STC helps motor carriers develop and implement programs designed to improve safety and compliance. The call for this has increased as carriers begin ingesting more data sources and begin acting on the identified gaps and trends. The accelerating adoption of dashcams has highlighted the prevalence of hard braking, accelerating, or turning events and increased the call for programs that can effectively reduce their numbers, improve safety, and minimize risk. For some carriers, the solution is right under their noses, though they may be looking in the wrong place.

One recommendation to address these situations is to consider rolling out a campaign that encourages drivers to focus on fuel efficiency. That’s because the playbook for increasing fuel efficiency looks a lot like the playbook for managing aggressive driving and encouraging defensive driving. A few top tips include practicing gentle acceleration, anticipating traffic, keeping speed low and maintaining a steady speed (cruise control)  (which brings to mind this scene from the classic American Team comedy License to Drive, staring Corey Haim). Other tips include ensuring the vehicle is properly maintained and that tires are of the proper size and rating, and are properly inflated. Each of these practices also closely relate to safety and focusing on these through an incentive-based program that offers some of the fuel economy savings to the driver as a reward could be an excellent place to start.

But don’t just take our word for it. Research published in 2022 in the Transportation Research Journal confirmed this impact by finding a clear relationship between economical driving and traffic safety. The study followed three companies in 2013, 2018 and 2020. Two of the companies instituted active fleet management systems to measure economical driving between 2013 and 2018 and both enjoyed considerable reductions in crash risk (52% and 36% respectively) and an improvement in safety culture. Fuel is consistently ranked as a top expense for trucking companies. Given the tangible safety benefits from implementing a driver-based fuel efficiency program, it just makes cents to give some of this back to the safe and efficient drivers.