Case Study

Pierce Transit lowers risk and improves passenger safety by coaching driver behaviors

92%

reduction in rear-end collisions

$174k

reduction in claims costs in the first year

75%

reduction in incidents of risky behavior

Pierce Transit is a nationally recognized leader in the public transportation industry that operates transit services throughout the Seattle metropolitan area, Tacoma, and other urbanized parts of Pierce County, Washington.

Although Pierce Transit already had cameras installed on its buses, they did not prove effective in preventing collisions. On average, the Pierce Transit fleet was involved with two rear-end accidents per month. The cameras only recorded footage on physical hard disk drives mounted in the vehicles. If managers needed to review video of an event, they would have to manually download the footage from the hard drive and comb through hours of footage. Pierce Transit had only enough staff to collect and review video clips of collisions after the fact, much less view thousands of hours of video to find instances of risky driving.

What the organization needed was a way to identify risks ahead of time and coach drivers to curb risky behaviors before they led to collisions. With the Lytx® Driver Safety Program, Pierce Transit safety leaders were alerted to potentially unsafe driving events and were able to quickly access video clips anytime via an online portal and coach drivers to improve. Within the first year, this proactive approach helped Pierce Transit reduce the number of rear-end collisions by 92 percent, lower claims costs by 30 percent, and see significant improvements in driver performance. “Within a month, we saw a 75 percent drop in the number of risky incidents,” said Pierce Transit Safety Manager Reginald Reese. “It was like night and day.”

Coaching Drivers to Exemplary Results

After years of reactive coaching failed to significantly improve its collision rates, Pierce Transit leadership decided to bring on safety professionals with a proven track record for improving safety for both vehicle operators and the public. The team saw this as their first step--putting a system in place capable of consistently and accurately measuring performance and other metrics.

“With the previous camera system, all we could do was count accidents,” said Reese. “We didn’t have a way to identify risk and coach our drivers to improve before they led to accidents.” Reese and Jason Hovde, a member of Pierce Transit’s safety team, had experience with Lytx and knew how the Lytx Driver Safety Program could be used proactively.

To help build driver buy-in, Pierce Transit knew they needed someone with years of experience and training to guide the program. From a prior recruitment process for the Safety and Service Quality Administrator position, Pierce Transit selected Brentt Mackie, a current Safety and Training Instructor, who had more than 22 years of driving service and was a two-time International Bus Roadeo champion. Mackie focused on helping drivers hone their skills, build self-esteem, and change risky driving habits. Operators receive coaching about driving theory, following distance, and late response to hazards on the road. “We don’t discipline. We coach,” Mackie said. “It is a coaching experience that is making the driver better.

“Following distance, wearing seat belts, speeding — all of those have improved. We’re an overall safer fleet because of that. It’s been an incredible change.” 

 

- Jason Hovde, Pierce Transit

With data-driven driver coaching, Pierce Transit improved its record from 13 rear-end collisions in the six months before installing the Driver Safety Program to just one in the six months after installation, a decline of 92 percent. Correspondingly, claims costs dropped by two-thirds, saving an estimated $174,000 in the first year alone.

Hovde credits the decline in claims cost to better, safer driving. “Following distance, wearing seat belts, speeding — all of those have improved,” Hovde said. “We’re an overall safer fleet because of that. It’s been an incredible change.”

As a plus, the Lytx Driver Safety Program allows Pierce Transit the ability to identify not only risky behaviors but also hazardous locations. With this information they are able to further coach all their drivers about specific dangers to be aware of—and how to avoid them. In this way, data and coaching can reach even the best drivers and help them improve safety.

Reese believes Pierce Transit's dramatic results come from a driver-centric coaching experience and a new recognition program for operators. Alongside the Lytx Driver Safety Program, Pierce Transit also introduced a recognition program, issuing exemplary driving certificates to drivers who showed the best safety records and most significant improvements in curbing risky driving behaviors. The organization has issued 85 certificates thus far.

“Our drivers are starting to see the certificate program for what it is,” Reese said, “and they’re proud of what they’ve achieved. It feels great to see 75 to 85 percent of our drivers seeing positive results. And it feels great to see our accident rates go down.”

Problem

  • Stubbornly high collision rates
  • Drivers not wearing seat belts
  • Buses and support vehicles cornering unsafely
  • 19 speeding violations during benchmark period

Results

  • 75% reduction in incidents of risky behavior
  • 90% reduction in unbelted drivers
  • Only two speeding violations in three months after introducing the Driver Safety Program

Solution

  • Use the Lytx® Driver Safety Program to identify and record risky behavior
  • Coach drivers based on recorded events
  • Retrain drivers to instill safe driving practices

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We’ve delivered incredible results for our clients for more than 20 years.