In 2013, the US-based Greyhound Lines Bus Company identified low driver retention rates as a key risk to their organisation.
Many professional fleets have high levels of driver turnover, particularly in the passenger and goods transport industries and in 2014 Greyhound identified a link between its new-hire drivers and high crash frequency. Between 2013 and 2014, 33% of all vehicle collisions involved new-hire drivers; the majority of these collisions were associated with driver behaviour.
Greyhound had a well-established and evidence-based training process that centred on driver knowledge and ability (i.e. road traffic laws and best practice). Post-recruitment induction and training was carried out in a ‘sterile’ training environment and/or under the supervision of an experienced driver.
This approach neglected to take into account the significant operating pressures that often influence drivers within passenger transport fleets, particularly bus fleets, including service scheduling; passenger interaction; and stressful driving conditions.
“The introduction of psychometric assessment to Greyhound’s recruitment and training process for new-hire drivers has proved an effective way for senior management to address poor driver behaviour as well as reducing the fleet’s collision rates.”
To determine how its new drivers would react to these pressures, Greyhound introduced psychometric assessment to its recruitment process in 2014, with the support of Gallagher Bassett Risk Control who provided risk identification and control advice, education and support based on scientific evidence.
Psychometric assessments were used in three key ways: (i) to target the training of new-hire drivers; (ii) to improve drivers’ awareness of their driving behaviour; and (iii) to enable drivers to self-mitigate risk factors by developing effective coping strategies that would help them deal with difficult and stressful situations.
In the first year that psychometric assessment was implemented, the percentage of vehicle collisions involving new-hire drivers reduced by 57%, and between 2014 and 2016 the number of crashes involving new hire drivers fell from 33% to 19%.
Following the introduction of the assessments, the worst performing area of the fleet (North Eastern USA), which experiences adverse weather conditions and high congestion levels, experienced a 51% reduction in collisions between 2014 and 2016. In New York City the number of collisions involving new-hire drivers fell from 40 to 7 over the same period.
In summary, the introduction of psychometric assessment to Greyhound’s recruitment and training process for new-hire drivers has proved an effective way for senior management to address poor driver behaviour as well as reducing the fleet’s collision rates.