Ed Dubens, Founder/CEO, eDriving, on Achieving a Crash-Free Fleet, LATAM

Originally published in Global Fleet 2/9/2021

Paying attention to driver safety has always been a key factor of being a good fleet manager and employee safety is even more crucial now in face of the lingering pandemic.

At the helm of supporting drivers and fleet managers alike with this challenge is eDriving, an innovative multinational company based out of New Jersey with a patented driver risk management program.

Last week, I had the pleasure to speak with the company’s founder and CEO Ed Dubens about the challenges we face in fleet today such as creating a safe and crash-free culture.

From what I understand, eDriving supports over a million drivers in 96 countries. Could you give me an idea of the company’s footprint in Latin America? 

Dubens: eDriving actually supports a global enterprise client base with operations in over 100 countries. We cover all of Latin America, from Mexico in the North to Argentina and Chile in the South, and more. Most of the employees we support in Latin America are work drivers involved in Selling, Home or Office Service or Distribution & Delivery.

We have a fantastic regional Customer Success Director, Estrella Bonales, based in Mexico who ensures our Global Customer Success Teams are meeting the objectives of our clients in the region.

In terms of driver and fleet safety, how is Latin America different from other regions of the world? 

Dubens: Regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving or riding, Enterprise Driver Safety across Latin America, and indeed the world, has two primary causation factors to focus on – cognitive distraction and fatigue.

It is well known that 94% of crashes are caused by some kind of driver/rider error, but when you look behind the actual event into the “causation contributors”, cognitive distraction in particular is the biggest challenge facing Fleet, EHS, Risk and Operations Managers today.

When you combine a distracted driver or rider with fatigue, especially when factoring in the added impacts on all our lives brought on by the pandemic, you have a dangerous mix to manage!

Other challenges that give me concern across Latin America is the high death toll of motorcyclists and pedestrians as well as the sadly common global issues involving speeding, drinking while driving/riding, and low levels of seatbelt and crash helmet usage. This is a lot of work for all involved in making our roads safer.

Firefighters work on the rescue of victims of a car accident in São Paulo city. (photo source: Shutterstock)  During pre COVID pandemic times when traffic was heavier on roads, annual deaths from traffic crashes in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) topped 100,000.

What three tips do you have for fleet managers seeking to achieve a crash-free fleet?

1. “What interests the boss, fascinates employees!”
This is a favorite eDriving saying, and it simply means that whatever the boss is focused on and considers a high priority is what their employees will consider important as well.

Do employees want to know that their safety is priority? Of course they do! Do they want to hear how committed everyone in the company is – including leadership – to making sure they make it back home safely every day? Of course they do!

2. Training & Reinforcement
eDriving’s research confirms what cognitive studies have shown that training (whether virtual or in-person) can only do so much to changing high-risk behavior behind the wheel.

Ongoing reinforcement of low-risk behaviors and risk management objectives (via both formal and informal coaching interventions) are critical to helping drivers develop new habits that will keep them safe while driving for work purposes.

3. Know your High-Risk Drivers
Typically, 20% of our clients’ drivers account for 80% of the organization’s risk, thus insurance and liability costs. You need to know who these people are.

Could you tell me about a case study on a multinational company, highlighting how eDriving has helped improve driver safety? 

Dubens: With a goal of predictive driver safety, we were able to reduce the collisions per million miles (CPMM) for the North American team of chemicals company Ecolab in 2019. By coaching 10,500 drivers in the USA and Canada, the company experienced a 10% CPMM drop year-over-year to 2.57 from 2.85, and went on to see a further 20% drop in 2020. These were the company’s largest reductions since 2014.

According to our case study, drivers that received timely coaching were two times less likely to experience a collision within the next two months.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted safe driving procedures, and what can fleet managers do to be fully prepared in 2021? 
Dubens: Fleet/EHS/Risk Managers need to think about:

  • Personal/vehicle hygiene and sanitization best practices
  • Advice on off-limits locations and staying safe during rest breaks
  • Social distancing, customer interactions and unsafe working spaces
  • The importance of defensive driving
  • Avoiding distractions behind the wheel
  • Prioritizing well-being

On our website, you will see this and much more material regarding driver safety during the pandemic. These multi-lingual materials are available atno cost to all organizations across the world.