Avoiding Multitasking Mistakes

Multitasking Is The New Normal

In 2020 there was a huge shift in the way we do business. We were multitasking before, but often in a community workspace with more team interaction. Social distancing has forced us to re-think the workspace and work more independently. With that comes more multitasking, and a new level of stress and confusion can emerge. For drivers who have more technology to manage on the road, mistakes can have deadly consequences.

Fleets are using more electronics than ever for navigation, ELD, work orders, and communication. Fleet managers supervise drivers engaging in potentially dangerous multitasking that in some cases runs counter to the safety programs in place. Managers and dispatchers make exceptions when they need something, but later hold a driver accountable for talking on a phone while driving. Is there a double standard? Where do operational requirements supersede safety best practices? It’s an uncomfortable conversation, but one we need to be having.

Applying Wisdom From Other Disciplines

As a training center for NSC’s Defensive Driving Course, we get a lot of safety related communications and links to safety related content. A recent article “Safety Leadership: Reducing catastrophic incident potential via enhanced human performance reliability” by Matt Hargrove from DEKRA Organizational Safety and Reliability caught our attention. His post focuses on catastrophic incidents that occur on offshore drilling rigs, but there was some underlying wisdom that can be universally applied.

Given, most of our readers are not doing potentially life threatening jobs in dangerous environments, but one statement Matt Hargrove made strikes at the heart of what most of us are doing.

“We make more mistakes when our work is designed to have us multitask.”

Matt Hargrove

Principal Consultant, DEKRA Organizational Safety and Reliability

Multi tasking manager

That statement is true for drivers, managers, support staff, vendors… all of us. And with all of the technology we use day to day, everyone is multitasking. So, how can we support employees to make fewer mistakes while still accomplishing all that needs to be done?

The author listed 5 specific “layers of protection” to be considered to “further reduce potential for catastrophic incidents”. If we consider those same recommendations with a fleet based operation in mind, are able to identify specific actions we can take to prevent the common multitasking related mistakes we make everyday.

Five Layers of Protection

  1. “Creating clear alignment on prioritization of competing organizational targets and objectives.”

Make sure drivers, managers, and support staff are clear on their own priorities, and each other’s. A manager that needs something done right now must consider a driver’s first priority is arriving safely. It’s OK to communicate urgency, but not to pressure the driver to hurry unduly. If he is a few minutes late due to driving on icy roads, express that it is OK.

  1. “Creating brain-aligned standard operating procedures and documents in which design and content are developed in a way that highlights critical steps and prompts specific actions that reduce potential for critical error.”

Maybe it’s time to take a good look at our forms and processes. Do forms follow the work flow so that drivers and other workers can document what they are doing in the order they normally do it? Are the fields for must have information required fields on electronic forms and highlighted somehow on paper forms? Are you using checklists to confirm the proper steps have been taken?

3. “Creating specific lines of inquiry related to human performance and human-machine interface to understand how errors might occur/or have occurred post-incident.”

When mistakes are made, they should be reviewed to determine why they were made. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn from mistakes and understand if multitasking is contributing to errors made. That responsibility needs to be owned by someone in the organization. Once we identify the common threads when mistakes occur, we can take steps to mitigate their re-occurrence.

  1. “Deploying a structured technique for hazard identification (going from looking to seeing and mitigating hazards). Creating prompts that move people out of the default autopilot (fast brain) during safety-critical transitions within work tasks.”

Within our own departments we do things out of habit because that’s the way they have always been done. Perhaps we should get a fresh set of eyes on our procedures and forms to help us identify areas we might improve. For instance, we recently identified that two employees in different departments were both creating and uploading a nearly identical document into the same shared folder. We determined it made more sense to share a single document cutting both workloads. Now, both know to check the folder for an existing document before creating a new one. It’s a small thing, but every little bit helps.

  1. “Training frontline team members to understand the causes of performance errors and co-develop the techniques and system changes necessary to control for them.”

This goes hand in hand with #4 on the list. Management needs to be on the lookout to identify wasted effort wherever it lives. It could be anything from an employee spending hours doing something manually that could be done more efficiently with the right software or integration, to identifying overlapping tasks that can be shifted to the most appropriate team member. If we can split the workload we can eliminate some of the multitasking.

A Few Simple Ideas You Can Implement Now

Some suggestions from our own staff include completing the task you are working on before starting another, closing your email client to avoid distractions, and organizing your email inbox with folders to prioritize and group similar tasks together. It all seems to come down to being open to change. There are a plethora of apps designed to help us get more done in less time and with less error. Being willing to evaluate and invest in those new solutions can be a game changer!

Distracted Driving Awareness Month – October 2020

Distracted Driving Car Accident Highway
Normally held in April, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year October will be observed as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This annual promotion sponsored by the National Safety Council brings awareness to a primary cause of preventable injury and death on the roads, distracted driving.

The NSC website reports that on a typical day, more than 700 people are injured because of driver distractions. This includes, but is not limited to phone calls, text messages, and entertainment system adjustments. Likewise, the CDC reports that each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

Distracted Driving Affects Everyone

While cell phones are a primary distraction we can all relate to, it is only one of many things that contribute to the preventable collisions noted above. If you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of your driving for any reason, you place yourself and others at risk.
The National Safety Council focuses on eliminating the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. As part of the October campaign, NSC is providing free downloadable materials to encourage companies to create distracted driving prevention programs.

What can you do to prevent Distracted Driving?

You can commit to driving distraction free by taking the NSC Just Drive pledge. Thanks to a partnership with The Zebra, the nation’s leading insurance comparison site, NSC will receive a donation of $1 for every pledge taken and match 100% of every donation made, up to $5,000, today through Nov. 6.

First, consider taking the pledge or making a donation. Also, consider promoting the pledge to your company drivers and their families. Ultimately, if we all do just a little, many lives can be saved.

The theme is Just Drive. Simple and to the point, it is a great reminder to us all to put down the phone, stop fiddling with the equalizer, and just drive.
Fleetistics is a leading provider of technology to identify and mitigate distracted driving.

Workplace Safety – Help With Managing COVID 19 Risk

Workplace Safety is Your Responsibility

Workplace safety is a responsibility employers cannot take lightly. Whether you have decided it’s time to reopen your business, or just move from working in isolation back to some measure of how it used to be, you need to have a clear plan in place. It is your job to assure the work environment is safe for both customers and employees.
Workplace Safety

Relying on safety experts will improve the overall safety plan and may reduce liability in the event of a safety violation injury. Unfortunately, we have learned by watching the news over the past few months that not even the experts agree all the time. So where can an employer go for sound advice? Thankfully, the National Safety Council has addressed this head on with a new free program, Safe Actions for Employee Returns or SAFER.

NSC and the SAFER Program Tools for Workplace Safety

The National Safety Council (NSC) is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate. They are probably most well known for their Defensive Driving Course, required in many states to reinstate a driver’s license after multiple driving violations. Their primary focus is eliminating the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths in various environments. Ultimately that includes injury and death due to workplace safety issues.

The SAFER program, assembled and updated by a task force comprised of large and small Fortune 500 companies, provides guidance for safely reopening the workplace. Taskforce members include nonprofits, legal experts, public health professionals, medical professionals, and government agency representatives. They make recommendations based on best practices and proven workplace safety strategies.

The SAFER program provides free resources and tools you can download. As the body of knowledge about the Covid-19 virus grows and changes, the resources are updated. Even better, you can register to be notified by email when new resources become available. This is great way to ensure your workplace safety policies remain relevant and up to date.

What Resources are Available?

Resources are available to assess vulnerability, survey employees, and educate using their recorded webinars. Moreover, you can download PowerPoint presentations to use at your staff meetings and attend online workshops. NSC also maintains a page that details the federal guidelines and has useful links to resources like a COVID Tracer spreadsheet. A set of 4 posters designed to keep safe practices on everyone’s mind is the only item we found with a modest price tag.

The breadth of subject matter is impressive! The information provided covers topics including creating an action plan, office operations, managing anxiety, entrance screening, and what to do if you anyone in your workplace has a confirmed case of COVID 19.

Well Done!

Fleetistics is an authorized training center for the NSC Defensive Driving Course. We applaud the National Safety Council for its leadership in helping America safely return to work!

Out of State Ticket – Avoid Losing Your License

Dealing With An Out of State Ticket

Getting a ticket in another state can be a challenge to deal with. The thought of returning to Massachusetts to go to driving school, traffic court or pay a fine can be overwhelming. The good news is that Tampa based Fleetistics offers the National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course which is often sufficient to address an out of state ticket if okayed by the court. Of course, this must go through the proper process.

Talk to the Judge or Traffic Court

NSC-Out-of-State-Ticket-DDC-Training-2

Call the court of jurisdiction to discuss the possibility of taking the NSC certified Fleetistics DDC course as a way to resolve the ticket without returning. Send them this URL https://www.fleetistics.com/resources/nsc/ and ask if taking this course will suffice. Be sure to take notes on who you spoke to and when. Get everything in writing and hold onto it for 5 years. If there is an error you do not want a warrant for your arrest. Once you provide the DDC certificate of completion ask for a letter for your files indicating you have satisfied the court.

 

 

NSC-Out-of-State-Ticket-DDC-Training-3

Defensive Driving Course

 

Fleetistics is the only active certified NSC DDC trainer in Florida. We offer a friendly atmosphere, comfortable conditions, and a friendly instructor. The day is long but we make it as painless as possible. If you enter with an open mind you will actually appreciate the safety refresher, especially if you have children you are working to protect.

The DDC course is a combination of instructor lead conversation and videos provided by the National Safety Council. You are required to complete the workbook and be in attendance for the entire course in order to receive your certificate. For more on registering for the course click this URL. https://www.fleetistics.com/resources/nsc/

Commercial Driver Training

Commercial fleet operators can utilize the NSC DDC training as part of a progressive discipline and training program for at-risk drivers. Employers can pay for the training or require the drivers to pay depending on the safety and training program offered. This step shows the driver you are serious but that you care enough to offer remedial training and a final opportunity to exhibit the driving habits required to avoid costly accidents and litigation. Employers have more to add to their defense if subjected to a wrongful termination lawsuit by a driver. Insurance companies may offer discounts if the training is provided 1-2 times annually to keep safety on everyone’s mind.

 

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.