In-Cab Video Safety System Reduces Collision, Cuts Insurance Costs For Foodservice Distributor

SmartDrive system helps British distributor save nearly $400,000 in insurance costs.

San Diego: An in-cab video safety system from SmartDrive has been deployed by Reynolds, the company that delivers fresh food to Pret A Manger and Pizza Express in the United Kingdom.

Reynolds wanted to reduce the collision rate among its 235 drivers by using the SmartDrive system cameras to record exactly what happened during the 15 seconds before and after an incident - giving fleet managers a detailed view of what led up to an event, and how to avoid it happening again.

As one of the leading independent distributors of fresh produce, chilled and ambient goods to the UK foodservice industry, Reynolds plays a vital role in satisfying the nation's appetite for fresh, high-quality foods. Reynolds fleet of 180 vehicles can be seen crisscrossing UK cities nearly every hour of every day delivering products from the company's National Distribution Center in Waltham Cross and its four satellite depots across the nation, according to interim fleet manager Steve White.

But rising collision costs were taking an ever larger bite out of the company's revenues, making risk management an increasingly more important part of overall fleet management. In 2009 the company deployed a video-based safety system from SmartDrive Systems Inc.

The SmartDrive Safety program uses in-vehicle recorders to capture highly detailed video and vehicle data during sudden stops, swerves, collisions and other events. Captured data is downloaded wirelessly and sent to professional safety reviewers who categorize and score the events according to 50+ safety observations. Supervisors at Reynolds then use these results to coach drivers, improving fleet performance and overall driving safety.

"It was a matter of changing the driver culture," states White. "Showing our drivers the impact of any unsafe actions was the first step in helping them change their mindset."

When Reynolds' drivers realized that the video-based event capture and coaching program was really for their safety, and that the video from the SmartDrive in-cab recording device can be used exonerate drivers when others are at fault, they quickly embraced the safety program, he notes.

"At SmartDrive our goal is to help our customers identify and reduce risk in their fleet operations, before they experience collisions or other serious incidents," said SmartDrive President Jason Palmer. "It's all about delivering the right information, at the right time, to the right people, in a cost-effective way. The experience at Reynolds proves just how effective a video-based safety program can be, and the positive impact it can have on overall fleet performance."

Has the investment paid off?

Since incorporating SmartDrive as part of the company's weekly collision reviews, White says Reynolds has experienced a 61 percent decrease in the number of collisions, and weekly minor damage costs have decreased by 50 percent. However, the most significant outcome is that the company has reduced its annual insurance costs by nearly $400,000 and these costs have continued to decrease.

This represents a better than 4-to-1 yield on the company's investment in the SmartDrive Safety System.

Although the company was mainly interested in reducing risky driving incidents and improving overall driver performance, Reynolds realised an unexpected benefit from the SmartDrive video capture system – improvement in claims resolution. With video documentation of collisions, there's very little to dispute, he explains, which speeds up the claims process and reduces fraud.

"SmartDrive is the best tool on the market for collision management and changing the culture of any higher risk drivers. I would highly recommend it to any fleet in the UK," White adds.