25 Sep Case Study: STERIS uses MVR monitoring to reduce risk and improve driver safety
Every year in June, Cleveland-based STERIS used to fly its high-risk drivers to corporate headquarters for a day of driver safety training. It was just 15 or 20 people – about 1 percent of those who drove on company business.
But it was costly and time-consuming. The company conducted Motor Vehicle Record sweeps twice a year, and it took several months to risk-rate each driver and complete the process. So nearly a year could pass between the precipitating driving event and the training in June.
“Then there was air fare, car rentals and one or two nights in a hotel,” says Bob Mossing, Senior Manager of Fleet Administration at STERIS, which provides infection prevention solutions to the health care, pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. “That’s a lot of travel cost – and soft cost too for the time we were taking them out of the field.”
Today, that practice has been replaced by a far more efficient program.
“Now, when someone moves to a higher risk rating, we find out right away,” Mossing says, and it triggers a series of automated events. The requisite communications with drivers, their supervisors and Human Resources take place. Drivers who move from low-risk to medium-risk are prompted to take relevant, self-administered online training. High-risk drivers get a 4-hour in-car training in their own company vehicle. No travel required.
The innovation that makes Mossing’s program possible is MVR Monitoring – powered by data from SambaSafety and a package of value-added services from Fleet Response.
Rather than running annual or twice-annual MVR sweeps for these STERIS employees, the program continuously monitors their motor vehicle records and automatically acts on new data as soon as it becomes available.
This capability is only a few years old, made possible through an evolving patchwork of enabling state laws. SambaSafety is the nation’s largest purchaser of motor vehicle records, and an aggressive innovator to normalize the varied regulations in order to make MVR monitoring practical.
Fleet Response, meanwhile, is an industry leader in fleet driver safety and claims management. In addition to handling accident claims and subrogation, its core offerings include driver risk assessment, maintenance of driver history profiles, safety training programs and a technology platform that provides customers with real-time visibility into every aspect of their program.
“Pairing SambaSafety’s data with our ability to customize highly responsive and transparent programs has created a new level of service for managing risk,” says Jodie Varner, Vice President of Client Engagement at Fleet Response.
STERIS has a global fleet of about 2,100 vehicles plus another 550 drivers who are reimbursed for using their own cars on company business. Among them, about 1,650 are licensed in states that offer MVR monitoring.
Mossing, who has more than 20 years of experience in fleet management and driver safety, joined STERIS in 2014. One of his first initiatives was to unbundle safety from the company’s fleet management vendor.
“We like to use the best in the industry,” he says. “Our fleet management company is still very important to us. But you want the right partners doing the right work. Fleet Response is an industry leader, and their management of the safety program has been worth it.”
Fleet Response conducts driver risk assessments for STERIS and manages license verification – one of the more time-consuming and frustrating pieces of the job, according to Mossing. It integrates other vendors into communications and data flows as needed, and provides visibility to each driver’s file through the Driver History Profile online portal.
Mossing had been waiting for MVR monitoring to become practical, and when Fleet Response rolled out its capability with SambaSafety in 2016, STERIS became one of the company’s first customers to sign on. Even then, monitoring was only available in 24 states, but it has since expanded to all but five.
Today, an MVR report is run when STERIS onboards a new driver. If something changes in that individual’s record, SambaSafety is notified by the state where that driver is licensed, which triggers it to run a new MVR.
Those results move seamlessly to Fleet Response, which in turn prompts any specified actions under the program as configured for STERIS.
For drivers who are licensed in the states that don’t participate in monitoring, Fleet Response still runs regular sweeps.
“We were among the first to get involved with monitoring,” Varner says. “Our goal is to make safety programs actionable, because that’s how you address corporate risk. Monitoring is part of that. It’s better information, served up faster, to make it easier to identify who needs training and attention.”
While MVR monitoring is still evolving, in just about any instance it identifies changes in individual driver records sooner than traditional MVR sweeps, and with less effort, according to Tom Gillogly, Director of Solutions Engineering at SambaSafety,
“The traditional method has a serious visibility gap that’s known to anyone with responsibility over driver safety,” Gillogly says. “If somebody has a citation or other safety event right after you’ve conducted your annual MVR sweep, you probably won’t find out about it for another 11 or 12 months. Even accounting for variations from state to state, MVR monitoring gives you monthly visibility – or better.”
That visibility makes other safety improvements possible, such as STERIS’s new practice of training drivers in their own cars right after any event that moves them to high-risk status.
“When someone learns that they’ve become one of our high-risk drivers, they’re probably pretty nervous about getting into their car; the next thing that happens could cost them their job,” Mossing says. “Now we’re following up with them right away and getting them scheduled to receive training in their own market and their own company car. The immediacy makes the training more relevant and meaningful; it’s better for everyone.”
8 key benefits of MVR monitoring:
- Risk mitigation and brand protection: Faster identification of drivers who require some form of safety intervention protects against accidents that can be harmful to the company brand. When combined with documented interventions, it also strengthens the legal defense when accidents do occur.
- Reduced workload: Continuous monitoring reduces the seasonality of annual or bi-annual sweeps – spreading the process throughout the year and potentially cutting the total number of records that need to be handled by staff.
- Increased automation of safety programs: Fleet Response was a pioneer in automating fleet safety programs by using its claims process to trigger intervention after a driver has had an accident. MVR monitoring allows automated interventions for risk factors even when they don’t result in an accident.
- Safer driving: SambaSafety’s Gillogly says that simply knowing their records are being continuously monitored can make drivers safer. “We find in cohort studies that there’s a 22 percent reduction in monthly violations, on average, for drivers who are enrolled in monitoring,” he says. “We know it can impact people’s behavior in actions that are highly correlated to accidents.”
- More meaningful training: Earlier notification about changes on an individual’s MVR allows coaching and training to take place closer in time to a citation or other event.
- Identifying those who shouldn’t be driving: Whether it’s because of a suspended license, a serious moving violation or a series of repeated behaviors, MVR monitoring helps to identify people who simply shouldn’t be driving under the company umbrella.
- Improved support for employees: The faster employees can be notified of problems with their driving records, the faster they can take responsibility for making necessary changes. In some cases – a license suspended for non-payment of parking tickets, for example – the employee may not even be aware of the problem. The ability to identify it quickly can help them remain effective in their work.
- Financial savings: Depending on a company’s current practices, MVR monitoring may cost more than an annual sweep. For Mossing, however, its most measurable benefit is the financial savings from high-risk driver training. “I don’t have to look any farther than that to justify it,” Mossing says. “With respect to the workload in my department, I just know we get a lot of relief from it, and that’s good.”
How the program works for STERIS
- The program is built around continuous MVR monitoring, with data from SambaSafety and a suite of value-added services from Fleet Response.
- Traffic citations and other safety concerns now trigger automated responses without waiting for the results from annual MVR sweeps.
- One outcome is that high-risk driver training occurs sooner, costs less and has more impact.
To discuss how MVR monitoring can mitigate your company’s risk, contact Jodie Varner, Vice President of Client Engagement at Fleet Response, firstname.lastname@example.org.