Scotts LawnService is a full service professional lawn and landscape company specializing in the area of fertilization, weed/pest control, and landscape services. The company currently deploys approximately 1,200 service delivery vehicles from 84 branches located throughout the United States. The company offers a wide variety of services such as lawn, tree and shrub fertilization, weed control, pest control (lawn and in home), aerations, over seeding, and landscaping services included mulching, edging, and irrigation systems.
At Scotts LawnService all at-fault vehicle accidents are viewed as unacceptable. Most service delivery vehicles are considerably larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road. Additionally, the weight, and thus the handling of the vehicle changes throughout the day so development of safe driving habits are critical to allow the drivers to react to constantly changing road and traffic conditions. Lastly, the service vehicles travel within neighborhoods where pedestrians and children are encountered. Training techniques, such as video and workbook training and commentary drives, were not sufficient in significantly reducing the number of accidents to management’s satisfaction. The company acknowledges that associates have developed routine driving habits over time and that some of these habits can lead to accidents. The company further realizes that these habits will continue or worsen until they are identified, the associate is retrained on the acceptable performance standard, and the associate is held accountable for their at-risk behavior. If this problem could not be solved, unsafe driving patterns would continue as well as unnecessary and costly accidents and injuries. Although the company’s toll free number was displayed on our trucks, calls concerning the drivers were infrequent and did not allow the feedback to be tracked back to a specific vehicle, branch or driver.
The company realized that the only way to identify the driver’s unsafe driving habits was to implement a program that would make it easy for neutral third party observers (other motorists) to report unsafe driving incidents.
In July of 2008, Jason Johantges, Manager of EHS&S Scotts LawnService and I spoke with Gina Lee, Senior Vice President Customer Relations. She explained in great detail how she felt Driver’s Alert could assist us with meeting our fleet safety needs. Jason and I were impressed with the features of the Driver’s Alert system and how they seemed to support the development of a more robust fleet safety program and overall contribution to driving the safety culture in the branches.
Gina Lee worked tirelessly with us to get the program up and running, while educating us on the system and the many benefits it provided. We found it extremely insightful to listen to the calls as they were received from the call center. It allowed us to identify with the emotion of the caller as well as use first hand descriptions to investigate the location of the call and validate the authenticity of the alleged incident.
Additionally, the training courses have been extremely beneficial by increasing driver awareness and with helping to change habits by setting specific performance expectations. Each course is assigned based on each incident cause. Additionally, the training courses have been used proactively by assigning training to the drivers to address negative trends, increase awareness and alter behaviors prior to receiving a call from the public.
The reporting tools are robust and easy to use. They allow us to identify the leading causes of calls by branch, region or division. We can quickly identify at-risk branches to schedule visits, and identify repeat offenders within these branches.
Within the first 60 days of launching a new comprehensive fleet safety training program that utilized the Driver’s Alert program as a key management tool, Scotts LawnService began to experience a shift in driver behavior in the field. The drivers began to see management’s commitment to safe driving when they were assigned immediate training on their incidents and were held accountable for their at risk behaviors and as well as receiving coaching on future expectations. The drivers also began to realize that the other motorists had expectations of their driving behaviors now that calls were being made to Driver’s Alert to report unsafe driving incidents.
Senior Specialist EHS&S