Risky Driving Can Be Cut in Half with Monitoring and Coaching, Study Shows

Monitoring and coaching drivers on the job could reduce risky driving behaviors by half, according to a new study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Researchers discovered this by monitoring drivers in a fleet of oil and gas well servicing vehicles. When drivers of these light trucks were monitored and coached on bad habits, incidents of speeding and hard braking were cut in half, researchers found.

The study found that speeding events and aggressive driving dropped dramatically in the six weeks when drivers were coached and scored. Speeding events ranging from 3.6 to 8.7 per hour dropped to 1.49 to 3.61 per hour. Aggressive driving events dropped from .89 to 1.18 per hour to .41 to .59 per hour. Overall, the study highlighted the importance of accountability in improving driving behavior.

How the Study Was Conducted 

Researchers collected 3,500 hours of data from 23 pickups driven by employees who worked on 30 oil and gas well rigs in western Colorado and eastern Utah. Researchers installed monitoring dongles in vehicles driven by the oil and gas well service workers. Both drivers and managers were unaware the monitoring devices had been installed in order to ensure the researchers could capture true driving habits, uninfluenced by knowledge of the study.

The monitoring collected sufficient data on 21 of those vehicles, and researchers began actively monitoring four drivers who agreed to participate in a more detailed study. Researchers monitored drivers for six weeks. They intervened when drivers engaged in dangerous driving. Employees received a score of their driving every week during the six weeks and were given detailed information regarding the specific incidents of their dangerous driving.

After the intervention, speeding dropped by 60% and sharp turns and hard braking dropped by 50%.

Importance of Holding Drivers Accountable 

Researchers say that their results confirm previous findings by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which found that coaching is an essential part of any driver monitoring system. According to Virginia Tech researcher Andrew Miller, “The monitoring systems themselves weren’t necessarily effective on their own, but with the inclusion of some sort of accountability, then you see the change in behavior.”

Improving safe driving is critically important for the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas workers die on the job at six times the national average, and motor vehicle accidents cause 40% of those fatalities. Part of this is because workers in this industry spend a significant amount of time driving. For example, the study showed that workers drove an average of 147.5 miles to each worksite — nearly three hours of driving every day.

How the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, Can Help You

The research from Virginia Tech shows that monitoring and coaching can drastically reduce risky driving. This is promising information that could help make roads safer and reduce auto accidents in the future. Unfortunately, dangerous and deadly crashes still happen every day on Texas roads. If you have been injured in a car accident, you need to learn about your legal rights.

The Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, has been serving the El Paso community since 1987, and our attorneys are ready to help you with your case. Contact us now for your free consultation.