Coaching Drivers Towards Low-Risk Behaviors

Originally published in Fleet Management Weekly 9/2/2020

By Jim Noble, Senior Vice President of Risk Engineering, eDriving

eDriving’s research confirms what other cognitive studies have shown – namely, that traditional training, whether virtual or in-person, can only do so much to change high-risk behavior behind the wheel.

Does this mean coaching is ineffective? Absolutely not. Especially when using training that is geared toward the modern adult learning styles. However, too many organizations use mobile-based training as their only behavior change tool. Personal performance guidance has been found to be the best method of reinforcing the ongoing low-risk behavior message while helping drivers develop new habits that will keep them safe while driving for work purposes.

Personal coaching conducted at the front lines is the key to reinforcing the culture-based driver safety message. Front line managers are best suited to understand the daily safety performance challenges each driver faces.

Providing managers with coaching tools and templates helps them to hold coaching conversations with the most “at-risk” drivers. These drivers can be identified through a combination of drivers’ on-road performance data, as well as incident, collision, risk assessment, license checking and other telematics data. Once a driver is identified as “high risk”, coaching invitations can be generated for the driver and their manager to meet – virtually or in-person. Some risk management programs enable this whole process to be automated.

At eDriving, we recommend a combination of coaching tools, fully automated and integrated with our Mentor by eDrivingSM and Virtual Risk Manager® platforms, to help reduce driver risk.

First, we recommend an annual one-to-one session to set expectations and reinforce accountability for adopting a crash-free, injury-free, license violation-free approach to driving for work purposes. Designed to be conducted annually, the primary objective is to reinforce the employer’s safety objectives, as well as the manager’s desire to keep their drivers safe at all times – after all, “what interests the boss, fascinates and engages the employees!” Give this review the same priority you give the employees’ overall performance review.

Second, we recommend post-collision coaching within 14 days of a driver being involved in a crash. Taking the form of a questionnaire, this type of coaching helps a manager lead a discussion with their driver to review what happened, why it happened and most importantly, what the driver could do differently to make sure it never happens again!

Finally, for at-risk drivers, we recommend holding improvement reviews monthly or until risk level has been reduced. These sessions do not have be more than 5 to 15 minutes. In these short sessions, we encourage the manager and high-risk driver to take a holistic approach by using all of the driver on-road performance data captured (i.e., through a behavior-based telematics program), privacy rules permitting, to guide the discussion. By staying up to date with driver risk profiles, the manager can even have a passing conversation as the driver prepares to leave in the morning or in today’s environment, on the phone.

At eDriving, we’ve proven time and again the importance of managers leading their drivers to safety based on an understanding that 94% of crashes are caused by human error stemming from the attitude and behavior of the driver behind the wheel. Using a targeted coaching approach as part of a wider crash-free culture® and comprehensive driver risk management program helps managers to create ‘Aha’ moments for their drivers, as well as a shared commitment to sustainable and consistent behavior change.

About eDriving
eDriving helps organizations to reduce collisions, injuries, license violations and total cost of fleet ownership through a patented driver risk management program.

Mentor by eDrivingSM is a smartphone-based solution that collects and analyzes driver behaviors most predictive of crash risk and helps remediate risky behavior by providing engaging, interactive micro-training modules delivered directly to the driver in the smartphone app. As part of a broader risk management platform, Virtual Risk Manager® (VRM), eDriving provides organizations with everything they need to establish safety as a strategic imperative, and support drivers and managers as they strive to create a crash-free culture®.

eDriving’s programs include a Manager Toolbox, fully automated and integrated in MentorSM and VRM, which contains three primary coaching templates: OneToOne®, Post-Collision Coaching and Driver Improvement Review.

eDriving is the driver risk management partner of choice for many of the world’s largest organizations, supporting over 1,000,000 drivers in 96 countries. Over the past 24 years, eDriving’s research-validated programs have been recognized with over 90 awards around the world.