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How data relates to driver retention

David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

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Data has more to do with driver retention than you might first think. In fact, there are lots of ways you can use your data to influence your best drivers to stick around.

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ELDs, data and driver retention

ELDs can be a huge boon to driver safety, route optimization, driver recognition and overall communication, says Geotab’s Stephen White, heavy truck fleet enterprise business manager. The key is turning your fleet’s data insights into something actionable to improve your operations.

“From a business perspective, data insights can help improve key operational factors including safety, route planning and fuel usage, thus increasing their overall efficiency and, in turn, increasing their cost savings,” White says. “Planning routes around known traffic can help fleets reduce the amount of time their drivers spend in traffic or idling, which can give drivers time for additional loads or the ability to get home sooner. This reduction of traffic or idling time can contribute to higher driver satisfaction.”

Dr. Ashim Bose, chief data scientist and vice president of Omnitracs’ artificial intelligence, machine learning and data engineering organization, suggests reviewing ELD-generated data as a team activity.

“Historically, fleet managers have used ELD data to ensure that drivers’ hours are accurate. However, ELD data should actually be thought of as a shared resource between drivers and fleet managers, improving how they communicate and work together,” Bose says. “It can provide fleets with the insights to improve retention, safety, productivity and efficiency, improving the driver’s life and overall operations.”

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“The incredibly detailed nature of the ELD data allows us to see things that we might have missed in the past, such as a driver being asked to move his truck a short distance at a truck stop during his rest break. This might end up causing sleep disruption and future issues, and we’d never have seen that under the AOBRD rules,” adds Chris Orban, vice president of data science for Trimble Transportation. “It also allows us to get into the details and truly see driver utilization and performance statistics. Are we properly crediting drivers when they do a great job managing their hours of service?”

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Automated driving systems and driver retention

As our ability to mine data becomes more accurate and sophisticated, so does our ability to automate safety systems on the truck to keep drivers safe.

Building on years of innovation in collision mitigation and other ADAS technologies, WABCO is currently developing and bringing to market next-generation ADAS, says Collin Shaw, product marketing leader for North America with WABCO North America. One of these technologies is OnGuardMax, which, in addition to helping the driver avoid rear-end collisions with moving and stationary vehicles, offers collision avoidance with pedestrians and vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists and cyclists in both urban and highway environments.

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“With the rapid urbanization megatrend and the increasing importance of last-mile delivery, ensuring ADAS technologies are adopted on vehicles moving through these densely populated areas is a key piece of WABCO’s future OnGuardMax ADAS suite and is also critically important to the commercial vehicle industry as a whole,” Shaw says. “Most new on-highway Class 8 trucks come equipped with ADAS; however, the acceptance of the technologies on medium-duty trucks and urban commercial vehicles is far lower. WABCO is working to change that by putting pedestrian safety front and center in our next-generation ADAS systems.”

Another of WABCO’s more-recent automated safety features is the ability to provide Adaptive Cruise Stop & Go, a system which allows the truck to follow another vehicle to a complete stop and then start moving again without the driver needing to interact with the brakes or throttle.

“Increased safety content on commercial vehicles may help attract and retain drivers at a fleet,” Shaw says. “Promoting the array of technology in trucks may also entice new candidates interested in a career field where they can utilize the leading-edge developments that are part of today’s vehicles.”

This story is part of a larger series, How data can influence your best drivers to stick around.

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