We’ve all seen the 1-800 “How’s My Driving” stickers on the back of certain commercial vehicles. Companies use the stickers in order to receive public feedback on their drivers. Do they really work and are they convenient to use?
Insurance company studies have shown that using “How’s My Driving” stickers do reduce accidents by 20%-50%. The reasons are twofold; (i) drivers know they are being watched, so tend to drive more carefully and (ii) identifies problem drivers early on so that they can be coached or better trained. Typically 80% of driver complaints are generated only by 10%-20% of the actual drivers. Reducing any accident is a win-win-win for everyone; the business, the public, and the insurance company.
Every call makes a difference
How many people will call a 1-800 “How’s My Driving” phone number? A working paper written in 2006 by Lior J. Strahilevitz (The Law School, The University of Chicago) provides some examples.
For instance, a fleet of 3,000 trucks resulted in 435 incident reports in 1998. Other examples were 283 calls in a six month period for a fleet of 1,330 vehicles, and 15 calls in the same period for a 98 vehicle fleet. These may be viewed as relatively low call volumes but the result was a substantial reduction in accidents and losses.
This was many years ago and the concept relied on phone call-ins. The difference today is that text messaging and emailing have taken foothold over voice-to-voice communication.
HMD stickers have worked in the past
Companies statistically track accidents or document near miss incidents via internal accident reporting processes. What is more difficult to track are the near miss incidents and close calls occuring on the street. This is where the “HMD” stickers come into play. Allow the public to make companies more aware of unreportable incidents and alert companies about potentially problematic drivers undetected by telematics.
The paper written by Strahilevitz went so far as to recommend that “HMD” stickers be mandatory for all vehicles on the street, including our own. His logic was that traffic regulation enforcement would be done partly by the public by reporting infractions to a central hub. The objective was that each driver could eventually be given a rating, much like eBay rates it’s sellers. People would drive more safely knowing they were being monitored by others. We’re not sure this idea is the best, but there is some logic to it.
Windshieldink modernizes the “HMD” program
Windshieldink takes the change in public communication preferences and applies it to vehicle owner communication. One of Windshieldink’s applications is to modernize the “How’s My Driving” program.
Fleet vehicles registering with Windshieldink enables public driver complaints to be emailed directly to the company designate. The email identifies the license plate of the fleet vehicle and can include a GPS location link within the message. Drivers may not like being critiqued or told that they’re parked in the wrong place, however it is all for the public good.
Windshieldink extends the “HMD” concept to personal car usage. Some car owners might find it useful knowing whether a family member driving their car requires some “re-training”. Any license plate in any jurisdiction can be registered in the platform.
Fleet operators operate large vehicles travelling miles a day and driven by a range of different drivers. Inform companies if their drivers are causing safety concerns. Road safety affects all of us. We need to all play a role in keeping them safe.
We’re interested in hearing from you. Send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.