Every day, thousands of drivers are operating Fluid Truck vehicles across the US to deliver goods, operate their business, or simply move across town. Out on the road, these drivers face everything from road hazards causing dents and dings to accidents that impact a driver’s ability to get their work done in the safest and most efficient manner.
On average there are 6 million car accidents each year in the US causing injuries (27%), property damage (72%), and even death (6%). Of the over 300,000 fatal accidents that occur annually, more than half could have been prevented by safer driving (with 33% are due to reckless driving and 30% due to speeding).
To tackle this challenge, Fluid Truck has used a behavioral approach in product development to see how we could improve driver safety through influencing behavioral changes with the goal of reducing accidents, maintenance, and insurance claims.
Our first step was to narrow our focus to the areas where we had control (e.g, we do not have the ability to influence other drivers). We focused specifically on the actions of how the driver operates the vehicle- ignition, turning, braking, acceleration, idling, etc. and how these actions contribute to unsafe driving incidents.
We know that over acceleration and speeding is the top cause of accidents, and hard turning and braking could constitute reckless driving. Our hypothesis was that within these key areas of acceleration, speeding, turning, and braking, informing drivers of their actions in a recent and transparent manner along with incentives to drive safely, would change driving behavior.
Each Fluid Truck contains proprietary hardware that enables remote access to the vehicle, allowing our vehicles to be booked 24/7/365 without standing in line at a rental counter. Along with access control, we can understand data about the vehicle and how it is being operated in real-time. Our team explored this data and created an algorithm that tracks when certain events happen, along with the level of the event, and combines the information into a value or score.
We then surfaced the score within the Fluid Truck application, which updates in real-time and shows past performance, and highlights areas of concern and their location and time to each driver and their manager if applicable. Now at the end of each day, a driver knows how well they’ve driven with their Fluid Safe Driver Score along with what events contributed to the score.
In addition to providing the Fluid Safe Driver Score, for those that opt-in, we show drivers’ ranks based on the score at a local and national level to reiterate the importance of the safe driving score and facilitate competition between drivers on the platform.
We observed other programs with negative penalties for unsafe driving behaviors which affect prices and rates, but our theory was that positive reinforcement would be more impactful. We introduced positive incentivization by offering weekly cash prizes to the top 10 drivers, with $300 currently going to 1st place. We chose to specifically reward the driver versus their employer or contractor to directly motivate the operator of the vehicle and reinforce safe driving.
We surveyed drivers on the Fluid Truck Platform who enrolled in the Fluid Safe Driver Score to understand the impact the score and competition had on their driving behavior. Here is what we found:
- Respondents indicated that seeing their performance did change their driving behavior, noting the incentive was the primary motivation for the change.
- We observed drivers asking higher-ranked drivers on their team for tips on how to receive a better score.
- We also observed managers using driver performance to coach individuals and the overall team on the importance of safe driving and the impact on the company’s insurance rates.
While the product has been live for only a short period of time, we’ve already seen positive behavioral change on the Fluid Truck platform using immediate feedback through performance metrics (Fluid Safe Driver Score), positive incentivization, and peer competition. Driver safety continues to be a top priority for Fluid Truck, and we will continue to iterate to drive positive behavioral change behind the wheel.
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