Review of the 2nd DriverMetrics® Users Conference

The 2nd DriverMetrics® Users Conference at Cranfield University on 1st March 2013 was hailed a huge success by delegates after an exciting programme of talks were delivered by speakers from several multinational companies. The aim of the conference was to provide updates on the latest research on driver behaviour and disseminate best practise amongst DriverMetrics® users. After a keynote address by Dr Lisa Dorn, the presentations focused on how organisations are implementing a behaviour-based approach to managing risk of crash involvement using the Driver Risk Index™.

Dr Dorn told the assembled audience that road traffic crashes are the biggest cause of work-related death and injury with about 14 people killed and 160 seriously injured a week in the UK. Dr Dorn then went on to distinguish between driving skills and driver behaviour. She said that driving skill tends to improve with practice and is dependent upon automation of information processing and psychomotor skills. Dr Dorn argued that driving behaviour on the other hand comprises habits and driving style and does not necessarily improve with experience. On the contrary, drivers tend to become less worried about safety. She then provided a brief outline of three published Cranfield University studies on time pressure and its effect on driving behaviour. The studies showed how driving performance is worsened, risky driving is increased, and some of the motivations and situational determinants of driver behaviour under time pressure.

Dr Dorn concluded that organisations must implement a fleet risk management programme to identify those drivers more at risk of driving at risk under time pressure using the Fleet Driver Risk Index™. High scores on the ‘Work Related Risk’ factor identify those drivers that are particularly vulnerable to driving at risk when work demands are high. She also cautioned that companies should review organisational policies to ensure that none of their policies are inadvertently increasing driver stress such encouraging employees to take work-related (even hands-free) phone calls whilst driving. Timescales and work schedules must be realistic so that drivers do not feel the need to take driving risks such as exceeding speed limits in order to get the job done.

The programme of speakers was then led by Group Road Safety Manager Mike Watson from Shell International who provided an insightful presentation on how Shell is implementing their Fleet Risk Management Programme using the Fleet Driver Risk Index™. He stressed the importance of effective communication to ensure employees are fully aware of why the company is keen to manage the risk of driving for work. Paul Davidson from Unilever provided an international perspective on the challenge of delivering their fleet risk management programme across over 80 countries.

Rob Lindsay, Driver Risk Manager at Balfour Beatty provided a fascinating account of their approach to using the Fleet Driver Risk Index™ as part of a comprehensive fleet risk management programme including classroom-based interventions and training using a driving simulator. Nick Sanders of Mercedes Benz Driving Academy gave a presentation about how the Academy is using the Learner Driver Risk Index™ and Driver Coaching methodologies across several countries to ensure learner drivers develop self-evaluation skills to increase their awareness of personal crash risk post-test.

At the plenary session the speakers led a discussion on mobile phone policies and how to encourage organisations to implement an ‘engines on phone off’ policy and the importance of monitoring phone use when driving for work. Dr Julie Gandolfi, Operations and Technical Lead presented on new and future developments from DriverMetrics® and this was followed with an update on E-training by Ann Havlin; Technical Director for a2om. The delegates then split into break out groups for more focused discussions.

The 3rd Users Conference will be held in March 2014 and we look forward to seeing you there.