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Blog November 2022

6 Takeaways from AMCS and NWRA Webinar on Digital Ways to improve Driver Safety and Satisfaction

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Conor Dowd

AMCS Global Head of Marketing

Improving driver safety and reducing driver churn remain twin perennial challenges for fleet managers in the waste and recycling sector so is it possible to leverage advances in technology to ensure safer and satisfied drivers?

Published sectoral data shows that it costs up to $12,000 to search and hire for a replacement driver and this is compounded by 50 percent of safety incidents involving those with three years or less on the job.

These statistics make it imperative to keep your drivers both safe and happy, to retain their services and improve organizational safety. 

In a recent webinar, Tech Talk: Digital Ways to Improve Driver Safety and Job Satisfaction hosted by the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and sponsored by the AMCS Group, Kirk Sander, chief of staff and vice president of safety and standards at NWRA, Geoff Aardsma, VP of Professional Services for AMCS , and Matt Monroe, Director of Routing Solutions at AMCS, engaged in a lively discussion about how technology can be deployed to keep drivers safe while maximizing driver satisfaction and retention.

1. Empower drivers to focus on safety, service and avoid distractions

Recent generations of vehicle technology required drivers to manage service and safety data on tablet devices and for many this represented both a burden and distraction.

However, as Monroe explained, the latest vehicle and driver technologies are passive and automated  in that they do not require active interaction from the driver, and therefore do not represent a distraction to safety. 

These passive technology solutions include:

  • Telematics solutions that track key safety and service metrics such as fuel usage, driving behavior, and route compliance. This data is sent automatically by the telematics device and is always on and requires no driver interaction. 

  • Camera based vehicle solutions that can automatically record safety and service events (blocked access, overfilled containers, non-presented containers and contaminated recyclables) without any need for driver intervention.

“Sometimes drivers don’t understand that their driving behavior is bad,” explains Monroe. “It’s not about ‘Big Brother;’ it’s about allowing drivers to see this data and use that proactive counseling to improve their actions such as speeding and harsh braking or accelerating. The reality is you can’t manage what you can’t see, so it’s important to use technologies as effective tools and provide ongoing training to keep your drivers engaged, informed and safe on the job.”

2. On-Board novice drivers safely with speed and ease

As referenced earlier, 50 percent of safety incidents involve those with three years or less on the job. It is therefore critical to consider technologies such as driver guided navigation tools that will instruct a driver of the safest, most efficient routes to avoid hazards and provide advance warning of potential risks.  These solutions can include voice instructions in multiple languages so the driver is fully focused on the road and aware of any possible driving hazards. It also ensures that drivers follow the optimum route reducing pressure and frustration of additional unnecessary miles resulting from driver error or missed lifts.

3. Digitize driver paperwork to reduce burdensome form filling

Digitizing driver paperwork for daily inspections for Safety and DOT inspections is essential.

Paper and manual recording of inspections can lead to errors, gaps, and delays in communication between drivers and fleet managers. Often fleet managers may take days to review inspection forms and to act. Instead, mobile inspection apps will allow drivers to complete fast and accurate inspections that can be uploaded in real time into the fleet maintenance solution.

This digitization ensures that drivers can have more confidence in a fleet maintenance service which is responsive to any defects and issues that they flag, thus increasing both driver safety and satisfaction. 

4. Automate best practice preventive and predictive maintenance

While daily routine vehicles inspections for safety and DOT compliance are mandatory, it is possible to automate both preventive and proactive maintenance. Daily driver digitized inspections combined with real-time telematics data can provide an accurate picture of the performance and safety of the vehicle. This data combined with a modern fleet maintenance solution can ensure that you get your vehicles into your repair shop at the optimal time. Again, this automation will increase vehicle safety and boost driver satisfaction. 

5. Ensure driver routes are both optimized for both efficiency and safety

Advanced route optimization and planning tools allow haulers to use algorithms to embed best safety practices into the design of routes. This can take into consideration risks and hazards around traffic congestion periods (avoiding schools etc.), turns and maneuvers such as reversing and navigating cul-de-sacs. It can also implement best practices based on side of service collection and type of service (e.g., side of street, front, and rear loaders etc.).

“When implementing technologies into your operations, it’s important to ensure they are aligned with your business goals such as boosting safety performance and reducing emissions,” says Aardsma. “It’s also important to ensure they don’t conflict with your incentive programs like productivity bonuses because you could then be taking opportunities away from drivers and pushing them out the door. Your drivers should have a clear understanding of the safety benefits these changes will bring them as they can sometimes think the technologies are being put into place to act as ‘Big Brother’ and provide too much transparency.”

6. Play it safe with an automated health and safety management system

Implementing a fleet safety policy is a challenge without an automated safety management system in place. It is important to have an automated system of record to maintain all safety policy, assessments, instructions, training records, audits, ISO certifications and all safety related documentation. A modern solution integrates all the participants including drivers, fleet managers and safety professionals. It means that all the details on risk, safeguards and qualifications are available at a click of a mouse.

In summary, these advanced technologies can help increase drivers’ safety and productivity as well as improve truck uptime, customer service, compliance with ordinances and policies and more. These operational milestones can then be used by companies to recognize drivers’ accomplishments and pitfalls, allowing them to become better drivers and have a greater sense of pride in their work.

Interested in learning more about AMCS solutions designed to improve driver safety and satisfaction, then please click below:

 Click here to watch a recording of the webinar. 

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