Fleet Services

Introduction | Fleet Applications | Loss Prevention | Assessment Variables | Assessment Conditions | Signing Authority Program
 

Introduction

DCA operates through a network of Professionals called Service Providers.  Service Providers offer comprehensive one on one assessing by highly trained assessors in order to find the areas that a driver may improve on.  The driver receives both a verbal and written report of the test results, the company or organization will also receive a written report.  A full service Service Provider deals with loss prevention, remedial training as well as the basic assessment protocols.  Data can be generated to profile the entire fleet as well.  This allows a fleet to measure the effectiveness of new or existing programs.

Assessments can be made on all vehicle types, from compact cars to tractor trailers and are comparable due to the standardization of the tools.

How the DCA helps Fleet Managers

  • Pre-hiring
  • Evaluating your training program
  • Cost-benefit training allocation
  • Targeting weak areas in your fleet
  • Reducing risk through systematic measurement
  • Hiring the best trainers & providing support for them through ongoing training
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What fleet applications exist for the Driver Competency Assessment?

For fleet managers and loss prevention specialists the DCA2 may be a particularly useful tool in controlling crash rates and lowering both overall and individual risk as well as reducing driver stress.  While there have been many protocols, courses and assessment strategies developed by DCA the most commonly used one is the DCA2, the on-road measure of a driver’s crash potential.

A composite profile of a fleet is generated after a number of drivers have been assessed which gives a clear indication of how the fleet is performing.  Alternatively, the drivers can be grouped by particular criteria (district, age, etc.) to profile particular segments of a fleet.  These group profiles can identify loss potential or particular areas of concern for the fleet as a whole in the same way that the DCA2 profiles the individual driver.  Loss prevention strategies can be implemented that allow training and remediation to be targeted where it is most needed and the process will highlight other contributing factors in the crash picture for a fleet.

The DCA2 is useful in identifying how well a training program is achieving its objectives either overall or with particular individuals.  This sophisticated analysis will assist in targeting training or remediation measures (or other interventions) to meet specific risk reduction objectives or to identify problem areas either individually or for the whole group.

The effects of remedial intervention on actual driver performance may be measured and monitored.  The ability to identify who needs what remediation enables maximization of training budgets.  Training dollars are spent where they give the most benefit.

When used as a pre-hire measure the DCA is a valuable tool to screen applicants for driving positions by profiling their basic driving abilities and risk management skills.  It provides a method of insuring that the prospective employee meets criteria set by the fleet manager.  Under some conditions identified driving deficiencies can be remediated through training at the expense of the potential employee prior to being hired.

This alleviates many of the initial and ongoing training costs leaving training dollars to be spent on more job specific driving skills.  Recently a study showed that there are great savings to be made using systematic measurement and remediation, MacNeil 1999, Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference XI.

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Loss Prevention and Setting Criteria

It is up to the fleet to make decisions about how much risk they are willing to work with.  The DCA can give you a good indication of those drivers that are at greater risk than you may want to employ but there are other triggers that a fleet should be aware of as well.  One of the things DCA Service Providers are encouraged to do is involve the fleet in determining what constitutes a problem driver and how to deal with these employees.  In addition, many DCA Service Providers assess fleets for regulatory compliance and work closely with both the human resource personnel and managers in finding innovative strategies to put in place in conjunction with on-road training and in-class education.

If a fleet is experiencing a higher than expected crash or incident ratio it may not be just training that requires a closer look.  These incidents can be attributed to the driver only if the driver was trained correctly and was supported in making the appropriate choices.  Many times drivers have not been exposed to safe driving practices and strategies, corporate policies, etc. and should not be penalized for a lack of training.  If they do know better and don’t act accordingly it is the responsibility of the fleet to make sure the driver is supported and not hindered from acting appropriately.  Many times problems result from drivers being pushed by supervisors to hurry etc. so the supervisor can meet the expectations of management.  Therefore not only do drivers need to know how to do their job safely but the corporation must give them the motivation to do so.

Other common bad practices are vehicles which are dirty or in poor repair, lack of a good maintenance program, etc.  This gives the driver the feeling that the employer does not take their job seriously.  The entire group that functions as a “fleet” from manager to supervisor to driver to mechanic to cleaner has a part to play in making the fleet work safely, and this must be supported by a safe driving philosophy from the top of the corporate entity.  Often a fleet will not recognize negative contributing factors such as dispatch procedures, or corporate or departmental policies which affect employees.  All of these issues should be addressed since they have an impact on the performance and ultimate collision involvement of drivers and employees driving their own vehicles on Company time.

Developing a sensitive and professional ‘safe driving culture’ within the corporate structure is a complex and extensive mandate.  Often fingers are pointed at driver training as the only option to address crashes and incidents.  While it is a major component, and certainly one of the most important, if the philosophy of the corporation is at odds with the training drivers are receiving the training effect is definitely minimized.

A good driver education, training, awareness and professional development strategy should constantly be aware of the forces acting for or against all members of the fleet.  It should have the backing of their supervisors, managers and directors to implement specific strategies to enhance safety within the corporation.  The cost of not fostering this ‘safe driving culture’ through a systematic loss prevention program can be one of the highest expenses a corporation has.

Therefore when setting any criteria for either employees’ driving, pre-trip inspections, safety awareness programs etc. it is imperative that the fleet look at what the costs would be if the status quo were to remain.  Lost productivity, down time for vehicles due to poor maintenance or poor road use, repairs as a result of incidents, lost employee time etc. are costly.  In addition, the potential for liability is very high.  Corporations are expected to know the potential dangers and prepare their workers through instruction and training, and supervise their workers sufficiently to reduce the likelihood of such outcomes as well as to support the decisions their staff make when a safety issue arises.

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Assessment Conditions

Drivers are assessed under three conditions in all Level 2 DCA's regardless of vehicle type.  The three conditions are normal, driving with an external distractor and driving with an internal distractor.  The external distractor simulates the multi-tasking environment we all face from time to time and many drivers face as an integral part of their driving career.  For this component the driver self navigates themselves for a portion of the drive following a set of instructions affixed to the dash of the vehicle and pointing out a number of addresses. The internal distractor condition is simulated by having the driver count backwards by three's.  This is to simulate the effect of fatigue, impairment, stress, worry, poor health etc. that is an intrinsic component belonging only to this driver.   Each condition is counterbalanced so the analysis can determine what components of someone's driving is being affected by what type of task loading condition. 

Some segments are complex while others are more simple.  The computer analysis can then make determinations about how a driver is dealing with driving complexity.  The analysis then allows us to see the type of skills that require attention and/or remediation.

Assessment Variables

SPEED - SPD
Definition:  Speed is the appropriateness of speed choice given the circumstances and conditions at the time. Drivers taking into account traction, traffic and visual conditions score higher as do those that are independent of the speed of the vehicle ahead.  Higher scores are obtained by drivers choosing a speed so that their vehicle is strategically positioned to maximize the space safety margin as well as the time safety margin. A score of less than 5 would signify that the driver was travelling at a less appropriate speed (than the average driver) which could have been either too slow or too fast for conditions regardless of the posted speed limit. A driver is considered too slow if they force other drivers to pass them when the other drivers are not going inappropriately fast; or loose gaps because of not accelerating quickly enough to get into the line of traffic, etc. A driver is considered too fast if the traction conditions do not warrant the speed, they are pushing other drivers, the car goes out of balance on curves and corners, or the vision is not sufficient to make decisions with the available amount of information for the individual's level of attention dedicated to the task.
HEADWAY - HEA
Definition:  The distance a vehicle has between itself and other moving objects. Traditionally headway referred to the space that a vehicle had in the direct forward field whereas headway for the purposes of this assessment refers to the relationships between the driver's vehicle and all moving objects both that the driver initiates and ones that are initiated by other road users. Specifically the relationships between the driver and other road users are included in this measure.  The degree to which a driver attends to where other road users would normally be found such as checking blind spots etc.  Appropriate mirror use and self cueing for other road users are all accounted for in this measure.  The ability to prioritize relevant information such as remaining attentive to children or a cyclist should they be in any potential conflict with the driver.
JUNCTIONS - JUN
Definition:  Intersections and all conflict points that exist in the road environment such as cross streets and driveways, etc.. Conflict points for our purposes consist of any location where two or more objects or individuals traverse each other such as pedestrian crossovers and train crossings as well as roadway intersections. The interaction between the driver and the road system, their understanding of the rules of the road the traffic control devices that delineate responsibility and their ability to maximize safety margins through both the speed and the placement of their vehicle are considered in this measure as are their vigilance in appropriate glance behaviour.
VEHICLE HANDLING - VEH
Definition:  Traditionally this variable has been called vehicle sympathy; the degree to which a driver is "in sync" with the vehicle. Vehicle balance on corners, independence of functioning skills and smoothness of handling the vehicle in terms of interacting with the controls are considered in this measure. Smoothness of operation is an essential component of this measure in conjunction with control of the vehicle under varying conditions and speeds.
DYNAMIC SPACE MANAGEMENT - DSM
Definition: This variable is most closely aligned with space-cushion or safety envelope in the literature. The degree to which a driver (a) is aware of their surroundings, (b) understands the implications of the time space relationship and (c) optimizes space to the best of their ability for themselves and other road users. Drivers who score high on this measure use space well as a method of optimizing their safety margins. Creating space for both their own safety and the safety of others is critical particularly for smaller vehicle visibility. A driver's ability to maintain an optimum space independent of other road users is considered important as well as the ability to separate out hazards and deal with each as an isolated event. In these cases higher scores will be in line with the driver's ability to choose the less risky option in a complex environment and/or situation. This is a composite measure comprised of speed, headway, and junctions as well as the sophistication to use space to maximize all of these.
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DYNAMIC TIME MANAGEMENT - DTM
Definition:  In the literature this variable is most closely aligned to eye-lead-time or situation awareness. The degree to which a driver is (a) aware of their surroundings, (b) understands the implications of the time/space relationship and (c) optimizes time to the best of their ability. Drivers who score high on this measure use time as a method of increasing their margins by having more time to make decisions and more time to view the environment. Drivers who see and respond to situations developing ahead of the vehicle receive higher scores while those who are continually being trapped by a lack of time will be scored lower on this variable. This is a composite measure comprised of speed, headway, junctions and traffic control devices. Inherent in time management is the notion of judging motion and velocity and the ability to time maneuvers to coincide in space.

 

Signing Authority Program

In Ontario fleets have the ability to upgrade the licenses of their own employees by partnering with the Ministry of Transportation in a Recognized Authority Program. Under these conditions if the fleet wishes to have one of their employees become qualified to administer the program their trainer must take an approved program of courses.  If a trainer successfully completes the fleet trainer program with DCA they are eligible for signing authority status with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.  For more information concerning these training programs contact  DCA.
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Our assessments are done in many cities in Canada.  To find out the nearest location for assessments or to arrange an assessment for your fleet you may contact us.

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