Virginia Eagle Distributing

CLIENT PROFILE / Beverage Distribution / 95

Why Virginia Eagle Distributing was Ready for a Video-Based Safety Program

Anecdotal stories of phone-related collisions within fleets are becoming increasingly common. Federal regulations surrounding mobile-device use are becoming increasingly stringent. Mobile phones and driving don’t mix. The combination can be fatal. It is undeniable.

It is also preventable.

So for Virginia Eagle—the largest Anheuser-Busch beverage distributor in Virginia and a company proud of its long-standing commitment to safety and compliance—reducing mobile-device usage by drivers was the impetus for implementing a video-based safety solution.

“There’s always room for improvement where safety is concerned and we knew we had an opportunity to further reduce the number and severity of accidents across our fleet.”

-Todd Hargest, director of safety and transportation for Virginia Eagle

Why the SmartDrive® Program Is the Smart Choice for the Virginia Eagle Distributing

As a self-insured company, Virginia Eagle is always looking for ways to reduce risk. So despite strict company guidelines around cell-phone usage, Virginia Eagle’s director of safety and transportation Todd Hargest remained concerned about the risks and liabilities associated with device usage on the road.

Hargest wanted his management team to be sure all their drivers were making safe choices while gathering insight into what was happening both on the road and inside the cab. However, his team didn’t have time to spend hours each day downloading data from a card, reviewing videos and sorting through which drivers needed to be coached.

After surveying the market for a solution, Hargest determined that the SmartDrive video-analytics platform was the clear choice for his team because it was the least time-consuming to use, while also being the most comprehensive and customizable.

“After looking at a variety of competitive solutions, we selected the SmartDrive video analytics platform because it offers a fully managed service.  It made our work simple and efficient, was easy for our service managers to incorporate into their existing management and operational environment, and SmartDrive delivered on its promise of seamless customer support.”

-Todd Hargest, director of safety and transportation for Virginia Eagle

Because the SmartDrive program handles Virginia Eagle’s data, reviews and scores triggered events, and delivers a “3-steps to Coach” workflow, the managers at each of the company’s six locations spend only five to ten minutes daily addressing the most significant incidents.

The company has customized the platform’s risk scoring to align with their top internal priorities and has implemented a 50-point violation scale that is used to both coach and reward drivers. In any one month, drivers who have no more than three 3-point violations and zero 4-point violations are eligible for a bonus.

While there was some initial skepticism from drivers when the system was first introduced, Hargest and his team took a proactive approach to rolling out the SmartDrive platform across the fleet, and communicated early on that the program was intended to protect and help employees. Both cab-facing and road-facing video are used to reinforce positive driving behavior during monthly safety meetings at each fleet location, and drivers have even started to engage in some friendly competition to attain the best safety score, adding an element of fun to the program.

Maximizing the Value of their Investment

Since implementing the SmartDrive video-based safety platform, Virginia Eagle has experienced notable safety improvements, including a 71 percent reduction in mobile phone usage and a 96 percent reduction in seatbelt infractions. Overall, their SmartDrive Safety Score has improved by 97 percent and mobile-phone usage has hit it an all-time low of two percent.

Not surprisingly, as safety has improved, savings have followed—specifically in the form of reduced insurance claims and costs, including an 18 percent reduction in the number of insurance claims and 35 percent reduction in the severity of claims within the first six months of use.

“The way I see it, being able to exonerate just one driver in one collision has paid for the system.  There is no question that we now have safer drivers and a safer fleet because of SmartDrive.”

-Todd Hargest, director of safety and transportation for Virginia Eagle

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