With driver turnover rates at an all-time high in recent years, keeping drivers engaged can be one of the biggest challenges for fleet and operations managers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of driver turnover can be up to $20,000 per driver.
From training and hiring to less-obvious costs like low morale, disengaged drivers can have several adverse effects on your fleet. But what if there was a strategy to increase driver engagement and fleet safety at the same time? That’s exactly what Tom Roberts, Director of Operations for Markstein Sales Company did for his fleet of over 50 trucks that distributes Anheuser-Busch InBev beers across Northern California.
After a few expensive accidents, Markstein installed Samsara’s dash cams to help exonerate drivers and improve overall safety. But, what Roberts didn’t realize is that the cameras would actually introduce a unique way to boost company morale, too.
Beyond coaching and exoneration, Roberts—along with Markstein’s Delivery Manager, Tony Bergantz—also use dash cam footage to highlight good driving behavior during their weekly meetings, which they say has helped motivate drivers and keep them engaged.
Since he started using dash cam footage this way, Roberts has seen virtually no driver turnover on his team. He said it has helped create a newfound culture of safety. Now, Roberts said, "Drivers call to tell me about harsh events before I even get an alert, hoping that I’ll see how they avoided an accident and choose to show their video to the rest of the drivers."
How to use dash cams to boost driver engagement
1. Find defensive driving footage in your Samsara Safety Inbox
Roberts and Bergantz sit down every Monday to look through the footage in their Safety Inbox —a streamlined dashboard for reviewing incidents. During this time, they identify defensive driving footage to show to their drivers during their weekly meetings. Some things they specifically look out for in the Inbox are harsh turns and harsh braking, which can lead to accidents when the vehicle is not maneuvered properly.
But the goal for Roberts here is not to focus on the negative, instead, he aims to highlight footage where his drivers did something right. “We try to highlight when drivers made good turns or used smart strategies while making deliveries because if you set yourself up to be successful you won’t get in an accident,” explained Roberts.
2. Showcase the footage to elevate drivers during team meetings
On Cinco de Mayo—one of the busiest days of the year for beer deliveries—one of Roberts’ drivers was pulling up to a stoplight when a car pulled out right in front of him. Fortunately, the Markstein driver was able to move out of the way to avoid a collision, which was all captured on the truck’s HD \Samsara dash cam\. After Roberts shared the video with a police officer, the officer noted that without the driver’s quick response, Markstein could have been involved in a million-dollar lawsuit.
Roberts showed off this footage to his team to commend the driver’s actions. By highlighting footage of other similar incidents and holding discussions with his drivers, Roberts creates an environment for them to celebrate each others’ accomplishments and to teach them ways to be safer on the road.
Roberts also encourages individual drivers to share tips and techniques with the group in order to make each driver feel more included. One week, a driver explained how he positions his truck while he’s pulling into a customer account so that it’s angled for an easy backup after the delivery is complete. Strategies such as this one don’t necessarily trigger harsh events that land in the Safety Inbox, but Roberts can easily pull the footage using Samsara’s Proximity Search and video retrieval features to show to his team and celebrate the driver.
3. Integrate safety into your culture by rewarding safe behaviors
In order to keep drivers motivated week after week, Roberts and his management team have integrated this system with their existing driver rewards program. Now, if drivers have their footage shown, Roberts rewards them with a new jacket or an ice chest.
“We didn’t implement dash cams to surveil or try to fire our drivers,” explained Roberts. “We want to see the great things they’re doing and highlight their great driving skills.”
Thanks to his ingenuity, Roberts has been able to get his drivers excited about dash cams and safe driving practices. “Drivers are more alert at our 4 am meetings because of the footage we have to review. They even cheer and holler,” Roberts said. Despite their initial hesitancy around dash cams, Roberts quickly observed his drivers talking to each other about the benefits of dash cams, saying, “Hey, Tom got me off the hook with the video footage because I did nothing wrong.”
By integrating safety into Markstein’s everyday culture, Roberts has been able to practically eliminate driver turnover and save Markstein hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in safety and turnover costs. But most importantly, Roberts has a team of happy, safe drivers out on the road who are proud to drive for Markstein and work for a fleet that creates an engaging environment for drivers.
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