A new program at the Kroger Co. has helped the Cincinnati-based grocer reduce collisions within its 1,200-vehicle fleet by 50 percent within four months of deployment.
DriveCam, available from San Diego-based driver risk management company Lytx, is an exception-based video telematics program that combines video capture of road incidents such as hard breaking or sudden swerving, data analysis of those incidents, and personalized coaching insights to improve driving behavior.
“Liability spending was increasing year over year, and we’d just suffered three major driving incidents,” said Kroger Safety Manager John Lobenberg. “Changing that trend was all about proactively managing driver behavior.”
Kroger Logistics prioritized cities with the largest collision-related spend to pilot DriveCam and to help Kroger’s leadership team understand how the program could deliver a healthy 3:1 return on investment.
“Kroger’s fleet and their drivers are brand ambassadors on the road each and every day, and Lytx gives us the tools to coach them,” Lobenberg said.
He continued: “The results of the DriveCam program have been tremendous. Within four months, we saw a 50 percent reduction in collisions, a 71 percent reduction in handheld cell phone use and an 82 percent reduction of driver unbelted incidents.” Reducing driver unbelted incidents is critical, because drivers who don’t wear their seat belts are 3.4 times more likely to get into a collision than those who do, according to Lytx data.
Lobenberg found the two-city pilot enlightening, and it helped him prepare for the full-fleet rollout. Among his key learnings:
- There’s a lot more risky behavior going on than he thought, from big risks like distracted driving to minor risks. “About 15 percent of our drivers represented 80 percent of our risk,” Lobenberg said.
- It took only about a week for drivers to forget that the event camera was there.
- Having driver coaches is of the utmost important: “They’ve been there, and they’re listened to,” Lobenberg noted.
- That said, not all coaches selected have the same skill level and will likely need coaching themselves.
- An unanticipated benefit was reduced maintenance costs, especially with tires, because drivers were no longer “bouncing off curbs.”
- Video proved to be a high-value piece of evidence to exonerate drivers.
DriveCam helps make recognition programs easy by delivering information on drivers who do everything right. “Truly good, life-saving driving is hard to observe,” said Lobenberg.