Originally published in IndustryWired 6/4/2020
Delivering a Driver Risk Management Program to Improve Safety on Roads
eDrivingSM 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 drivers 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®.
As the driver risk management partner of choice for many of the world’s largest organizations, eDriving supports over 1,000,000 drivers in 96 countries. Over the past 24 years, the company’s research-validated programs have been recognized with over 90 awards around the world.
Ensuring Road Safety for Everyone
eDriving began in 1996 as Interactive Driving Systems with a handful of employees – many of them in their first jobs – working from a small office in Huddersfield, United Kingdom.
The company’s primary focus was on helping organizations on the journey to successful ISO9000 registration. Yet, during the early days of working with two of the largest logistics providers in Europe, eDriving was asked to look at some of the cultural issues surrounding the safety management of their professional drivers. This work resulted in the creation of the world’s first defensive driving CD-ROM: Interactive Defensive Driving, with the principal aim of reinforcing on-road driver training programs.
Further, it led eDriving into safe driving projects with the British Armed Forces (UK Land Command), Zurich Risk Engineering and the Institute of Advanced Motorists. The company’s commitment to road safety was further influenced by working with the UK Government in 1997 on the introduction of a CD-ROM to help learning drivers succeed with the new UK Government Driving Theory Test.
An intensive research program with universities in the UK and overseas concluded that a data-led “pro-active” strategy was the solution to the successful management of driver safety, rather than reacting to an event after it had taken place. This knowledge led to the development of eDriving’s Virtual Risk Manager® (VRM) program, which now helps organizations around the world to manage fleet driver risk.
eDriving’s expansion into the United States, and the relocation of Founder/CEO Ed Dubens from the UK to Cape May, New Jersey, resulted directly from the company’s partnership with Zurich Risk Engineering, and their desire to establish an office in the U.S. to support their growing presence in the global motor insurance marketplace.
Remaining true to its roots, today eDriving has a UK HQ in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire as well as a U.S. HQ in Cape May, and a team of almost 100 employees based across five countries including Australia and China. Additionally, the company’s Global Customer Success Network provides support to approximately 1.2 million drivers throughout nearly 100 countries.
The dynamic leadership team consists of world-class talent in driver risk management, safety, insurance, telematics and engineering. With the newest appointment, Chris Boyd, eDriving’s Chief Product and Technology, spent the previous 10 years working in product and technology leadership roles at Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
An Instrumental Leadership
Ed Dubens joined the eDriving executive team in March 2016, with the company’s acquisition of Interactive Driving Systems. A pioneer in the development of telematics-based safety solutions, Ed is leading eDriving in synthesizing and commercializing innovative ways to help corporations large and small take advantage of cutting-edge technology, as well as continuing to grow eDriving’s presence in global safety markets.
As Founder and CEO of Interactive Driving Systems, Ed led his team at the forefront of research and innovation in the field of road safety and culture change strategies. Ultimately, the company’s tireless efforts led to the creation of its flagship product, Virtual Risk Manager.
Under Ed’s leadership, VRM to date has trained over a million fleet drivers, earned over 90 awards, and enjoyed the privilege of supporting some of the world’s most successful businesses, including Ecolab, BT, Nestlé, Zurich, Cummins, Pfizer, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, Merck & MSD, Transport for London, Novartis, ASDA (Wal-Mart), AON, Iron Mountain, McCain, Royal Mail, and many more.
As a veteran of the fleet risk management industry for over 20 years, Ed has helped transform the way companies proactively manage risk and prioritize the safety of their employees on a daily basis. His passionate advocacy and leadership efforts have been instrumental in initiating and maintaining collaborative industry benchmarking initiatives.
It’s Ed’s passion for customer success which ensures that they are looked after 24/7 and his commitment to identify new ways to improve the company’s services that have seen some of the biggest household names remain loyal to eDriving since its inception. Names like Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Pfizer, BT and Royal Mail are long-standing clients, many of whom have won multiple industry safety awards in recognition of their risk management programs supported by eDriving.
Reducing Traffic Collisions Through Smartphone Telematics
Every year, roughly 1.3 million people die in traffic collisions worldwide – an average of 3,287 deaths per day. Millions more suffer life-changing injuries. Roughly one in four of all collisions involves someone who is driving for work total annual cost to employers of U.S. collisions alone is estimated at US$47.4 billion in direct crash-related expenses including medical care, liability, lost productivity and property damage.
Researchers have identified that driver attitudes and behaviors contribute to 94% of crashes. Added to this, dependency on smartphones is increasing, with Ofcom research showing that people check their phones every 12 minutes. While it’s not always possible to determine whether a crash involved distraction, studies suggest that it is involved in a significant proportion of collisions. One study carried out in South Australia concluded that almost a third of fatal and injury crashes involved driver inattention and distraction.
eDriving’s mission is to help organizations reduce collisions, injuries, license violations and total cost of fleet ownership through its patented risk reduction program. And, after helping companies around the world successfully reduce collisions via the VRM program, yet witnessing a global increase in road traffic crashes and growing industry concerns around risky driving behaviors (particularly distraction), eDriving decided to turn the smartphone from culprit to cure. Recognizing the fact that the way people learn today has changed (research by Bersin by Deloitte tells us that the modern learner is overwhelmed, distracted and impatient), and that smartphone telematics can provide fleet operators with even greater insights into driver behavior than previously possible, eDriving has placed the smartphone at the forefront of its evolved risk management solution.
Mentor by eDrivingSM uses telematic sensors available in iOS and Android smartphones to collect and analyze data on the driving behaviors most predictive of risk. These include Acceleration, Braking, Cornering, Speeding, and crucially, Phone Distraction. Thanks to eDriving’s partnership with industry analytics leader FICO®, driver on-road performance is converted into an individual FICO® Safe Driving Score, which has been validated as being able to predict the likelihood of future crash involvement.
Mentor not only identifies risky driving behavior but helps remediate it via in-app micro-training modules that help drivers practice making decisions in “real-life” scenarios.
Mentor also incorporates in-app First Notice of Loss (FNOL) application that allows a driver to submit collision information and photos directly through Mentor to Fleet and Accident Management partners as well as Insurers to minimize “total claims cost”.
Recently launched (January 2020) is Mentor TSP (Telematics Service Partner) that enables organizations with an existing in-vehicle telematics solution to incorporate Mentor to provide one unique risk management approach. This means that data collected through hard-wired telematics devices including idling, seat belt use, fuel efficiency, and reversing can be enhanced with Mentor’s behavioral insights to gives fleet operators a more comprehensive view of driver risk.
For added engagement, Mentor incorporates gamification features such as “Circles” that enable users to set up groups in which they can see fellow members’ progress and send motivational icons/ messages to each other. This also creates a useful informal messaging tool for managers, helping to ensure safety remains part of every day conversation.
eDriving’s programs are delivering measurable success to its clients:
Ecolab, a company with 49,000+ employees that serves customers in 170+ locations, initially launched a pilot of VRM and Mentor in three regions, incorporating 500+ drivers. The program saw a statistically significant CPMM (Collisions Per Million Miles) reduction of 30% versus an increase in the non-pilot region, and was followed by a rollout to 12,000 drivers across the US and Canada, where it has the most drivers and sees the greatest risk. In 2020, Ecolab is focusing on global expansion.
eDriving’s first customer in the world to commit to the Virtual Risk Manager platform was BT (British Telecom), who went on to launch one of Europe’s biggest driver risk reduction programs. Even today the internationally recognized program involves over 60,000 drivers.
In the early 2000s, collisions and other road incidents (e.g., thefts) cost £25 million in direct losses and 3-4x more in indirect costs.
In business terms, it took approximately 600,000 product sales to cover the annual cost of fleet claims.
13 years later, BT had halved their collision rate and cut costs by approximately £12M per year.
GSK’s India Pharma division accounted for, on average, 841 of 2,170 lost days per year (39%) due to vehicle incidents. GSK piloted VRM in the West Region of India; in the first year there were zero injury-related vehicle incidents among 500 participants. The country-wide launch saw a 40% reduction in lost-time injuries from road crashes.
Over 14 years of using VRM, Nestlé cut its claims frequency by more than half and reduced its average claim cost per vehicle by 76%.
Enabling Crash-Free Culture® by Innovative Solutions
eDriving’s point of difference is that the company doesn’t just provide a telematics solution, license checking, or driver training. Instead, it incorporates the very best elements from driver safety, telematics, license checking, driver monitoring and collision reporting data, together with the very latest smartphone technology, micro-learning and behavior change management techniques to help organizations see a total risk picture across their organization and actively guide and improve driver behavior, to help prevent collisions and incidents from happening in the first place.
eDriving partners with fleet clients to help them create a crash-free culture® that supports lasting behavioral change and results in a reduction in crashes, injuries, license violations and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The company helps fleets to build road safety management into their organizations’ DNA with the ultimate aim of having all employees who drive for work purposes return home to their loved ones and communities at the end of each day.
eDriving carefully selects partners to enhance its offering, notably its partnership with analytics leader FICO®, that has enabled it to incorporate a FICO® Safe Driving Score into its Mentor program, validated to predict a driver’s likelihood of crash involvement. Not only does this enable drivers and managers to view their progress over time, and compare it at team, organization and industry levels, but it has the potential to transform the industry as a standard measure of driver risk.
As well as managing driver safety, one of the most critical concerns for fleet operators is data security and driver privacy; and these factors have always been integral to everything eDriving does as an organization. For this reason, eDriving is proud to hold ISO 27001, an internationally recognized standard that defines best practices for an information security management system. The company first achieved the standard in 2014 and received re-certification in 2019, demonstrating that it continues to have a robust and comprehensive information security management system that meets the highest standards for protecting client information. ISO 27001 reinforces eDriving’s commitment to protecting its clients and their information in accordance with international standards, benchmarking its policies and procedures against international best practice. It also assures clients of its commitment and investment in technology and company procedures to ensure a secure and reliable operating environment for users globally.
Navigating Pragmatic Challenges
All companies that operate on a global scale, with a global workforce, face challenges in balancing human capital and realistic timelines.
However, eDriving’s Centers of Excellence model and virtual workforce enable it to seamlessly operate across multiple time zones, recruiting new team members based on excellence, performance and suitability for the role, regardless of where they are in the world. With employees across the globe – including the UK, across the whole of the United States, South America, Australia and China, the company places a huge focus on equipping and empowering team members to use their own skill sets every day, ensuring they have access to the necessary information and the confidence to make quick decisions in order for the company to remain innovative and move as quickly as possible to keep up with its own growth, and that of its clients.
eDriving is sensitive to cultural differences and issues, and passionate about being inclusive, recognizing global holidays and celebrations, and rising to the challenges associated with a global team, utilizing technology and striving to build a company culture in which everyone feels included and valued.
Global Honours and Client Feedback
Since its inception, eDriving and its clients have received over 90 industry awards, including the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, the European Transport Safety Council PRAISE Award and a NAFA Fleet Management Award. Most recently, in 2019, eDriving was presented with a Gold International Business Award®, a Gold People’s Choice Stevie® Award and a Silver American Business Award®.
Also last year, the company won Fleet Safety Product Award at Brake, the road safety charity’s Australasian Fleet Safety Awards, was named a Top Ten Risk Management Solution Provider by Insurance CIO Outlook and one of the 30 Fastest Growing Companies to Watch by CIO Bulletin. Already this year it has been named Most Innovative Fleet Risk Management Specialists 2020 in Corporate Vision’s 2020 Corporate Excellence Awards.
Over the years eDriving has received overwhelming praise from clients, including:
“This programme will enable us to enhance our overall awareness, learn more about safe driving practices, keep these important conversations going and ultimately help protect ourselves and our families.” – Annaswamy Vaidheesh, GSK Vice President, South Asia & Managing Director
“The team at eDriving and IAM have been very supportive of our road safety programs, through the online system, face-to-face training modules and their industry leadership initiatives such as benchmarking, communications, bespoke data analysis and tailoring the program to our specific London-based risks.” – Ted Sakyi, TFL Fleet Manager
“A conventional approach to defensive driver training is unrealistic for the number of drivers we employ. We needed something that could filter those drivers assessed as being at high risk. We can then look at the identified areas of weakness and tailor courses. Virtual Risk Manager® offers us a cost-effective solution to driver assessment, rather than the usual generic approach of on-road training.” – Dave Wallington, BT Group Safety Advisor
Mentor Driver app reviews:
“Amazing concept – investing in real opportunity – changing risky driving behaviors. Not an easy task.”
“Love the ability to look at other drivers on our group as creates a great environment for us to challenge each other. Initially, my score would not go up despite me thinking I was a good driver. Thanks to the coaching tailored to my needs I have become truly a better driver! My recommendation to new users is to be patient and don’t zero in on specific trips but look at your overall trend and improvements.”
“I didn’t realize how much I unnecessarily relied on my phone while driving. Now that I have this app, my phone is mounted on my dashboard to ensure accurate scoring. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve reached for it, only to remember it will affect my score. Now I focus more on what is going on in the roadways, not my social media, text messages, etc. Highly recommended, especially for new drivers. Safe driving tips provided on a semi-weekly basis. My whole office uses it, and we all compete for the highest score.”
“This app will make some feel uncomfortable and push them to improve when they are convinced, they are a good driver. I can say this because I was in the same boat but Mentor was able to identify my risky behavior and show me where I need to improve. We all have good and bad days, but Mentor has helped me to improve and I can say I am a safer driver today than six months ago. Don’t complain just give it time and if you improve so will your score…. if you resist change then yes you will be identified as risky.”
Making the Future of Mobility Safer
As transportation progresses even further into a hybrid period in which human-operated and autonomous cars co-exist, and in which at-work mobility is evolving to incorporate ‘on-demand’ travel options such as ride-hailing, bicycling, car-sharing and more, the environment for at-work drivers is set to change beyond recognition.
To keep up with the challenges drivers are facing, the companies providing fleet safety products must continually evolve, utilizing new technologies yet remaining focused on the mission to help ensure at-work drivers make it home safely every day. eDriving’s approach remains the same as it did back in the 1990s; by improving the attitudes and behaviors of drivers in order to avoid incidents from happening, the world can become a safer place to drive. It is the mission to help all fleets – and all drivers – understand this concept that inspires eDriving team members every day to continue doing what they love in order to make a difference to lives around the world.