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3 reasons you aren’t measuring EMS driver performance...and 3 reasons you should

The industry is quickly realizing the value of real-time data. But not every agency is taking advantage of this opportunity.

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The following is paid content sponsored by Zoll Data Management

The safety of emergency drivers is a primary concern for every agency. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be put on the back burner, especially when more pressing needs present themselves. However, in the long term, the effect of collecting excellent driver data compound and reap large dividends.

The industry is quickly realizing the value of real-time data. But not every agency is taking advantage of this opportunity. Here are three common reasons agencies don’t track driver data, and the reasons they should.

1 Training is too expensive and we don’t have the money

Making do with a less-than-ideal budget is a reality for every EMS agency. While training is a necessary expense, there are ways to pinpoint where training is needed in order to reduce the overall cost.

According to Chris Anderson, Operations Director for Bell Ambulance, Inc., after initiating a driver safety program that included ZOLL’s Road Safety technology, the average rating for drivers (a number derived from the number of incidents/activations versus the number of miles driven by each driver) went from “3” at the beginning of the program to “9” (on a scale of 1-10).

In addition, having driver performance data means that you don’t have to train everyone. You can instead focus training on those who need it most and even focus on specific areas of performance that require more attention based on the data. Being able to hone in on specific personnel and areas of focus means that you don’t need to spend the money to train everyone. You can save money in the long run while improving your safety record. It’s a win-win.

2 My staff doesn’t like the “big brother” aspect

News stories in recent years have created a heightened awareness and fear of oversight, and many people have reservations regarding data being collected about them. But in the case of driver safety, it’s a net positive for both drivers and managers.

However, driver safety data isn’t used to keep an eye on people. According to Anderson, in a fleet of 42 vehicles, driver data is generally checked once a month for reporting purposes unless there is an incident.

But incidents are inevitable, and having actual data regarding an accident or crash is a great way to defend your personnel from liability. It’s the difference between dealing with a “he said, she said” situation and being able to say, “Our driver is not at fault, and we can prove it.” Having real-time data for drivers means that in the event of an accident, your agency will be able to clearly show they were operating within safe parameters and were not at fault.

On an organizational level, were an accident to gain media attention, it’s much better to be able to say to the press, “We’re going to look at our road data monitoring file and provide some answers” than it is to say, “We don’t know what happened.”

3 Maintenance costs are killing us

Real-time data tracking can significantly extend the life of your ambulance fleet. Safer driving means less wear and tear on your vehicles. It also means fewer fender-benders and accidents that cause damage and take your vehicles off the road.

Having to take an ambulance off the road costs time and money. If you’ve got a backup, it’s a time consuming task to move the inventory from the damaged vehicles to the stock vehicle, and if you’ve got a fully-stocked backup, you’re spending a lot just to keep it stocked when not in use.

If there isn’t a backup vehicle at all, you’re looking at two unattractive options: paying people not to work or furloughs. Both can be morale killers. In the long run, it makes financial sense to invest the money where it’s going to have the best effect. By using real-time data collection to pinpoint where attention needs to be given, you’re able to better allocate resources.

Said Anderson, “I was initially reluctant when it came to the price, but if you look at the maintenance cost, the decrease in insurance, and the lower liability overall – not to mention the savings on the cost in your agency’s image when involved in a crash – it was a no brainer.”