Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Fuel Transportation Can Be Dangerous. Video Can Help.

Many fleets looking to reduce risk and improve safety in their fleet think that, by simply installing cameras in their vehicles, everything will improve. What’s important to remember is that the camera is simply a means to an end; the key to success is coaching and scoring. Conico Oil General Manager, Dave Burrow, agrees.

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Conico Oil sells and delivers refined fuels throughout Southern California ranging from the South Bay to Paso Robles. Many of the company’s petroleum transports make multiple runs each day across the greater Los Angeles area in the course of a three-shift operation that keeps the fleet on the road virtually 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Most fleets do not have actionable data based on real-time driving performance. Instead, they must rely on summarized information or historical data, such as the absence of citations or collisions, which do not measure actual driving skills. That’s why Dave sees video safety as a tool to help measure driver performance. “What we’ve really learned over time is you can use that tool to create a score card and driver coaching program to modify driver behavior. We worked with SmartDrive to develop the scorecard that we thought was important – including seatbelts, speeding, cell phone use, etc. – and so, every day, we’re rating drivers on compliance or non-compliance with certain behaviors that we deem important.”

Each driver is regularly scored on his/her improvement against the scorecard criteria. SmartDrive personnel review all of the video from Conico’s fleet and provides those segments that show violations, which are used in coaching drivers. “This is a great benefit, because we don’t have to weed through hours and hours of routine video.”

Safety scores are tracked so that Dave and his team can compare driver and fleet improvement over time. If a driver is having problems, he or she can be brought in and coached to improve the identified behaviors. The result is, inevitably, an improved safety score. “I know that we’ve increased our safety and our driver performance because we’ve seen our score come down.”

Conico management believes the performance scoring system—backed up by video—makes drivers better at their jobs. “Coaching with video is much more powerful than telling a driver what to do,” Mike Goldberg, Conico safety manager says. “It is more effective at correcting bad behavior. For instance, cell phone violations have been virtually eliminated. We saw one driver go from worst to best through the coaching.” And as Danny Baillargeon, Director of Transportation, stated, “We’re going to do everything possible to make sure our trucks are safe for our drivers, for our company, and for the public. We have a huge responsibility to the public hauling 9,000 gallons of gas down some of the busiest freeways in the country.”