Client Success

SOUTHERN MARYLAND OIL CASE STUDY

Southern Maryland Oil reduces identified collisions by 59% with Lytx.

Result Metrics

86%

Reduction in
mobile phone use

69%

Improvement in
unbelted events

59%

Reduction in
identified* collisions

Problem

  • Risks associated with speeding and driving gravity-sensitive, highly combustible cargo
  • Business need to identify and resolve unsafe driving habits amongst drivers—especially those who were new on the job
  • Wanted to improve driver retention
  • Needed to limit liability, and protect drivers and the company after accidents

Solution

  • Rolled out the Lytx DriveCam™ safety programme in 2013 for Southern Maryland Oil's 120-vehicle fleet
  • Formally trained coaches and drivers on features, benefits, and ride-a-long demonstrations to ensure programme success 
  • Held monthly safety meetings to review the DriveCam® safety programme’s findings
  • Implemented driver recognition programme to reinforce good driving behaviours and assist with driver retention

Results

  • Confirmed concerns about driver speeding and risky driving behaviour
  • Reduced driving mobile phone usage by 86%, improved unbelted events by 69%, and reduced identified collisions by 59%
  • Eliminated “phantom damage” that previously couldn't be accounted for, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • Used the DriveCam programme as an ongoing training tool
  • Currently boasts a remarkable retention rate for drivers
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“If you really want to ensure you have a good safety programme, this is a tool you can’t live without. It makes your job so much easier and becomes part of the safety culture.”

– Frank Stone, Safety and Compliance Manager, Southern Maryland Oil

Industry
Distribution
Business Need
Improve Driver Performance

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The DriveCam Difference

Founded in 1926, Southern Maryland Oil provides home, heating, and fuel delivery service; HVAC installation and service; and transportation of gasoline to gas stations and convenience stores in the Baltimore/Eastern Shore market.

Safety and compliance manager, Frank Stone, ensures that the company’s 120-vehicle fleet of fifty Econoline service vans, sixty oil-delivery trucks, and ten propane-delivery vehicles all operate safely and meet Department of Transportation compliance standards.

“We take safety very, very seriously here,” said Stone. With oil and propane-delivery vehicles making approximately twenty stops per day, service vehicles making three to five stops per day, and most vehicles running year-round, they have good reason for concern.

Ensuring safe driving is a constant challenge, as is reducing frequency of collisions, gaining clarity in accident investigations, and limiting liability when incidents happen.

The Critical Need for Improved Safety

Ongoing vigilance around safety has helped the company attract good drivers and keep its frequency of collisions low. But it was important to monitor unsafe driving behaviours more precisely.

Speeding can be a serious problem for delivery drivers of highly combustible cargo, as can maintaining a safe following distance. Plus, according to Stone, “Propane trucks and tankers have a highly sensitive center of gravity—there’s very little wiggle room for error. The worst time for these drivers is the first ninety days on the job, because one mistake could be catastrophic.”

Southern Maryland chose the DriveCam programme to use as a risk management and coaching tool to monitor and change those unsafe behaviours. “The fact that it would enable us to prove liability in a major accident made it a huge selling point as well,” Stone added.

Winning Over the Drivers

Having worked with the DriveCam programme for twelve years at three different companies, Stone is familiar with its valuable contribution to creating a strong culture of safety in a transportation-based organisation. Stone said one of the keys to successfully implementing the DriveCam programme is to first “keep it positive and make it their friend.”

When Stone rolled out the DriveCam programme at Southern Maryland Oil, he took ample time helping drivers get familiar and comfortable with how it works, even taking rides in the cab and looking at video footage with drivers.

He then held monthly safety meetings to review the programme’s findings, both positive and negative. He emphasised to drivers the benefits of documented evidence to help exonerate them in incidents where they weren’t at fault, and looked for examples of what they were doing right to give rewards for good driving.

Stone strongly advises exercising patience in the implementation phase.

“Our drivers are a group of people proud of what they do, and they realise what they’re hauling,” Stone explained. “When you have a driver in his fifties who’s been driving for twenty years, he’s sensitive to criticism.” Stone added, “It takes thirty days to break old habits and change unsafe, risky behaviours. But changing the attitude of your professional drivers, if done correctly, can make a huge difference in the long run.”

The Power of Coaching

For Stone, one major benefit of the DriveCam programme is its use as an ongoing training tool to help identify and transform unsafe driving behaviour. Southern Maryland Oil boasts a remarkable retention rate for their drivers, many of whom had driven for 20+ years without the programme.

“Now the DriveCam programme is finding the problems,” Stone said. In fact, it immediately confirmed the company’s concern over drivers speeding and exhibiting other unsafe behaviours. Now, “The DriveCam programme is part of every safety meeting and every safety committee meeting. Everyone in the company knows what it is; it’s an integral part of our safety culture.”

Stone thinks one of the reasons the DriveCam programme is such an effective training tool is that drivers want to avoid having to face video documentation of things they did wrong. “What makes it so successful is that the drivers don’t want to put themselves in that place again.”

In fact, drivers are so motivated by what they see that Stone said that disciplinary action for unsafe driving is the absolute last step and is rarely necessary since coaching drivers after incidents makes them want to conform to improve skills.

As a result, the DriveCam programme has helped the company reduce mobile phone usage while driving by 86%, improve instances of unbelted drivers by 69%, and reduce identified* collisions by 59%.

Fortunately, Southern Maryland’s good track record with low accident frequency was further improved by using the DriveCam programme. “[Our insurance company has ranked us number two] for the least amount of money spent on accidents—I’m sure the DriveCam programme has a lot to do with that.”>

The DriveCam programme has also eliminated most of the vehicle damage they couldn’t account for before, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

The Bottom Line

“From the beginning, the DriveCam programme has been a major tool for our safety culture,” said Stone. “The whole way I train folks and implement safety would be changed if I didn’t have it. As long as you roll it out correctly, are transparent with the drivers about what you’re doing, set the rules, and have a thirty-day grace period, you’re going to improve your safety statistics.”

*Lytx has a strict collision definition, being when a vehicle comes in contact with another vehicle, property, person(s) or animal(s) and it appears to have resulted in human death, bodily injury, or property damage. A collision may be preventable or non-preventable.

service used

Lytx DriveCam Enterprise Programme

Our most comprehensive programme for improving driver behaviour and reducing collisions, claims costs, and fuel use.

More about the DriveCam Enterprise Programme

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