Chris Chatfield, Managing Director of Compass Travel, the largest independent bus operator in southeast England, discussed the process that led them to deploy a telematics based safety programme, and the innovative working-group model they created to manage it.
“For a long time, our insurance premiums had been rising year after year, and I had actually resigned myself to the fact. I told myself that with more cars on the road, it was ‘reasonable’ to expect more accidents and higher premiums. But when we looked into it more deeply with our insurance broker, we realized that many of the accidents could actually have been avoided. So we decided to take action.
”At the recommendation of our broker, we took on a new insurer that required clients to deploy telematics to help reduce collisions. We embraced the idea with optimism: if such a tool could help us reduce our accidents, our claims would go down, and reduced premiums would follow. Everyone would win!”
We were able to negotiate a significant reduction in our insurance premiums – the first time they had declined year-over-year in more than a decade…
In 2017, following the recommendation of its new insurance company, Compass Travel deployed the GreenRoad Safety Telematics platform across its fleet. First, GreenRoad Edge™ devices and LED panels were installed inside the buses to provide drivers with real-time driving feedback and scores. These fed data to GreenRoad Central™, a web based portal used by Compass Travel managers to monitor safety performance via dashboard KPIs, alerts, exception reports and trend analyses.
Chris continued, “I was immediately impressed with the accuracy of the driver behaviour data provided, which helped us get broad buy-in from our drivers. In general, we work hard to establish a warm team spirit across our company, and the drivers appreciated that we were giving them a ‘self-help’ tool rather than ‘big brothering’ them. They understood that this was an empowering system that they could use to improve their own driving habits, potentially even saving their lives.
They could see where ‘events’ came from, and understand exactly how their scores were calculated. The detail provided was also valuable for our managers and team leaders, as it helped us fine-tune our coaching and training activities.”
From the beginning, Compass Travel sought the assistance of its insurance broker and insurance provider to help maximise the programme’s benefit. It established a working group with them and with GreenRoad, and began meeting on a regular quarterly basis to keep the programme on-track.
In parallel to the driver training, the company rolled out a simple driver incentive programme based on GreenRoad Safety Scores. To promote “friendly competition,” management posted monthly Leader Board tables of driver scores. In addition, the company offered drivers monthly bonuses based on their scores: each driver was given a base bonus if their scores were “green”, and an additional bonus if they achieved Fleet Elite, GreenRoad’s global driving excellence acknowledgment programme.
In addition, the company appointed one of its managers to take a hands-on approach to mentoring the drivers. “He meets the drivers, talks to them, and goes out with them if there’s a problem,” explained Chris. “We use the ‘carrot and stick’ approach. Red drivers are interviewed and retrained, and we make sure they understand the high driving standards that we expect them to uphold. Amber drivers are taken aside for a ‘quiet word’ and encouragement to improve. And drivers that are green get praise and a bonus.”
“The results of the programme have far exceeded our initial expectations and goals. Nonetheless, we continue to see improvements in safety and fuel efficiency, year in and year out.”
- Accidents: Compass Travel’s accident rate decreased by approximately 50% in the first year after deploying the GreenRoad Safety Telematics platform.
- Safety Score: Compass Travel’s average GreenRoad Safety Score improved by 45%, and is currently ~20% better than its original target level.
- Insurance Premiums: During the first three years that Compass Travel used GreenRoad, its insurance premiums remained steady, an improvement over the previous period, when they had been rising each year. Then, in June 2021, following a 50% reduction in accidents over the previous 12 months, Compass Travel was able to negotiate a significant reduction in insurance premiums.
This was the first time that its premiums had declined year-over-year inmore than a decade.
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