Technology Providers Strive to Play a Key Role in Increasing Waste Industry Safety

Five years ago the industry was just proving cameras that record accidents and now they prevent accidents.

Waste and recycling technology providers see their products as playing a potentially decisive role in helping move the needle on the industry's safety performance.

For example, the use of video telematics can help identify a number of potential issues, including idling and distractions in the cab. Windshield-mounted event recorders can identify risky driving behavior. Side and rear mounted cameras give the operator views in his blind spots. And GPS services can make routes more efficient, meaning drivers are less likely to be rushing to completing them.

"We see two overarching technology goals in waste and recycling: safety and efficiency," says Del Lisk, vice president of safety services for Lytx based in San Diego, Calif. Lytx produces technology that can analyze driving and vehicle data to help with fleet management. "The two are not mutually exclusive and in fact, we know that safer drivers are more fuel efficient drivers," he says.

Curt Andrews, vice president of sales for Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Idrive, which provides professional video event recorders and services, says that technology offerings continue to evolve and improve and are increasingly effective.

"Five years ago the industry was just proving cameras that record accidents and now they prevent accidents," he says. His firm's product, the idrive X2, "now has live look0in capability that allows safety managers to securely login to their system and request an event from a specific vehicle while it is still out on the road," he says. Live GPS monitoring is also synched with the firm's video event records, which allows dispatchers to see where drivers are at any given time.

Improved sensors are another component of today's safety technology offerings.

"Each new data source combined with the data we already have from 50 billion driving miles translates into deeper and more precise insights to inform coaching programs," Lisk says. "In the future, as vehicles integrate more automated technology, our predictive analytics will evolve in tandem, helping fleets better coach drivers for the specific technology they operate."

The Lytx DriveCam program combines video capture of road incidents such as collisions, near collisions and aggressive driving, data analysis of those incidents, and personalized coaching insights to improve driving behavior to help prevent those incidents. Lisk estimates that collision-related costs can be reduced by up to 80 percent as a result.

"Waste companies are using the DriveCam program to identify the risk in their fleets, and leverage the video to help improve driver behavior and reduce collisions, as well as to reward and recognize exceptional drivers," he says

New to the waste and recycling industry, idrive's system is comprised of both hardware and software that work together to minimize accidents and increase fleet efficiency. Andrews says that reducing accidents is the best feature of this type of safety system.

"No driver should ever have to worry about whether or not they will make it home safe at the end of the day," he says. "Reducing the risk of accidents means increasing the safety for waste professionals."

Lisk says that for this technology to be effective the organization has to commit to implementing the insights and maintaining a keen focus on safety.

"We recommend sharing results of the program with executive leadership to keep safety top of mind with all levels of the company," he says.

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