Verbal Mentoring Device Speaks Volumes For Drivers

After deployment in off-road conditions ranging from mines and energy services to the NASCAR circuit, a windshield-mounted device that provides drivers

After deployment in off-road conditions ranging from mines and energy services to the NASCAR circuit, a windshield-mounted device that provides drivers real-time verbal mentoring about speeding violations, aggressive vehicle maneuvering and seat belt use is being adapted for on-highway and on/off-highway heavy-duty trucking. Developers of the GPS- and wireless communications-enabled tiwi device underscore the link between changing driver behavior and reducing accidents, brake wear and fuel consumption.

The latter benefit dovetails with an alliance between tiwi developer inthinc Technology Solutions Inc., a Salt Lake City-based innovator in telematics and driver mentoring systems, and Valvoline Co., Lexington, Ky. Company officials are launching what they contend is the first program proven to deliver better fleet fuel mileage, backed with a limited Fuel Proof Guarantee. It covers a 120-day customer demonstration period and is being offered to on-/off- and on-highway fleet operators with a minimum 30-truck demonstration.

The program requires trucks to run Valvoline Premium Blue Extreme SAE 5W-40 full synthetic engine oil and Syn Gard FE gear oil. Valvoline and tiwi representatives work with fleet maintenance managers to establish baseline data tracked through the onboard device, which can draw from many truck functions that are subject to electronic monitoring, including seat belt engagement, vehicle speed, and braking. Activated devices are set for verbal-coaching upon triggering events Û i.e. failure to buckle up, speeding, and unnecessary acceleration indicated by abrupt or erratic braking. The tiwi platform can provide managers real-time alerts via phone call, text message or e-mail regarding certain infractions or incidents. A variety of reports are available through a Web portal to notify management regarding driver performance, vehicle positioning and operating trends. Drivers are given a grace period to correct certain behaviors before they are recorded and reported.

Beyond safer vehicle operating practices is the diesel factor; if a fleet has not exhibited a fuel economy increase during the Fuel Proof window, Valvoline and tiwi will remove their products from the vehicles used in the demonstration and reimburse the fleet for any incremental costs.

Valvoline enlisted two independent test facilities and multiple trucking customers to validate miles-per-gallon gains using the EPA SmartWay certified J1321 protocol. Tests were conducted on vehicles operating with Premium Blue Extreme and Syn Gard FE. Results varied depending on loads, routes and drivers. Adding tiwi vehicle monitoring and driver mentoring is expected to yield greater gains in virtually every type of fleet operation.

Fleet customers are understandably highly skeptical about mpg claims. They need proof that they’re going to get better mpg with their own drivers, in their own operations, notes Valvoline’s John Noal, vice president-International and Commercial Platforms. The limited Fuel Proof Guarantee is a risk-free way for fleets to prove that our mpg gains are for real.

Adds inthinc/tiwi CEO Todd Follmer, According to EPA statistics, driving habits affect mpg by as much as 35 percent. Fleet testing has proven that using tiwi in-vehicle mentoring will decrease aggressive driving events by 89 percent and speeding violations by 86 percent. The EPA reports that simply obeying posted speed limits will increase fuel efficiency by as much as 23 percent.

Drivers of fleet vehicles spend much of their workday on the road, creating a high risk for accidents. tiwi helps reduce this risk by changing driver behavior in real-time while simultaneously improving fleet productivity. With tiwi, drivers practice safer behavior and fleet managers see where their drivers are, how they have been driving and where improvements can be made.

Contact information and test data are available at;; or