WHY GIVE SAFETY BONUSES?
Safety bonuses serve as a clear benefit for drivers: money! The opportunity to bring in additional income is incentive enough for drivers to “care more”, and actively improve their driving. This leads to increased safe driver habits, which nets drivers their desired bonus.
For the company, the decision to administer safety bonuses to qualified drivers is basically a simple cost-benefit analysis. Safe driving leads to mitigated risk of an accident, which yields savings to the company in several forms.
These include reduced insurance premiums, litigation costs stemming from at-fault accidents, and the numerous resources needed to continuously re-train (and possibly re-hire) poor drivers.
But do the fiscal benefits outweigh the costs of administering bonuses?
To that end, it is imperative that a Safety Bonus program be administered properly. Bonus amounts must be desirable, with clear “safety score targets” in place for drivers to meet and exceed.
CSA POINTS SYSTEM
Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is the FMCSA safety compliance and enforcement program. Since it holds drivers (and motor carriers) accountable for their performance, it is an effective tool to structure a Safety Bonus policy around.
“CSA points” are administered as negative points for poor driver technique; for instance, speeding warrants CSA points. ZERO is a perfect score, since there were no violations to warrant points!
Poor driving activity creates undue risk for the driver, the company, and other vehicles on the road. Some actions are more severe than others, and as such are worth more points. For instance, texting while driving and speeding are worth more points than looking out the side window (even though this is still distracted driving).
Consider the following case study, as shown through the DriveCam (Lytx) dashboard:
The driver is making several critical mistakes here, as recognized by the left-hand side of the dashboard. She is clearly distracted, looking out the driver side window as traffic has slowed up ahead. This distraction leads to an increased risk of an accident, whether she rear-ends the car in front of her or is unable to notice another vehicle attempting to merge into her lane.
These poor behaviors lead to the administration of a ‘3’ score. While not considered as serious as the multiple speeding violations (‘5’ score each), it is nevertheless something that requires fixing. It obviously hurts — or eliminates — drivers’ chances of receiving a safety bonus for the period.
Below is a similar case study, seen through the SmartDrive dashboard:
Much like the previous example, this driver is also distracted and has taken his eyes off the road. But he is doing so to use his phone (presumably texting). This is a serious offense, and the event was cited as a violation worth 350 points.
If you read the above case studies to focus on the point system, then you may be wondering: “How can a similar event be worth 3 and 350 points on two different platforms?” While the point systems used by the two platforms are different, the final “safety score” is common. Data collected from the in-cab camera system used (SmartDrive, DriveCam, or otherwise) is used to determine safety score, so the exact calculation depends on the data.
Here is a proposed Safety Bonus guideline. This is derived from the SmartDrive system.
In order to qualify for the Safety Bonus, you MUST meet ALL of the following criteria:
You must work at least 18 days in the bonus period.
You must have a Safety Score between 0 – 40. (Zero is a perfect score)
You cannot have any preventable accidents, tickets, warnings, or DOT/ FMCSA inspection violations.
Safety Score (Range) Mileage Drivers Hourly Drivers
0 - 20 $0.03/mile $1.50/hour
21 - 40 $0.015/mile $0.75/hour
This is a simple but effective guideline. Clear, attainable parameters are set for drivers to attain the safety bonus, and the bonus amount is both desirable for the drivers and affordable for the company.
Compliance is key, and failure to maintain compliance can be very costly to your company.
Consider the benefits of a Safety Bonus system, and help make unsafe driving a thing of the past!