SmartDrive will be installing its video-based safety technology throughout Swift Transportation’s entire fleet across the United States and Mexico. Although Swift merged with Knight Transportation in September of 2017, Swift is just now using the safety program already utilized by Knight.
Swift Transportation’s focus is to boost its overall safety capabilities, as it joins not only Knight but hundreds of other fleets that are currently using SmartDrive’s system.
“Smart Drive allows our drivers and fleets to clearly see and measure safety performance, which allows the company to foster meaningful ownership of safety performance,” said company CEO, Dave Jackson. “SmartDrive excels in aligning drivers, operations, and management around insightful and actionable metrics, allowing us to reinforce our safety culture of accountability throughout our entire organization.”
Swift Transportation believes this program will help its drivers to execute their own performance improvement through the safety score metrics they receive as well as the system’s helpful dashboard technology.
“Knight Transportation has experienced meaningful reductions in collisions rates since installing SmartDrive in its fleet,” said Knight-Swift Transportation senior vice president of safety and risk management, Brett Sant. “That experience was instructive in the decision, ultimately, to roll out the SmartDrive program within our Swift fleets.”
Once SmartDrive was implemented into the company’s fleets, Sant knew it would create a manner of individual driver responsibility for overall safety. “We wanted to create some useful and clear visibility,” he said, “so people can see how they are doing and improve.”
Currently, Knight-Swift operates a fleet of around 19,300 tractors and 68,000 trailers and containers. The Phoenix-headquartered company also has around 25,000 employees and provides full services in truckloads and logistics throughout the entire continent of North America.
“We are grateful for the work SmartDrive has done and the positive impact the SmartDrive team has had on our fleet’s safety,” Sant said.
Jackson’s goal for the company, from day one, was “to be the safest company in the truckload industry the world has ever seen. I don’t think that is mutually exclusive with being the largest and most profitable. For us, we define success as being the most profitable and safest company on the road.”
Because of this, company executives worked to “de-risk” Swift as much as possible with safety blueprints already in use by Knight. “We tried to learn everything we could [about Swift] and use the data to help guide what was working and what needed to be improved,” said Jackson.
From the beginning, the company’s top priorities were to establish driver training systems, as well as accountability systems, to foster a culture of safety among all employees.
“We started with the foundational part. Did we have the right people?” Sant said. “We had the right principles guiding what we were doing.”
This is when Knight executives focused on safety technology, and reached a decision in March of this year to replace the previous Lytx DriveCam technology used by Swift with SmartDrive.
Because Knight had been using SmartDrive’s video-based system since 2016, the company knew that experience was going to be “very positive” throughout Swift’s vehicles, Sant explained.
Jackson added that with the technology, Knight has had large declines in its DOT-recordable crashes, as well as insurance reductions and decreases in accident claims costs.
These positive changes came from both SmartDrive external recording cameras and driver-facing cameras. These are used in collaboration because “we don’t feel like an inward [camera] adds value or creates those conditions that are really critical to our culture at this time,” said Sant.
“It’s not the first step that you do to improve the safety of a fleet,” Jackson said of external cameras, “because anybody can go buy a camera, but not everybody gets the same results.”
SmartDrive’s user interface was a major factor in Swift deciding to implement the technology into its vehicles. The dashboard “allows us to not only see but effectively quantify how people are performing to create some visibility and ownership around performance,” explained Sant.
SmartDrive’s system monitors driver data, as well as the vehicle’s ECM, to spot unsafe driving behaviors (like speeding or following another vehicle too closely). A driver’s speed can also be measured in relation to driving conditions with an advanced feature of the system.
Then, SmartDrive calculates scores based on safety and gives real-time feedback to drivers. These scores are focused on safe behaviors as opposed to looking at all individual events that take place during a drive, said SmartDrive CEO, Steve Mitgang.
“The goal isn’t to have 10 less harsh braking events,” he said. “What you want is a driver to drive at the top of his game. Our score represents how the driver is doing, not just how much they did good or bad.”