City of North Miami Improves Safe Driving Behavior & Reduces Vehicle Accidents

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By Chris Kittleson, Sr. Safety & Risk Management Consultant - Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc.

The City of North Miami, under the direction of Karen Muir, Risk Manager, has implemented the Lytx DriveCam system in order to promote safer driving by employees as well as reduce the number of accidents of City vehicles. The program was selected as a risk management and safety tool to complement and enhance existing fleet controls which, in addition to the Lytx DriveCam system, provide for the use of Accident Review Boards for both Police and Non-Police vehicles as well as proactive claims management to achieve positive outcomes.

As with any program implementation strategy, North Miami Risk Management conducted an eight month pilot program utilizing the Lytx DriveCam system on 100 City vehicles. The goal of the pilot program was for Risk Management to be able to better document and evaluate the incidents of poor driving by employees and to assist them in improving driving behavior, to promote and encourage safe driving skills and to significantly reduce the possibility of preventable accidents while operating City vehicles.

The pilot program included employees from the City’s Parks and Recreation, Public Works departments as well as Staff from City Hall. The pilot program resulted in the following remarkable reductions in vehicles collisions, traffic violations and unsafe driving behavior by City employees:

  • 74% decrease in collisions (accidents)
  • 42% reduction in driver-unbelted violations
  • 13% reduction in traffic violations
  • 45% reduction in late-response violations

As part of the implementation phase, Risk Management formalized the program by developing an Administrative Regulation providing for general guidelines, procedures, roles and responsibilities and legal implications associated with the Lytx DriveCam system. A quote from the City’s Administrative Regulation provides for an excellent summation of the program’s intent:

“The safety and well-being of all employees is the number one value of the City of North Miami. To that end, the DriveCam vehicle safety system has been implemented as a risk management and safety tool utilized to prevent risky driving habits. The end result helps to identify, prioritize and correct the cause of poor driving habits. The end result is an enhanced safety culture that reduces preventable vehicular collisions and fraudulent claims while saving lives and preventing injuries. Although the program is not intended to be punitive, repeated risky behaviors following coaching and any driving that results in unsafe practices that may put the operator, other employees or the community at risk, may be subject to disciplinary action. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to change behavior, not to punish.”

In order to understand how this goal is ultimately achieved, a review of how the system works would be in order. The Lytx DriveCam system uses a palm-sized recorder mounted in the vehicle, wireless upload process and web-based review system. The system is designed to capture a short video clip with audio, only when activated by an unusual driving event, such as hard braking, sudden acceleration, swerving or excessive speed. The captured video is referred to as exception-based video that uploads twelve seconds of video (eight seconds before and four seconds after the event) when a risky driving event occurs. Additional optional features include the ability to monitor additional driving actions that include lane departure and following distances. Events are uploaded and analyzed by Risk Management, who provides the appropriate coaching directly or indirectly by trained coaches within each department with follow-up per the City’s Administrative Regulation.

The system can also be used to identify the City’s best drivers and reward them by providing incentives and recognition. The City of North Miami has utilized this approach in an effort to change the safety culture. Employees that demonstrate safe driving practices by having no recordable events on a quarterly basis, receive a Safe Driver Award and $10 gift card from Risk Management at their quarterly driver recognition celebration.

The City of North Miami, Risk Management Division, is very pleased by the results obtained from the Lytx DriveCam system. Not only is behavior changing, but costs associated with vehicle incidents have declined by 59% since the advent of Lytx DriveCam.

Not only is behavior changing, but costs associated with vehicle incidents have declined by 59% since the advent of Lytx DriveCam. The City’s Risk Manager, Karen Muir, would be more than happy to review the system in more detail and can be reached at [email protected].

Christopher H. Kittleson joined Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc. as a Sr. Risk Control Consultant in 2010 and provides Loss Control services for the southern Florida region. With over 19 years of safety & health consulting experience Chris has developed industry expertise in the areas of Construction, Manufacturing and USL&H as well as safety programming expertise in the areas of Safety Program Development, Return to Work Programs, Regulatory Compliance, Accident Investigation and Safety Training. Prior to working in the Insurance industry Chris’ career was with IBM where he held various Engineering positions. Chris graduated Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Technology, has earned his Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation, is a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and was awarded the 2014 Safety Professional of the Year Award by the South Florida Chapter of ASSE.