Collision Reconstruction Limits Heartbreak Over Collision Damage

You can’t always prevent collision damage,

but you can prevent the heartbreak. Thanks in part to Geotab’s Collision Reconstruction add on, there is a happy ending to what could have been a very sad story.

I think we all have a vision of our dream car from our youth. For me it was always a little red rag-top. A couple of years ago I found her. She was a Chili Red Mini Cooper with a blue denim convertible top. Her name, chosen by her previous owner, was Rosie.

She had a lot of life left in her when I was recently hit from behind. The impact pushed me into the vehicle in front of me so I had collision damage both front and rear. As I dialed 911, I watched the other two very young drivers call their parents. Though the damage appeared superficial, my dream car was possibly going to be totaled, and ahead of me the negotiation with the insurance company loomed large.

Accessing the Collision Reconstruction Data

The first thing I did when I got home was fire up the the computer to pull the accident data. With the collision reconstruction add on, it took just a couple of minutes. The truth is often not exactly what we remember,and in this case, that was the case.

How could I have been so certain I was at a complete stop when I was hit from behind? The collision reconstruction data showed I was driving 6 mph and slowing to stop. I wondered in that moment if the other drivers had similar flaws in their memory of the event. Also, the data indicated an initial accident level impact at the rear of my vehicle propelling me forward at 6:07:06 PM. Two more minor spikes on the graph indicate backward motion at about half the force of the initial impact. I suspect one of those may have been the force of my roll bar deploying.

Processing the Claim

Processing of the claim for the collision damage was somewhat slow. The insurance company had to reach all three drivers involved for their statements before they could make a determination of fault. I had advised the insurance company that I had the data and could prove exactly what happened, but they had to go through their process. Apparently the crucial information they needed from the driver in front of me, was how many impacts he heard, relative to what he felt, to verify that the rear vehicle actually hit me before I hit him. I wondered if his memory was clear on that point, but was confident the data would back me up if it was not.

Had there been any question, the G force graph below and speed graphs above would tell the entire story. Had it ended up in litigation, the engineers at Geotab would have provided me with expert testimony in the form of a formal report explaining and validating the data from their collision reconstruction. Lucky for me, the insurance company just wrote a check to cover the collision damage.

Unfortunately,

The next day I received the dreaded call… after further review it was determined the frame was bent, and due to severe collision damage Rosie and I would not be seeing any more highway miles together. The insurance company settled, and I was off to find a new car. Knowing that I had solid facts acquired through collision reconstruction, allowed me to negotiate from a position of power, rather than accepting whatever the insurance company decided. I had a nice fat down payment in my pocket, and my former loan was paid off.

I promised a happy ending, so here it is. Not quite 2 weeks from the collision event, I was driving my new car. I could not find another Chili Red one, but British Racing Green can grow on a person. My new road pal is 2 years and 50K miles younger, has a turbo charger, and a far superior sound system. I am naming him Jack Hammer, after the salesman at the Mini dealer (I swear that is his real name).

Thanks Jack!

Thanks Geotab!

Driver Improvement Through Targeted Driver Training

Ongoing driver improvement through targeted driver training is one of the hottest trends in fleet management today.

When based on actual driving history, it is an effective tool for driver improvement. A recent article in Commercial Carrier Journal mentions the need for more targeted driver training. The article warns that in cab alerts are distracting to the driver. Classroom trainings like those endorsed by the National Safety Council are great, and have been the standard for many years. We teach the NSC Defensive Driving Course on a monthly basis at our own corporate office, but it takes advance planning and time off the job for drivers to attend. Business requires something that is readily available when needed.

Over the past couple of years, 2 primary models of targeted driver self-improvement have emerged. Not surprisingly, they are simple merit models and demerit models.

Merit vs Demerit

Examples of merit models are game apps. Driving data is converted into a score and drivers compete for recognition. Competition is the primary motivation because it is fun, and because nobody wants to be a loser. Adding a reward, like a cash bonus for the most improved driver, maintains interest. Clearly, competition will promote driver improvement, but is still not targeted driver training.

Demerit models look for problems and assign targeted driver training. Specific behavior, for example speeding, results in lessons assigned to the driver on how speed can be dangerous. This achieves driver improvement in two ways.

  1. The driver learns how speed can be a danger to himself and others through the lessons assigned.
  2. The driver doesn’t want another course assignment that he has to complete after work hours, so he changes his behavior.

The goal is to provide a custom training course based on need. Each driver is assigned lessons based on their driving deficiencies. A program like this is often administered by the Safety Department in larger companies, but in small and medium size businesses, who is going to do all that? Many businesses would like to implement targeted driver training, but only if it is a “hands off” approach.

Predictive Coach course modules

Predictive Coach Course Modules

The Keys to Automating Driver Training

To automate the process your GPS tracking system provides the data directly to the training app. Training content on a variety of subjects is organized into courses and lessons. When thresholds for unwanted behavior are met, the app assigns the appropriate training to the driver. Drivers access training from their personal devices, and no supervision is needed. Training is easy to use, interesting, and focused on driver improvement. Managers only need to be notified when drivers fail to complete the assigned courses, but they can review lessons assigned and completed if they want.

Predictive Coach meets all of the criteria.

  1. Improves driver behaviors with a data driven training program
  2. Eases the burden of safety monitoring through automation
  3. Eliminates willful negligence around driver discipline
  4. Integrates seamlessly with your Geotab tracking solution
  5. Proven to produce results through targeted driver training

Predictive Coach automated driver training has been evaluated by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is proven to reduce dangerous driver behavior.

Predictive Coach Study Improvement Graph

Individual Predictive Coach courses contain 3 to 7 individual lessons. The lessons are automatically assigned to drivers when exceptions to rules occur. The driving rules used are the ones you configure with tolerances you set. Managers are notified when assigned lessons have not been completed, and they appreciate the compact dashboards and reports that are available for reviewing and comparing drivers. Drivers can complete the courses on laptop, phone or tablet from virtually anywhere.

That fits our definition – automated driver improvement through targeted driver training.

Schedule a demo to learn how Predictive Coach is affordable, easy to implement and protects your fleet and organization.

Trailer Load Balancing

Trailer Load Balancing For Safety

Trailer load balancing is important to understand because it is crucial to achieving a properly loaded trailer. We have all seen an overloaded trailer rolling down the highway at some point. Tree trucks, roofing materials, carpets, rock or tile and large boats all come to mind for unsafe trailer loading. Always remember, balance will make a huge difference in vehicle safety and stability and the end result is a safer, more comfortable ride.

 

Be safer by training employees to ensure properly loaded trailers.

Unbalanced loads are listed as the #3 towing risk according to the popular website How Stuff Works. The #1 towing risk cited is swaying. Sway primarily happens because of poor trailer load balance, so if you plan to tow, learn what you need to know about trailer load balance before you load.

 

Trailer load balance with Sherp

Fleetistics Sherp Properly Loaded on Trailer

 

This dramatic video shows the importance of properly trailer load balancing. The effect of placing the majority of the load behind the trailer axle can dramatically impact handling. One might think that putting the load forward of the trailer tires would spread the load between the trailer and the truck but the impact on steering handling is a dangerous consequence.

 

The video is great continuing education content and is only a few minutes long. It is a real eye opener to the impact of improper loading. At the same time you can review trailer inspections, tongue weight, DOT regulations and maintenance.

 

Learn more about GPS trailer tracking

For Crying Out Loud! Where Can I Charge My EV NOW?

I need to know now! Where Can I Charge My EV?

One of the biggest fears associated with a fleet deployment of electric vehicles is what will happen when things do not go as planned. In other words, what if the unthinkable happens? What if my driver needs to charge while on the road? What’s more, what if my driver is far from familiar locations, facing a deadline?

The last thing you want your drivers asking is “Where can I charge my EV now?”

One of the greatest things about living in the 21st century is Crowd Sourced Open Data Initiatives. These are projects like Open Street Maps or Wikipedia, where individuals just like us contribute what they know to the greater community. This allows the project to amass a great deal of usable data and serve it back to the public on the web. In most cases, they will suggest users volunteer donations, rather than charging any user a fee.

Open Collective is providing the solution to “Where can I charge My EV?” through the Open Charge Map Initiative.

When you visit the site you will find it easy to navigate. You are able to add the charging stations you have found, or search the map for a charging station near your location. You can even check the map first, and plan your route based on the availability of charging stations along the way. Information about the budget, expenses, and donations received are easily accessible on their project page at Open Collective as well.

It took me less than 5 seconds to find 2 charging stations!

Both stations are just across the highway from our corporate office. Just click on the green charging station icons. That will open a window with all of the details for what kind of chargers are available. There is even a section to add details or comments if there is some detail you want to add.

Open Charge Map Charging Station Details
Now that your fears about finding a place to charge are put to rest, it is time to evaluate what fossil fuel vehicles to replace and what EV to replace them with. That is the subject of an upcoming post on tools to evaluate, based on your current vehicle use, what are the logical choices for your fleet.

Are you using all of the resources that can take your business to the next level?