We have all seen the 1-800 “How’s My Driving” stickers on the back of certain commercial vehicles. Companies use them to get public feedback on their drivers but do they really work and are they convenient to use?
Insurance company studies have shown that using “How’s My Driving” stickers can reduce accidents by 20%-50%. The reasons are twofold; (i) since drivers know they are being watched, they drive more carefully and (ii) by identifying problem drivers early on, 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 can make a difference
So how many people will actually 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) provided 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 did result in substantial reductions in accidents and losses. This was many years ago and the concept relied on phone calling. The difference today is that text messaging and emailing have taken foothold over voice-to-voice communication.
At present, companies statistically track accidents or document near miss incidents using internal accident reporting processes. What is more difficult to track are the near miss incidents and close calls that occur on the street. This is where the “HMD” stickers come into play, allowing 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 yours and mine. 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 that are registered with Windshieldink will enable public driver complaints to be emailed directly to the company designate. The email identifies the license plate of that 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, in that some car owners may find it useful knowing whether a family member driving their car may require some “re-training”. Anyone’s license plate in any jurisdiction can be registered in the platform.
Fleet operators operate large vehicles that travel many miles a day driven by a range of different drivers. Let companies know if their drivers are causing safety concerns. Road safety affects all of us. We should all play a role in keeping them safe.
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