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Reducing auto incidents takes a multipronged approach

By Connie Lannan

January 18, 2023

Matt Musgrove, president, Tejas Equipment Rental & Sales, San Antonio, has always implemented safe driving measures at his eight locations, including his three Big John Site Services. When he saw an increase in driving accidents, he knew he needed to do more — such as taking a greater multipronged approach. 

“We were finding drivers who were on their devices and not fully engaged in driving. Luckily, they have been minor incidents, but we live in a very litigious area, which compounds the problem,” he says.  

To combat this trend, Musgrove:  

  • Beefed up scheduled training. “We pushed the American Rental Association (ARA) Professional Driver Education Program and the other defensive driving courses, making sure every new hire takes it. They also go on a three-day drive-along with experienced staff. This is in addition to the weekly safety meetings we always have had and the morning huddles,” he says.
  • Implemented inspections. “Each week, drivers conduct a safety-point inspection of their vehicles on which they must sign off. This makes them invested in the maintenance of their vehicle and helps with accountability,” Musgrove says.  
  • Installed GPS on each vehicle that includes inside and outside cameras.We initially installed GPS on the vehicles that would monitor their driving, speed, where they are going, how fast they are going, if they stop too hard and such. That didn’t address the problem of whether they were texting and not looking where they are going, so we switched to another system that included cameras inside the vehicle as well as along the outside, back and side. The driver’s face is recorded, too. You can see if he is looking down or texting. We don’t have it live so we can watch someone, but it has a memory stick — like a black box. If there is an accident, we can pull that stick to see all the data,” he says.
  • Began real-time notification if the driver is out of compliance. “If the driver is speeding, an email alert is sent to our dispatcher, who can contact the driver to slow down — all in real time,” Musgrove says. 
  • Created a dashboard score for all drivers. “All of this information from the GPS system and the real-time notification rolls up into a dashboard score for the drivers, from zero to 100. They are given a safety number and are held accountable for that number. If a driver falls below that and is not maintaining a safe driving record, that individual is coached,” he says. 

“These efforts have been real game-changers,” Musgrove says. “While we are still fine-tuning the program, we have seen a positive difference. We are definitely on the downhill slide of claims and getting a tourniquet on it to get it back in compliance.”