Enhancing Road Safety Through Eco-Driving with the ISAAC Coach

Feb 9, 2024

Safety. It’s the key to protecting lives, company success, and cost efficiency. Not to mention regulatory compliance and favorable public perception. This might sound like stating the obvious, and we may believe companies have this well under control. Yet when it comes to road safety, a rise in insurance premiums, increased accident rates, and escalating legal and operational costs tell a different story. These statistics tell us that we need help when it comes to mitigating risky driving behaviors and bolstering road safety. In this article, we talk about enhancing road safety through eco-driving with the ISAAC Coach.

“If I went to our owners and said, ‘Would you want a 5% increase in revenue next year or a 5% decrease in safety-related events?’ I know they would actually say, ‘I’ll take the safety’.”

– Corey Cox, Senior Vice President Innovation, Tandet Group of Companies

Technology, in the form of trucking safety solutions such as the ISAAC Coach, has been proven to reduce costs and enhance road safety through eco-driving. At our 2023 User Conference, an annual event where we bring together clients during a two-day conference, we had the pleasure to tap into the expertise of Chief Operating Officer Ward Van Lar from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), Senior Vice President of Innovation Corey Cox from the Tandet Group of Companies, and Director of Information Technology Matt Braslavsky from West Side Transport. We discussed the current road safety challenges in North America and how uncovering the link between eco-driving and safety could help save lives, increase operational efficiency and safety, and provide driver shortage solutions.

Key Findings from the TIRF Study

The TIRF study, presented by Ward Vanlaar, involved over 2500 drivers from four commercial trucking companies, covering more than 341 million kilometers of driving exposure. It revealed key insights:

  • Increasing cruise control usage by 1% reduces hard braking events by 3%.
  • Maintaining steady speed in top gear cuts stability control events by 34%.
  • Boosting the ISAAC score by one percentage point correlates with a 7% decrease in hard braking, 8% fewer hard turns, and a 4% reduction in collision odds.

Vanlaar points to this compelling evidence to demonstrate that enhancing road safety through eco-driving with the ISAAC Coach directly and positively impacts a fleet’s fuel savings and safety, potentially reducing insurance costs. He also emphasizes how useful the ISAAC scorecard is in measuring your drivers’ eco-driving efficiency and safety.

A Holistic Approach to Enhancing Road Safety

However, Vanlaar points out that in “Road safety, there is no such thing as one simple solution. There’s no silver bullet. The only solutions are nuanced, complicated, holistic ones.” This tells us that integrating telematics in trucking, though relatively easy to implement, is just a piece of the bigger road safety puzzle.

Beyond that, our speakers concurred that you need holistic road safety strategies. One of those strategies could consist of three things that work in tandem: technology-enabled driver education, a healthy safety culture in trucking, and public awareness.

  1. Technology as a safety enabler

    Driver training technologies such as the ISAAC Coach are part of a broader system that includes video cameras and other data sources, allowing for a comprehensive view of driver performance. Corey Cox from Tandet emphasized that they use the ISAAC Coach for driver incentives, focusing on safety and fuel efficiency. He goes on to add that feedback conversations with drivers have been significantly more positive since installing the ISAAC Coach, as all participants have access to the same data. Lastly, he expressed excitement about the future developments in ISAAC technology, particularly with AI integration, which could provide even deeper insights into driver behavior and fleet management.

    At West Side Transport, a similar driver bonus program based on the ISAAC Coach led to a significant fuel efficiency improvement. This cost-efficiency was clearly observed when comparing a trip done first without the ISAAC Coach, and then with the ISAAC Coach. So, while technology is not the solution to challenge in a trucking fleet, it was a key enabler in building a safety culture and reducing costs.

  2. An organizational culture built around road safety

    Human factors can sometimes stall necessary change. These include general resistance to change by existing employees, a lack of available training, and inadequate leadership commitment. Furthermore, measuring the impact of new initiatives is complex and requires patience and leadership buy-in. Ward Vanlaar also emphasized the importance of supporting drivers in maintaining a healthy lifestyle to combat fatigue and stress, which have a definite impact on safe driving.

    Corey from Tandet acknowledges an initial resistance to implementing the ISAAC system at Tandet, but emphasizes the overall long-term impact on the team has been positive, with the system attracting new drivers and having former drivers return. He further stated, “I can tell you that we have had drivers leave and actually come back because of ISAAC.”

  3. Public Awareness

    Once an organization has installed safety-enhancing technology and has secured the buy-in from their team, it has done its part to make the roads safer . However, the hazards of the numerous cars sharing the road with trucks and driving around them still need to be dealt with. Educating the public is a key step in implementing this holistic approach to public road safety. Car drivers need to be educated on safe driving practices around large trucks and become aware of the unique challenges professional truck drivers face, such as braking distances and turning techniques.

Be the Change: Enhance Road Safety through Eco-Driving with the ISAAC Coach

When confronted with rising accident statistics, it’s easy to look for external factors to blame. One might consider a lack of focus among drivers, perceive resistance to safety culture changes within the organization, or observe the general public’s driving habits with concern, especially in this era of constant digital distraction. While these factors may come into play, they only tell part of the story. They overlook the powerful role that we , as trucking professionals, can play in creating a safer future.

Let’s engage in a conversation of empowerment and action. What positive steps can we take today, this week, and this month to enhance road safety?

The journey to improving road safety, boosting driver morale, and cutting operational and legal expenses begins with our ability to harness the power of data-driven safety in trucking. Tools like the ISAAC Coach allow us to assess driver performance accurately and improve it. This data becomes the foundation for implementing transformative changes— affecting individuals, teams, the entire organizational culture, and eventually influencing public behavior for the better.

By adopting this proactive stance, we become architects of a safer, more responsible road environment, paving the way for a brighter and more secure tomorrow.

About the author

Julien-Pierre Daigle, P. Eng.

Data Analysis Engineer, ISAAC

Julien-Pierre Daigle is a Data Analysis Engineer at ISAAC. Within the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence team, he participates in the development of feature engineering. More specifically, he prepares the data to make it usable by the rest of the team. Big data, in its simplest form, is practically unusable. It must be filtered, grouped, and sorted while retaining its original value and meaning. With 15 years of experience in vehicle data analysis, and 10 years with ISAAC, he shares his knowledge to tell trucking-relevant stories using the ISAAC solution data. Trained as an accident reconstruction engineer, Julien-Pierre leads the service of telemetry reporting used to explain and demonstrate the facts of incidents. As with big data, raw data alone does not explain an event. Understanding the data and the physics is therefore essential for explaining the facts.

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