personalized driver coaching
Innovative Tech

Personalized Driver Coaching: From Accountability to Profitability

18 Sep 2019

Old habits die hard. We know we shouldn’t eat another cookie, stay up another hour, roll through another stop sign – but we do it anyway. Why are old habits, like texting while driving, so enduring? And why do they persist even when we gain insights about their damaging effects? 

Behavior Change: Is 21 Days Still the Magic Number?

In a study published by the European Journal of Social Psychology, Health Psychologist Phillippa Lally and her team studied the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. The study showed that it can take over two months before a new behavior becomes automatic. Confronting change is no easy task. It takes a significant amount of time – especially for fleet managers who only see their employees at the beginning and end of their shift.

But if there was a way to implement it, would it actually work?

In a study of 1,000 teachers conducted by Google for Education and Digital Promise, coaching supported change in as many as 86% of teaching professionals surveyed over the course of a year. It’s impressive, and you don’t have to look very far to find other industries doing the same. Executive leadership teams, public service groups, athletic teams.

The bottom line: personalized coaching works, and it may even be the solution to improving road safety and boosting profitability. But how can the average commercial fleet collect actionable data on drivers while they’re on the road in order to provide an effective coaching experience?

New Insurance Models May Be Able to Step in and Bridge the Gap

Coaching and feedback are proven to change behaviors up to 79% of the time, with one condition: feedback has to be given on a “consistent basis”. But if a human coach can’t be put in each and every vehicle, what other solutions can we use?

This is a problem that the insurance industry may be positioned to solve.

A coaching failure may be tolerable in sports, but not when it comes to the most dangerous activity that most people undertake each day – driving. In 2018, 6,227 pedestrians died in traffic accidents, the highest number in nearly 30 years. And on a national scale, studies show that drivers are up to 100 times more distracted than most government data reports. With distracted driving and other issues on the rise, how can can new technologies, provided by insurers, step in to solve this epidemic?

Taking a Closer Look at Usage-Based Insurance

Usage-based insurance (UBI) has become popular, tracking mileage and driver behavior including rapid acceleration, hard braking, and speeding. With the help of on-board diagnostics (OBD) hardware, UBI can assist with traffic management and collision avoidance by using drivers’ behaviors to offer discounted premiums for safer behaviors on the road.

But neither UBI and OBD truly measure the problem. These systems measure what the car is doing, not the driver. Therefore, they can’t accurately measure many of the root causes of risky driving or provide a coaching experience with the right feedback loops to create sustainable, long-term change. The promise of personalized coaching for fleet drivers is within reach – the only piece that’s missing is a way to measure the driver instead of the vehicle.

Behavior-Based Insurance (BBI) Will Bridge the Gap

The solution has to be able to measure both vehicle usage and driver behavior, especially driver distraction.

Modern “behavior-based” insurance models (BBI) leverage advanced AI, machine learning, and the highly accurate sensors featured on most smartphones to paint a full 360-degree picture of a driver’s in-vehicle risk. These smartphone-based solutions not only provide telematics data that is just as accurate as OBD devices according to independent analysts, but BBI models that measure and take device usage/distracted driving into account are up to 6X better at predicting collisions, risk, and loss.

And armed with this highly accurate data and predictive analysis, BBI models can be used to generate highly specific driver coaching and feedback that truly speaks to each individual driver’s risks, and how to mitigate them.

Now, insurers are starting to create timely coaching solutions, and fleets are adopting them because they work.

Some companies are already integrating timely specific feedback through personalized coaching within their organization. Take Booster for example. A company that delivers and pumps gas in office parking lots, Booster uses routing software to tell drivers where their next stop is, and how to get in and out. Paired with GPS tracking and truck sensors, the fleet is able to make optimized route suggestions for refueling their customers. Booster was able to consistently out-perform national safety measurements by 18% with ongoing measurements and coaching.

Personalized Coaching for Drivers Is Here

With personalized coaching for drivers by way of telematics, mobile applications, and BBI, drivers receive timely and specific feedback on their driving behaviors. Through tools and ongoing measurements, drivers can reap the safety benefits of innovative, automated feedback technologies when behaviors are first discovered. 

Our future is in our hands – and automated feedback offers us real-time personalized coaching to correct and adjust risky behaviors that impact the lives of thousands. Living in the world of technology, we must continuously adapt that technology and overcome it.

When we tackle the reasons behind distracted driving, we work to build a better way forward.

Rhea Harris

General Manager