How Social Sciences Can Deliver Improvements To Driver Behaviour and Road Safety

Dr Lisa Dorn - November 23rd, 2018

This year’s Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, centres around the theme of Bike Smart as they aim to raise awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists and motorbike riders in the UK. More than 100 riders are injured every day, often in needless, preventable crashes.

Though every year’s Road Safety Week has a specific theme, the message remains the same: to encourage safety for all road users – from drivers and riders to cyclists and pedestrians – in order to reduce the number of accidents and deaths which take place on our roads every year.

At The Floow, we were founded on and remain committed to our mission of making mobility safer and smarter for everyone, therefore road safety is an extremely important aspect of what we aim to deliver with our telematics solutions.

Research from social science suggests that simply monitoring a driver’s journey can be enough incentive to provide some sort of improvement in their driving behaviour. Over the last six years, we have seen this first hand through the data we have collected and analysed on behalf of our clients to provide them and their policyholders with unique insights into driver behaviour.

However, what we have also learnt is that although monitoring a driver can encourage behavioural improvements, we acknowledge that this alone will not have the lasting effect on improving their behaviour, and the safety of our roads, that is our aim.

As a result, we understood that we would need to employ a number of additional solutions in order to encourage sustained improvements in the longer-term.

Our initial focus surrounds improving a driver’s awareness of their behaviour through prompts and nudges which push a driver to view and act on their driver scores and the feedback which is provided to them in an accompanying app. We believe that this can help drivers to focus on dangerous behaviours and discover areas where they can improve the way that they drive in order to become safer on the road.

Our experience shows that those drivers who check their scores weekly show significant improvements in their driving behaviour and when rewards are added for significant or sustained improvements to their behaviour, we see an uplift in driving scores. This is where much of our focus lies.

Rewards have proven to be more effective than offering insurance discounts in encouraging score improvements; our research shows that providing regular, small value rewards can see an increase in driver scores by as much as 54% (for the worst performing drivers).

Finally, for the lowest-scoring drivers, we have developed driver behavioural coaching through our FloowCoach programme. FloowCoach was designed by myself using insights from leading research into driver behaviour to develop a programme which would encourage long-term sustained improvements to driver behaviour through a series of telephone-based coaching sessions with our trained behavioural coaches.

Our coaches recruit drivers to the programme and apply a number of behaviour change techniques to help drivers address and change at-risk behaviours using constructive personalised feedback and coaching.

Our coaches focus on encouraging drivers to self-reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and how to put into action specific strategies over the course of the programme. We work with drivers to help them understand their driving motives, provide advice on how they can improve their driving style and develop action plans and targets that drivers can work towards with the opportunity to earn rewards and incentives along the way.

Since launch in 2015, FloowCoach has proven to be effective and we have evidence of up to 30% score uplifts in cohorts of graduating participants who were originally in the lowest scoring decile of all telematics customers. This correlates to an expected reduction in accident frequency of up to 13 accidents saved per 100 graduates from our FloowCoach programme.

At The Floow, we envision a future where the number of accidents and deaths on the roads is much reduced. By combining social science insights and techniques with data science expertise and cutting-edge technology, we believe that we can deliver on our mission to make mobility safer and smarter for everyone.

To find out more about Road Safety Week, visit the Road Safety Week website.

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