Trucking Industry

Webinar wisdom: Gain a competitive edge with your fleet safety culture

By: Neil Fisher

On August 12, I had the pleasure of participating in the Spotlight on Safety webinar hosted by Omnitracs. I was joined by my peers in the trucking telematics industries, Manager of Driver Services at Searcy Trucking Rachelle Baker and Senior Business Analyst at Omnitracs Joe Vastine.

With over 20 years of sales- and customer-focused experience and as a current vice president at Drivewyze, I can say firsthand that the partner relationship we have with Omnitracs has mutually served us well and enabled both of our companies to grow. Through our relationship, Omnitracs has been able to utilize our solutions to help customers like Searcy Trucking use enhanced safety telematics to gain a competitive edge.

As Rachelle highlighted in the webinar, Searcy Trucking has been an Omnitracs customer for many years. They utilized Omnitracs Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) and worked with the Omnitracs team to successfully switch over to Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) before the ELD Mandate went into effect last December. In 2019, the Canadian-based company began using Omnitracs Weigh Station Bypass provided by Drivewyze PreClear, which was fully integrated with their Omnitracs ELDs.

I wanted to share a few key takeaways that we gave in the webinar, along with some additional insight I believe is helpful.

Driver agency is a game-changer

Searcy Trucking has installed a model of open communication so that drivers can communicate anytime, anywhere if they feel they need to end their trip for any reason — giving them agency to stop a journey to avoid adverse driving conditions, to recover from fatigue, or take a mental health day.

The idea that a driver can stop their trip for personal reasons might seem counterproductive, but consider this: Harvard Business Review recently conducted a meta-analysis on empowering leaders and the effect this form of leadership had on subordinates. They concluded that these leaders were far more trusted by their subordinates than other, traditional managers — a significant and unique benefit in our industry, which is grappling with rampant driver turnover.

To implement this strategy in your company, you’ll first want to make sure you’re hiring qualified and reputable drivers. With a thorough and vetted hiring process, you can bring on drivers who are trustworthy, safe, and professional while also offering them an incentive that caters to their safety and wellbeing.

The cost unsafe driving has on your business

Without a safety strategy that encompasses both advanced solutions and modern communication models, companies can see:

  1.  20-30% increases in insurance costs
  2.  Poor public perception and a loss of customers as a result
  3.  Over $148,000 in legal fees

As Joe touched on in the webinar, Omnitracs has been looking at driver industry trends to inform the company’s technology trends. Safety-focused technology is a significant part of this model. Omnitracs can look at acquired data over time to continue advancing the solutions that drivers are using. While this may seem large-scale, it is a compelling company vision to maintain when it comes to building, evolving, and deploying technology solutions — particularly safety solutions. Without an evolutionary-intensive mentality, businesses are vulnerable to outdated safety solutions and communication models that leave drivers vulnerable to risky driving.

The right telematics solutions are your final ingredients for lasting safety success

With these numbers in mind, investing in the right safety solutions for your business can significantly help you protect drivers and assets. Turning to Searcy Trucking for a moment, we can see how they did just that.

During the pandemic, many rest areas and weigh stations have been closed. With Searcy Trucking already utilizing our weigh station bypass solution, they were able to provide an additional layer of safety to their drivers amid the pandemic. With their drivers bypassing multiple weigh stations, they not only stayed on the road, saving time and improving ROI, but they also avoided unnecessary interaction with other drivers and employees at a time when human-to-human contact should be kept at a minimum. Also, they were able to avoid dangerous lane changes, long weigh-station lines, and sticky traffic merges.

When considering what safety solutions are right for your business, real-time notifications should be top of mind. These alerts can help drivers safely and efficiently find designated parking spots at night. This is especially imperative at a time when many parking stations are closed. You can also utilize the right solutions to track critical events and provide drivers with alerts in near real-time. An additional way these alerts help drivers is in instances when a driver may be zoned out and not paying attention to crucial highway signs, which can happen to even the most seasoned drivers. Those real-time notifications can break habitual monotony and help keep drivers proactive, so they’re not met with low bridges or closed roads.

I encourage you to tune in to the full webinar, which you can find here, to learn about how Searcy Trucking achieved lasting success. You can also read more about how our solutions helped Searcy Trucking gain the competitive edge — and how you could replicate those results — in this article from American Trucker.