Safety and Technology

August 4, 2015

As you know last year we tested event recorders.  Starting in January we announced that we were deploying them fleet wide by year end 2015.  To date we have 167 event recorders installed and are well on our way to meeting our goal.  I’d like to give you an update on our experience with them so far.

There have been a lot of false and frankly paranoid rumors on the driver grapevine in general about these devices.  As with a lot of technology, some folks resist change and improvement.  But as more and more drivers adopt the technology they learn the real facts.  It only records 12 seconds during an event, something brought on by hard braking or swerving.  For the most part, the driver controls whether or not it sets off.  We don’t see anything else.  It comes with a cover that can be placed on the unit at night if that is important to a driver.  It has caught a lot of parking lot accidents and helped our contractors to recover their $1000 deductible.  It is a great way to protect our drivers and our company while improving ourselves.  We have seen a number of videos that exonerate us and our driver, thus protecting us both.  By having the inward and outward facing cameras, lawyers cannot speculate about what our driver was doing at the time.  These videos show true professionals doing their jobs and saving lives.  Certainly something to brag about, not try to hide.

The results are simply amazing.  Paying claims and buying insurance are major expense items.  This tool has saved a lot more money than it costs.  In the first half of 2014, we had 16 DOT recordable accidents and our “Crash” basic was rising quickly.  We started ramping up with DriveCam in mid-February of 2015 from 30 units to 167 units now.  I’m pleased to share with you that in the first quarter of 2015 we had only 4 DOT recordable accidents and since the first quarter we have had none.  In 2014 we saw our “Crash” basic on CSA rise to a score of 70 which resulted in a DOT audit since it was in alert status.  Today, it has fallen to a quite respectable 23.  During the ramp up period this represents a 45% reduction in DOT recordable crashes.  This brings all our scores low, helps us attract and retain business and get our drivers green lights at the scales. This saves all time and money.

When we are involved in an accident, insurance companies create a reserve which is an estimate of the amount of money it will take to defend and settle a claim.  In addition, we create reserves to pay the deductibles and self-insured amounts not covered by insurance.  Last year at mid-year we had $640,000 in reserves for accidents.  As of mid-year 2015, that was down to $260,000, a 60% reduction!

Folks, this is real safety and real savings.  And this is with only a little more than half our trucks equipped.  DriveCam records only 12 second during an event, 8 seconds before and 4 seconds after.  Through film review our drivers have reduced the number of recorded events by 60% and the number of severe events by 64%.  We had one driver who reduced his hard braking events from 40 per month to one or none. This is safety improvement you can see, hear, feel and touch.  It is very real and gives ACT a big competitive advantage.  We are seeing our work in the safety department shift from spending hours handling claims to proactive work preventing accidents.  And your typical driver has less than one minute of film recorded and sent to us each month.

Together, we are all responsible for accidents and live in a legal environment which is unfavorable and often unfair to truckers.  Now together, we are making real strides in protecting ourselves and the motoring public.  Thank you for your help on this project and being the true professionals that you are.

Happy and Safe Trucking, Tom