Kroger Safety Manager John Lobenberg spent 20 years in the Air Force as an in-flight refueling manager/technician, where “safety first” was a guiding principle behind every thought and every action.
Those same words drove him to adopt the Lytx DriveCam video telematics safety program to address a troubling trend in Kroger’s dedicated fleet of more than 1,200 vehicles.
“Liability spending was increasing year over year, and we’d just suffered three major driving incidents,” said Lobenberg. “Changing that trend was all about proactively managing driver behavior.”
After reviewing other safety programs, Kroger adopted the Lytx DriveCam program.
The DriveCam exception-based video telematics program combines video capture of road incidents such as hard braking or sudden swerving, data analysis of those incidents, and personalized coaching insights to improve driving behavior. Today, Lytx helps protect more than 650,000 commercial and government fleet drivers under its DriveCam program.
Kroger Logistics prioritized cities with the largest collision-related spend to pilot DriveCam and to help Kroger’s leadership team understand how DriveCam could deliver a healthy 3-to-1 return on investment.
“Kroger’s fleet and their drivers are brand ambassadors on the road each and every day, and Lytx gives us the tools to coach them,” Lobenberg said.
Within four months of implementing DriveCam, Kroger saw a 50 percent reduction in collisions, a 71 percent reduction in handheld cellphone use and an 82 percent reduction of driver-unbelted incidents, according to the company.
Reducing driver-unbelted incidents is critical, because drivers who don’t wear their seat belts are 3.4 times more likely to get into a collision than those who do, according to Lytx data.
Drivers Forget About the Camera
Lobenberg found the two-city pilot enlightening, and it helped him prepare for the full-fleet rollout. Among his key findings:
- It only took about a week for drivers to forget that the event camera was there.
- Having driver coaches is of utmost importance – “They’ve been there and they’re listened to.” That said, not all coaches selected have the same skill level and will likely need coaching themselves.
- An unanticipated benefit was reduced maintenance costs, especially with tires, because drivers were no longer “bouncing off curbs.”
- Video proved to be a high-value piece of evidence to exonerate drivers.
- DriveCam helps make recognition programs easy by delivering information on drivers who do everything right. “Truly good, life-saving driving is hard to observe,” said Lobenberg.
Lobenberg also learned that there’s a lot more risky behavior going on than he thought, from big risks such as distracted driving to minor risks.
“About 15 percent of our drivers represented 80 percent of our risk,” said Lobenberg.