The waste and recycling industry continues to seek ways to improve driver safety. Big or small, many U.S. waste companies have made safety a top priority and in many cases have turned to technology to monitor and track driver habits.
One of those companies is Mr. T Carting Corp. based in Glendale, N.Y. Since 1947, the company has been servicing commercial and residential customers in New York City as a family owned and operated private waste management recycling and garbage removal business. In its third generation of family leadership, the company offers a full range of waste and recycling services.
Mr. T Carting makes safety its top priority and continuously works towards a goal of zero accidents and zero injuries. The company’s drivers have won three Driver of the Year awards from the National Waste & Recycling Association in recent years. This is at a time when industry fatalities remain a key issue.
Part of the Mr. T Carting’s safety plan includes a video-based safety system from San Diego, Calif.-based SmartDrive.
According to Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive Systems, the company offers fleets within the waste industry insights into risk. Through integration to backing cameras, the SmartDrive platform enables fleets to validate compliance with standard operating procedures and capture loading and unloading events.
“Video technology has had a snowball effect on the waste industry. We consider ourselves one of the pioneers in the industry and we have seen the influence we’ve had through installing video cameras into our trucks,” says Paul Zambrotta, director of safety for Mr. T Carting. “The more people that install these technologies in their vehicles, the better we are as an industry. Video allows for positive reflections on the waste industry that a lot of people don’t see.”
The video-based safety system captures events based on triggers including speeding, collisions, hard braking and more. Zambrotta estimates the system has helped the firm save about about $50,000 to $60,000 in lower insurance premiums due to safer driving habits. Drivers and driver helpers who would have been more prone to violating company policies are now less inclined to do so because they know that the company can pull driving data, says Zambrotta.
“Since we have access to video that shows what drivers are doing at specific times, we can see if drivers are texting while driving or partaking in other unsafe or distracted driving habits,” Zambrotta says. “Our drivers can also manually trigger an event to help someone else’s case.”
Zambrotta says Mr. T Carting reviews the tapes and looks for behaviors that can be corrected. For example, if a driver is constantly braking, they are coached to avoid that to reduce wear and tear on the truck and promote safer driving.
SmartDrive’s video-based safety program and transportation intelligence suite’s video analytics platform identifies the driving behaviors that lead to collisions, determining when to record video events using proprietary triggering algorithms that leverage sensor inputs from a variety of sources. When an algorithm is “triggered,” the SmartDrive records an event that captures what occurred before and after the trigger point.
According to Zambrotta, installing video in Mr. T Carting’s fleets has had an impact.
“Apart from coaching events triggered from drivers, we are able to find other factors in these videos that help with operations,” he says. “For instance, we can identify if drivers and driver helpers don’t work well together, drivers that are driving with the radio on too loud, etc. Last year there was an altercation between a driver and driver helper and, after the driver filed a complaint, we were able to retrieve video footage and see who was at fault.”
Additionally, video has helped with maintaining Mr. T Carting’s vehicles. If drivers are going too fast or driving recklessly that can create excess wear. If a driver is making hard turns with an empty truck, it may not be an event that calls for coaching, but if a driver is driving recklessly with a full truck, it will need to be brought to the attention of the fleet manager.
Zambrotta says that the SmartDrive system has had a big influence on the overall culture at the firm. “When the first couple of accidents were recorded through SmartDrive cameras, we were less at fault than we would have been without the SmartDrive system, especially as the cameras record pre-accident events,” he says. “Now most of our drivers won’t take our trucks out if there are no SmartDrive cameras installed.”
Recently, SmartDrive released two new segments to its suite, SmartIQ Segmentation and SmartIQ Beat.
SmartIQ Segmentation offers fleets predictive optimization strategies in order to help create individual, customized driver programs. SmartIQ Beat is SmartDrive’s new blog, which shares commercial vehicle industry insight and trends.
“SmartIQ Segmentation and SmartIQ Beat leverage SmartDrive’s configurable, open platform to deliver on the promise of big data analytics, and provide fleets with advanced predictive and prescriptive insights not available from other solutions,” says Mitgang. “With more than 140 million analyzed, scored driving events in the SmartDrive database coupled with continuous telematics data, SmartDrive’s high quality analysis provides deep situational and operational awareness to fleets across a variety of verticals, including waste and recycling.”