No matter what course the pandemic takes, waste haulers will continue to do everything it takes to maintain their regular routes in the safest way possible. Implementing video telematics technologies, driver coaching and MV+AI innovations will go a long way toward safely staying in front of environmental changes.
By Ryan Brandos
With the pandemic stretching into 2022, the waste disposal industry faces new challenges related to the continued disruptions created by COVID-19. While the industry remains a leader in fleet safety, the changing environment around waste collection spurs the need for even greater vigilance.
A sobering finding is that between 2019 and 2020, there was nearly a 200 percent increase in the number of pedestrian and bicycle incidents in residential neighborhoods.1 This increase is likely due to more people working and staying at home.
Although COVID-19 generally reduced the number of miles and routes driven in other transportation and services sectors, waste collection activity has remained consistent. No matter what, folks still need their garbage and recycling picked up.
Waste companies rely on established video telematics technologies to increase safety and efficiency and coach driver
behavior, and eagerly adopt new machine vision and artificial intelligence (MV+AI) technology innovations under development.
Safety Trend Improvements and Challenges
A positive industry trend is that in 2020, there was a decline compared to 2019 in risky driving behaviors such as late response, falling asleep, unsafe following distance, and “unsafe and unnecessary” (when a vehicle is traveling over 15 mph with a helper-rider hanging off the foot and handrail on the back of the truck, rather than in the cab). In the past, these actions were the most frequently observed unsafe behaviors. Despite the demands placed on drivers, the waste industry experiences nearly half the drowsy and falling asleep risky behaviors compared to the other transportation sectors.
Waste companies tend to intercede aggressively when video safety telematics detects drowsy driving. Such interventions include referrals to sleep apnea clinics to prevent potential significant incidents in the future.
Some of the challenges in waste collection include a significant increase in pedestrian and cyclist incidents, increases in cell phones usage and incomplete stops. In addition, animal strikes are higher than other transportation segments, mainly attributable to the early hours waste haulers are on the road. Using video telematics can mitigate these challenges.
Using Telematics for Safety and Efficiency
Waste disposal companies have long enjoyed the safety and bottom-line benefits of video telematics, which combines video data, computer vision technology and vehicle data to deliver insights that telematics alone cannot.
The waste industry’s early adoption of telematics historically separated them from other transportation segments such as trucking or distribution. But the other segments are catching up. The global market for video telematics is expected to grow 23 percent every year through 2023 as more companies adopt the technology, according to Frost & Sullivan.2
The return on investment in video telematics for safety and driver exoneration can be significant. The reduction of risk for waste drivers means lower collision and claims costs, which, in some cases, could add millions of dollars back to the bottom line.
Plus, video can be applied beyond safety to operational and commercial purposes by helping provide proof of pickups and evidence of overloaded dumpsters, reducing the need for return trips and providing the ability to bill for extra tonnage. The major telematics technologies and tools are:
• Engine Control Modules (ECM). Measure speed, odometer, brake use, engine oil pressure, engine temperature and diagnostic trouble codes.
GPS Tracking. Can pinpoint, at any time, a vehicle’s location speed and location relative to the geofences.
• Video Cameras. Record driver reaction and behavior before and after an incident, road conditions, other vehicle behavior and cargo status.
• Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Measure following distance, other vehicles, and objects on the road, and detect late departure.
• Electronic Logging Devices (ELD). Log date, time, location, engine hours, vehicle miles and driver identification information, including authenticated user, vehicle and motor carrier.
• Asset Tracking. Monitors and tracks an organization’s equipment and other physical assets using electronic tags attached to equipment or GPS or radio-frequency identification to pinpoint a location.
MV+AI: The Next Leap in Safety and Productivity
MV+AI is a game-changer in helping to identify risky behavior inside the cab. Machine vision can see and recognize objects and behavior through images, using the video feed itself as a sensor. At the same time, artificial intelligence can process and analyze information from multiple sources to determine the likelihood that a particular event or behavior occurred. Fleets with MV+AI in-cab alerts allow drivers to self-correct in the moment, providing real-time feedback and helping to prevent collisions.
Compared to accelerometer triggers alone, MV+AI allows fleet managers to identify and significantly reduce risk inside and outside the vehicle. A 1,500-unit study of different transportation sectors on the increased efficacy of capturing targeted behaviors showed that MV+AI improves the detection of:
• No seat belt—identified 397 percent more
• Unsafe following distance—identified 332 percent more
• Incomplete stop—identified 243 percent more
• Food or drink—identified 173 percent more
• Failure to stop—identified 188 percent more
• Handheld device—identified 133 percent more
It is important to capture in-cab behaviors. Thirty-five percent of all near-collisions captured by its devices involve one or more of the above behaviors.3 MV+AI can identify areas of concern by targeting specific behavior with algorithms, which intervention can correct. Fleets can use MV+AI to deliver real-time alerts to drivers to address distracted driving and provide reliable, continual video evidence for exoneration.
Pick the Right Equipment and Technology for You
No matter what course the pandemic takes, waste haulers will continue to do everything it takes to maintain their regular routes in the safest way possible. Implementing video telematics technologies, driver coaching and MV+AI innovations will go a long way toward safely staying in front of environmental changes. | WA
Ryan Brandos is a Key Account Manager who has been with Lytx since 2013. He began by providing dedicated support to Waste Management’s Drivecam Program, and later spent several years as a Research Data Analyst performing custom analytics for both customers and transportation industry events and conferences. Now in an Enterprise Sales role, Ryan continues to be one of Lytx’s ambassadors for the depth of Lytx data to many large-scale enterprise fleets, with a particular focus on the waste industry. For more information, visit www.lytx.com.
- Based on a Lytx® review of waste industry data
- “Global Truck Video Safety Solutions Market Forecast.”
- According to Lytx