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Virtual Hazard Detection

April 5, 2018

Is Behind the Wheel Behind the Times? Part 3: Business Operation Considerations for Simulation Based Driver Safety

Utilizing Emerging Technology-Based Strategies to Ensure Your Fleet Drivers Are Operating at Their Highest Level TODAY’S DRIVER SAFETY CHALLENGE: The unmistakable objectives of fleet safety training are to protect the fleet of vehicles and reduce the crash rate of the drivers. However, fleet management is faced daily with competing directives which make these goals difficult to achieve. For instance, you are challenged to also increase “on the job” time while decreasing training costs which unavoidably affects the quality of the training you can provide. . . or does it?   Behind the Wheel Coaching:   Conducting an instructor-led drive along can be a good way to assess and develop certain crash avoidance skills. However, instructors cannot control what hazards will and won’t happen during the drive. Nor can they control weather, pedestrians, or distractions in a “live” driving situation. So in essence, none of the situations that pose the greatest risks can be taught – unless it is during simulation.  Additionally, redundant refresher training as part of behind the wheel training provides little incremental increase in attention, knowledge or skills for those who already drive for their job.   Driving Simulator Training:   Benefits of Simulation-Based Driver Training:   Management Reports: Key metrics need “to get measured in order to get done”. Simulators track employee progress and require them to demonstrate proficiency objectively.   Distracted Driving Lessons: Simulators put employees in distracted driving situations and allow them to live through the consequences. Proven behavior modification techniques will reduce the liability exposure for your company.   Engaging Training: Simulators provide a multi-sensory experience (drive, listen, speak, look, react) reinforcing learning and translating to more effective training in less time.   Training in Hazardous Situations: Simulators allow the driver to practice techniques in a variety of real world situations that would be impossible to generate in a traditional, behind-the-wheel training course such as day/night, in a wide variety of weather (fog/thunderstorms/snow) and on different road types including highways, parking lots, etc.. Additionally putting the driver into hazardous situations such as skidding/hydroplaning and overcorrection is safe only on a simulator.   Portable, Self Contained & Self Paced: Today’s simulators are implemented easily with no instructor supervision needed. They are often portable so they can move around to branch/region locations to efficiently train employees with less work disruption. Better yet, simulators are now reasonably priced so organizations can purchase enough so movement is unnecessary.   Complements Other Safety Programs: Simulators convert classroom or web based ‘education’ into meaningful training providing teachable moments that change behavior.  
pseg logo“The Virtual HD simulator allows us to address driver safety in a new and exciting forum, as opposed to the traditional meeting forum, to continue to drive our safe driving focus.  Since the simulator is portable, it also allows us to save on travel expenses by bringing the simulator to employees, which helps us logistically.  The virtual lessons compliment and parallel our current Smith System driving philosophy giving us a more consistent safe driving message. – Dan Diamond, Site Supervisor PSE&G
Multiple Vehicles to “Drive”: Simulators offer a wide variety of vehicles so the employee can train in a vehicle they drive for their job. aerial red green cues highway Advanced Teaching Techniques: Simulators allow situations to be replayed, be in slow motion, from aerial perspectives and x-rayed (to see objects on other side of hazards).   To summarize, by leveraging the power of emerging technology-based safety training, Operations Management can maintain a safe and risk-free fleet operation while also improving the bottom line.   by Bob Davis & Pam LeFevre, VDI

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March 19, 2018
car crash

Is Behind the Wheel Behind the Times? Part 2: Financial Advantages

Reduce Crash Rates & Limit Liability Exposurecar crash Vehicle crash costs can be the difference between making and missing the number. So it’s not enough to provide the information – employers must be certain that the drivers learned crash avoidance and hazard detection skills necessary to protect the fleet. Evaluating Training Choices: Behind the Wheel: Behind the Wheel can be valuable in specific circumstances such as when an employee operates a specialty vehicle with unique characteristics like a garbage truck, semi-truck or bus. It is very valuable for novice drivers learning the basic handling of a car. But for normal adults driving for their jobs, there are much more effective ways of building their skills and keeping their attention. Behind the wheel training cannot be conducted for the higher risk situations that lead to crashes such as fog, night, snow or distracted driving scenarios.   Online Courses: While web training is simple, do “read and click” web-based courses truly translate to improved driving skills for adults? Online training is useful for novice drivers and is an effective, scalable way to deliver that information.   Driving Simulators: There is a long history of scientific justification for simulators and their value for training. Air Force, Marine Corps, the Army and Navy have trained their airmen, sailors and soldiers in the rules of engagement, judgment, combat, marksmanship and indirect fire on simulators. Likewise, driving simulators put drivers in dangerous situations and measure what they do to ensure competency. Also, there is compelling evidence that simulator-based instruction provides a high transfer of learning rate on new and experienced drivers.   US Post Office Case Study Andrea Maddicks USPSIn 2015, Andrea Maddicks, Transportation Manager at US Postal Office in Queens, NY/Triboro District, recognized the need for driver safety training for her fleet of drivers.  She turned to VDI to implement an innovative approach in reducing accidents in a cost-effective and engaging method.  After recommending and purchasing a VDI desktop driving simulator with the Virtual HD program, the Triboro District recognized a 7% reduction in 2016 in MVS driver motor vehicle accidents and has continued to see a reduction through May 2017.
“VDI’s driving simulators have proven to be a cost-effective and engaging way to provide refresher training before and after accidents to our Postal Carriers and Tractor/Trailer Operators", said Andre Maddicks.  "More importantly, the simulation-based driver safety training has considerably reduced accident rates in the Suncoast District during our trial period compared to the same period last year. In fact, we have had only one backing accident since we got the simulator in Tampa compared to last year when there were 26!”
Based on the success of the Triboro District simulator decreasing accident numbers, Andrea recommended that the Suncoast District in Tampa, FL pilot the Virtual HD program.   The pilot was proven successful in reducing crash rates and Andrea has now implemented simulation training in this district as well. So while you continue to battle the war between controlling costs and improving driver safety, consider the emerging technology solutions now available in your arsenal that will provide you with a tactical edge. Coming Soon:  Is Behind the Wheel Behind the Times? Business Operations Considerations By Bob Davis & Pam LeFevre, VDI

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March 13, 2018

Is Behind the Wheel Behind the Times? Part 1: Financial Advantages

Financial Advantages of Simulation-Based Training:  Part 1

Today’s fleet operations are assaulted on two fronts:  first, driver training is a time consuming and expensive ongoing effort and, secondly according to CFO Magazine, motor vehicle operation is one of the least accounted for risks in most industries.   Companies struggling with how to manage all of the costs and risks can enjoy dramatic improvements by adopting new technology-based training strategies.  These strategies can reduce the costs of delivering the training while improving driver competency.  Fleet organizations are asking how they can:

  • Decrease the time and cost of delivering driver safety training41688876_a2db48285a_o
  • Reduce crash rates and limit liability exposure
  • Reduce employee injuries and lost work productivity.
 Why is Behind The Wheel Training Less Viable Now?

Balancing an optimal solution will vary from company to company depending on the size of your workforce, nature of your business and a wide variety of other factors.  But all fleets are concerned about the operational and financial drawbacks of behind the wheel training:

  • P&L oriented senior management is demanding less “off the job” training costs.
  • New employees need to be trained right away versus waiting to schedule or travel to a class while poor drivers need immediate intervention.
  • Every driver needs to be evaluated consistently and fairly without supervisor bias.
With new technologies come new business models.

Historically driver training options were limited to either mind-numbing classroom lectures or costly instructor led behind-the-wheel coaching.  With either of these, the high hourly training costs required for paying multiple employees for multiple hours added up quickly – not to mention the loss of productivity and downtime.  In fact, the cost of training time is often more expensive than the cost of the training itself.

Training Delivery Cost Models Comparison
Instructor-Led Behind the Wheel Training Simulation Delivered Training
1) 4 hrs+ of a Supervisor’s Time 1) Initial System (estimated at $14K); 4 year life $291/mo
2) 4 hrs+ of Employee’s Time 2) 1 hr of Employee Time at Their Location
3) Multiple Days for Certification of Supervisor
4) Re-certification of Supervisor (multiple days)
5) License Cost of Training Course Per Person @ $250 - $1,000
6) Refresh Licensing Cost to Repeat After 3 Years
7) Using Fleet Vehicle for Training vs. On the Job
Driving Simulator Corporations wanting to cut training costs while also protecting their employees should enlist the current capabilities of today’s driving simulators.  While offering web training to your drivers, allows you to ‘check the box’ next to driver training, does it actually train your fleet and reduce risk?  Alternatively, driving simulators have been proven to successfully train fleets as well as keep the costs down.     According to the NTSB, “Simulator training can prepare drivers to respond appropriately to hazardous conditions and thus avoid accidents.” Part 2 Coming Soon: Reduce Crash Rates & Limit Liability Exposure by Bob Davis & Pam LeFevre, VDI

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July 12, 2015

Mass Transit Magazine

Mass_Transit_April2012_Press - Virtual Hazard Detection, Virtual HD®, product featured in Mass Transit magazine.
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