Dupré Logistics achieves a reduction in crashes and an increase in fuel savings with GreenRoad driver management technology
Jun 1, 2011 12:00 PM, By Rick Weber
Within a few months, Dupré had decided to test the product with a pilot project in which GreenRoad was put on 16 tractors and one company car. After 90 days, the company decided that it would utilize the technology on 425 units. It has been fully implemented since July 2010, with impressive results, according to Al Lacombe, director of safety for Dupré.
LaCombe discussed the GreenRoad system in detail during the National Tank Truck Carriers Tank Truck Safety & Security Council Annual Seminar April 5-7 in Austin, Texas. Dondi Dismer with GreenRoad also participated in the discussion.
“Overall crashes have come down. The big four crashes — rollovers, lane changes, rear end, and intersections — have been greatly reduced.”
He said the company feels GreenRoad was a key reason why Dupré received notable recognition for its safety achievements in 2010: the American Trucking Associations (ATA) President's Trophy Award for the category of 25 million to 100 million miles.
“It's no magic dust,” he said. “No magic bullet. Just a tool. It's not for everybody.”
The GreenRoad system features a two-inch device on the dashboard that starts the day with a green light. That light gives the driver internal feedback by turning yellow if he brakes hard, swerves, or turns recklessly. It stays yellow with continued erratic driving. It turns red if the driving gets worse.
Driving performance is measured by a small black box mounted on the dashboard with an LED bulb that's connected to a sensor using algorithms to detect more than 120 subtle or severe changes in driving style. A performance report is wirelessly beamed to a website that can be accessed by the driver and the fleet manager.
Lacombe said every safety manager should ask these questions:
How do I reliably identify risk before a collision occurs?
How do I manage my risk and driver improvements?
How do I measure my level of success?
How do I help ensure we are using our “safety time” efficiently?
How do I objectively measure driver skills and improvement? Do these drivers have habits? Following too closely?
He said he likes GreenRoad because it allows him to “virtually” ride along on every trip every day and rate the safety of the trip. Each trip is assigned a red (high risk), yellow (moderate risk), and green (safe) rating based on the frequency of undesirable events. It provides feedback on the safety of each driver, with drivers also designated as red, yellow, or green based on their driving history. Drivers are scored on the number of “events” per 10 hours of driving. The system objectively identifies specific areas of improvement by the driver: acceleration, braking, cornering, lane changing, and speed.
Dondi Dismer said GreenRoad is significant because it changes the way driver safety is addressed. Traditional controls feature a reactive approach with after-the-fact analysis, crash reviews, citations, and complaints. Proactive controls, such as GreenRoad, can immediately address the root cause.
“Tens of thousands of driving errors made on a daily basis are through reinforcement of bad habits because he hasn't had a crash for a while, or a citation,” he said. “A lot of traditional safety measures are crash reviews and going over citations, but those are all after the fact. Your general safety meetings are broad stroke and don't allow a specific conversation with a driver about a specific behavior.”
A driver in the green range triggers 20 or fewer unsafe maneuvers per 10 hours of driving; yellow comes from 21 to 50; and red results from 51 or more unsafe maneuvers.
During the pilot program, Dupré had 52% yellow, 44% green, and 4% red. Now, 99% of the driver reports are green. The company has gone from 23 unsafe maneuvers per 10 hours to just five.
“We noticed one driver had a checkered pattern where she would drive green and then yellow or red, green and then yellow or red,” Dismer said. “I had a suspicion that when (her tank trailer) is empty, she's driving significantly more aggressively than when it's loaded with gasoline.' A manager went out with her and said, ‘Just drive like you normally do.’ They left the terminal and they were driving like Miss Daisy. And then coming back, it was a totally different driver. So he had a conversation with the driver: ‘I want you to drive like you're full all the time, because when you hit a Ford Fiesta with a tanker, it's not going to matter a whole lot to the Ford Fiesta driver whether you're empty or loaded. He's still going to take a pasting.' We messaged the people who are hauling sensitive cargo: ‘If you drive like you're always driving that cargo, you'll be safer.’”
Said Lacombe, “From a behavior standpoint in our company, we would sit and visit with the driver. We wouldn't jump out and penalize. We would look for an opportunity for training or learning and see if this could be recorded as a near miss. That allows us to go back into the terminal and say, ‘This might be a problem area,’ and create awareness for everybody.”
Lacombe said having the GreenRoad system also creates a beneficial dynamic in court.
“All of our companies have to sit on witness stands,” he said. “I've been told by people, ‘All that technology will put you in a bad situation on the witness stand if and when a crash occurs.’ Based on my 29 years in Dupré, it's a whole lot easier to sit on the witness stand and look at those 12 (jurors) or judge and say, ‘Yes, we had a crash. I've got a man who made a mistake. We hit a car. God forbid, somebody's hurt. But we're trying with all our effort and everything we have in our culture to do the right thing with technology.’”
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