Using Real-time Driver Coaching to Obtain Better Fuel Economy from Under Performing Trucks

Today’s post is written by Chad Kosterman, LinkeDrive’s Director of Client Services and Operations.  Chad manages all customer service activities including onboarding and driver coaching.

Two of the leading concerns faced in the trucking industry today are ways in which to improve fuel efficiency and retain drivers. In this industry, drivers face long hours and difficult challenges in their travels, so drivers often leave one job for another when they become dissatisfied with the compensation or their relationship with fleet managers. At the same time, with the high dependency on fuel, trucking companies need to deploy solutions that help them increase MPG rates. While truckin­­g companies have used solutions to gauge fuel efficiency for some time now, most of these are antiquated and provide unreliable data or information that is weeks or even months old.

LinkeDrive, an emerging technology company based in Boston, has created a mobile solution for the trucking industry called PedalCoach® that leverages a cloud-based platform to provide real-time, adaptive feedback for improving fuel efficiency and safety. The patented and proprietary algorithms in PedalCoach sets a unique fuel target for each driver communicated in a simple red-yellow-green interface that allows drivers to earn “points” for achieving optimal behaviors and patterns. Companies can then leverage LinkeDrive’s patented scoring of driver performance to provide fair and equal pay-for-performance incentives to drivers based on how hard they are working to attain the best in class fuel efficiency. In doing so, LinkeDrive helps to improve driver retention metrics measurably across its user-base.

Steve Page, Vice President of Safety for Transport Distribution Company (TDC) of Joplin, Missouri, has been leveraging PedalCoach and it’s patented in-cab fuel efficiency coaching technology since 2013 to help drivers that are struggling, assisting them in improving their MPGs, and to ultimately help them achieve their fuel bonus.  Aaron Huff from Commercial Carrier Journal first covered the success here.

Peggy at Transport Distribution Company in Joplin, MO
Peggy at Transport Distribution Company

When Steve presented driver Peggy McCullah with the challenge of testing the PedalCoach application on one of the fleet’s historically lowest MPG performing tractors, she happily accepted the challenge. Peggy is a veteran truck driver with over 10 years in the industry and well over a million miles under her belt. Having spent many of those years as an owner-operator, Peggy is intimately familiar with importance of fuel efficiency.

“While I had used PedalCoach to improve and report on the performance of drivers who typically did not have the most fuel efficient driving records, I was curious to see how Peggy would do on a truck that typically performed poorly for fuel efficiency among several other drivers,” said Page.

Up for the challenge of using PedalCoach, McCullah jumped into the tractor that had performed at an average of 6.65 MPG. Peggy quickly took to the intuitive nature of the PedalCoach gauge, with the core focus of doing her best to keep the gauge “in the green.” PedalCoach immediately showed her some of the bad habits that she had picked up over the years.

“PedalCoach provided me with clear visibility into my problem areas, and showed ways that I could be a more fuel efficient driver,” said McCullah. “I love this tool and believe it should be in every driver’s cab, regardless of your level and how good you are performing today. PedalCoach can help you become a better and more fuel efficient driver.”

After of a month of driving with PedalCoach, McCullah brought the tractor back into the TDC’s garage for the standard maintenance and DDEC® download. Since she had been assessing her ongoing progress through PedalCoach’s reports, McCullah had an inkling that she performed much better. However, even she was surprised by the results that were shown to her by the technician performing the DDEC download. The tractor that had previously averaged a low of 6.65 MPG across multiple drivers now touted an average of 8.3 MPG for the past month.

“When the technician asked in amazement how I was able to go from 6.65 to 8.3 MPG, I pointed to the PedalCoach and said that tool right there is what helped me do it,” said McCullah. “I gave him an overview of PedalCoach and how I used it to reach the 8.3. He responded ‘Wow, that is amazing!’”

When asked for any closing thoughts on PedalCoach, McCullah smiled and said, “I’ve been driving for over 10 years and well over a million miles, and PedalCoach has helped improve my driving everyday… I love the impact it has on my fuel bonus!”

Based in Boston, Mass., LinkeDrive is committed to helping trucking and logistics companies improve fuel efficiency, heighten safety, and increase the retention rates of their drivers. The company’s combined expertise in cloud-based, mobile technology and the trucking industry helps to deliver solutions that accurately measure, coach and report on vehicle dynamics, fuel usage and driver performance. For further information, please visit http://www.linkedrive.com/.

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