizards”) working hard to keep employees safe while driving for work purposes in over 100 countries across the world.
Our work in Quality Management sparked a passion for addressing the cultural issues around driver safety when asked by a client to look at the opportunities for change in training approach we saw following a serious collision. This led to the creation of the world’s first defensive driving CD-ROM designed to reinforce best practice with drivers and coaching opportunities with managers. Collaborations at the time with organizations like the British Armed Forces, Zurich Risk Engineering, and the Institute of Advanced Motorists changed our world and led directly to the approach we call “Creating a Crash Free Culture”!
Through validation studies with several universities, we discovered the importance of a data-led, proactive approach to driver safety and risk management. So, by the time Mentor was born, we recognized the significance of both a worldwide score that managers could use to drive progress and the power of clients being able to benchmark every driver or groups of drivers all around the world against one another! This focus led us to the arms of the FICO Analytics and Scores Team to develop the groundbreaking FICO® Safe Driving Score that would help provide insight into a driver’s risky behaviors behind-the-wheel.
The power of a global score that cannot be customized at the client level ensures ALL eDriving clients, fleet management and insurance partners benefit from our ongoing validation and improvement studies. For example, our Spring 2022 3.5-billion-mile analysis also found that over a six-month period, those initially categorized as Very High Risk or High Risk experienced up to a 51% increase in their composite FICO Safe Driving Score, moving them into the Medium Risk category. Over a longer period of 18 months, those initially categorized as Very High Risk or High Risk experienced an even greater average increase in their FICO Safe Driving Score of up to 70%, moving them into the Low-Risk category, confirming a sustained improvement in driver behavior when using the Mentor program over a longer period.
Individual Mentor clients’ success mirrors that seen in eDriving’s 3.5B miles analysis. For example, Ecolab, one of the earliest adopters of Mentor, has reported an incredible 35% reduction in collisions per million miles (CPPM) across their global program as of 2022 – a testament to what’s possible when clients make the safety of their employees while driving for work a strategic imperative and use Mentor’s toolbox of eLearning, coaching, and gamification to remediate, manage, and change risky driving behavior.
Recently, we have started to expand Mentor’s capabilities by inviting business partners who can add additional value to our client’s mission to join our journey. First, to help protect our client’s employees while driving, we partnered with industry leaders Sfara & Bosch to add automatic collision detection, Personal SOS and Emergency Response Services to Mentor’s ecosystem in over 50 countries. Sfara’s incredible technology is also being used to support enhanced claims management processes that can reduce a client’s total claims cost. Further, to support our passion for sustainability and help our clients quantify how their Driver Safety and Risk Management Programs are also good for the planet and their ESG objectives, we partnered with Greater Than in Sweden to develop Mentor’s enhanced EcoDrive metrics and feedback that will help drivers and fleets reduce their carbon footprint by up to 20%.
Our next Mentor chapter is about employees who drive to and from work, but NOT for work, and family members who have access to fleet vehicles. Smartphone technology continues to push forward modern driver safety analytics, and I cannot wait to see what we will be doing a year or two from now. Taking a moment to reflect on the work we do, how we got here, and the millions of lives we have influenced globally is humbling! As I look to the future, of one thing I am certain: we will remain committed to driver safety and sustainability through innovation and collaboration. Best wishes to the eDriving Wizards who make all this possible, valued partners, and incredible customers globally for a safe, happy, and successful 2023.