Kroger rings up safety benefits using DriveCam

John Lobenberg, Kroger safety manager, spent 20 years in the Air Force as an in-flight refueling manager/technician, where two words drove every thought and every action behind all flight operations: “Safety first.”

Those words drove him to adopt the Lytx DriveCam video telematics safety program to reverse a troubling trend in liability among Kroger’s dedicated fleet of more than 1,200 vehicles.

“Liablity spending was increasing year over year, and we’d just suffered three major driving incidents,” said Lobenberg, who feels a personal responsibility to protect Kroger associates behind the wheel, the public and the grocery and retail brands they represent. “Changing that trend was all about proactively managing driver behavior.”

After reviewing other safety programs, Kroger adopted the Lytx DriveCam program. The DriveCam exception-based video telematics program combines video capture of road incidents such as hard braking or sudden swerving, data analysis of those incidents, and personalized coaching insights to improve driving behavior. Today, Lytx helps protect more than 650,000 commercial and government fleet drivers under its DriveCam program.

Kroger Logistics prioritized cities with the largest collision-related expense to pilot DriveCam and help Kroger’s leadership team understand how DriveCam could deliver a healthy 3:1 return on investment.

“The results of the DriveCam program have been tremendous,” said Lobenberg. “Within four months, we saw a 50% reduction in collisions, a 71% reduction in handheld cell phone use, and an 82% reduction of driver-unbelted incidents.”

Reducing driver-unbelted incidents is critical, because drivers who don’t wear their seat belts are 3.4 times more likely to get into a collision than those who do, according to Lytx.

Lobenberg found the two-city pilot helped him prepare for the full-fleet rollout. Among his findings:

•There’s a lot more risky behavior going on than he thought, from big risks like distracted driving to minor risks. “About 15% of our drivers represented 80% of our risk,” said Lobenberg.

•It only took about a week for drivers to forget that the event camera was there.

•Having driver coaches is of utmost importance—“They’ve been there and they’re listened to.” That said, not all coaches selected have the same skill level and will likely need coaching themselves.

•An unanticipated benefit was reduced maintenance costs, especially with tires, because drivers were no longer “bouncing off curbs.”

•Video proved to be a high-value piece of evidence to exonerate drivers.

•DriveCam helps make recognition programs easy by delivering information on drivers who do everything right.

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