Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast

Will Being Idle Free Change The World? Ron Zima

July 09, 2021 Chris Harris, The Safety Dawg Season 1 Episode 67
Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast
Will Being Idle Free Change The World? Ron Zima
Show Notes Transcript

We discuss idle-free systems and their impact on drivers and operators. 
#idlefree, #noidle, #idlefreeguy
This week's guest is Ron Zima, The Idle Free Guy ™. 
Ron is an expert who is moving the driver into a new thought process and is helping protect the environment. His methods apply to both trucking and automobiles. 

You can get in touch with Ron via email, 

Ron on Linkedin,

The Idle Free Website:

Facebook Idle Free Video Training: 

Fuel-saving calculator 

Keeping it Safety Dawg Simple!

Welcome to another episode of the Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. Today, we are talking about a subject that is close to my heart. It is my very first guest on the Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast is making a return visit. And I asked Ron Zima of Go Green to come back because a lot of things have changed since we talked about a year and a half ago. And it is a subject that I'm excited about and it is very close to my heart. So let's bring Ron in And it's good to be with you. Lots has happened in terms of our knowledge of driver idol since our last conversation. So yeah, I'm really pleased to be here and see, and I'm also really impressed with the output of the Dawg on a podcast, as well as a content and, and the guests that you've had on the perspective. So congratulations on a great Show. Well, thank you for that. And you were my very first guest and for good reason, because this is a topic that is close to my heart. And, and let me just frame it a little bit. We're talking about idle reduction and right now, as we are making this recording, there's wildfires out in BC that are just beyond belief. Towns are burning down the environmental impact of a heat wave out there. And I forget how many deaths they've attributed to the heat wave in BC and Alberta because of the extreme heat. And this is all climate change. And so, Ron, I really want you to talk to us in the trucking industry about what it is that we can do about climate change. Well, what we can do is become aware of what we can do and exactly that one of the simplest things to do is to shut our vehicles off when they're parked. And, and, and it makes sense now, or what we also like to say is go idle free for our kids, which is very sticky and is very memorable, but I want to be the first to say, look, shutting your vehicles off across Canada. Isn't going to solve the climate change problem. It's not, it's, what's really important with Chris it's driver engagement, emotional engagement. Once drivers understand what their unconscious libeling habit adds up to in fuel for actually there's three values that drivers value the most with regards to their unconscious side when behavior, and that is my kids, my cars, my cash, how does my idling behavior, my unconscious idling behavior in most cases, what does it add up to with those three values? And when we spell that out in a engaging way with the messengers being school kids, auto experts and doctors who have studied the results of idling exhaust on lung function, it's amazing 80% of the time based on our history of doing this over the last 15 years, drivers of both genders, demographics, psychographics, you name it, come in and they flip their beliefs and behaviors on idling and engine. So it's pretty exciting. And, and it's a big opportunity. It's a big problem, but it's a big opportunity, but let's not make any claims. We're not making any claims that, Hey, this is going to change wildfire or, or heat deaths by shutting our cars off. But what it's going to do is if we get enough people doing that, it is going to have a big effect, which we'll get into in the numbers with some fleet operators that we're working with. But in addition to that, it's going to clear the air of pollution exhaust. It's going to save a lot of CO2 and it's going to save people a lot of money at home, Chris. Well, and the other part of it, it's going to help us leave in a small way, but it's gonna help us leave a better planet for our kids or for our grandkids. And most of us care about them. Yeah, yeah. But again, I want to come back to a really important term here, and that is driver engagement or also known. We like to call it emotional engagement when drivers are emotionally engaged to this little trivial problem, at least that's the way we framed it in our minds before we went idle free. You and I, it was trivial who cares idling? Doesn't add up to much. It's just not in my consciousness. Right? Who's talking about that. Nobody's talking about this, right. And I used to be the same way. And I know that used to be the same way as well prior to taking our e-learning programs. So it's, it's really exciting because drivers, 80% of the time, based on our history, whether it be the leading car executive in Canada who flipped his beliefs and behaviors and went idol free for our kids in a big way, to the extent that he provided an idol, free pace car for us to get our message out there, which by the way, was it a regular, you know, internal combustion engine, but I was turning the vehicle on and off when I was parked and we had logos on it. And yeah, Well, Hey, you can't say all that without giving out a shout out, Right? McPhee Ford, Al McPhee, who used to be one of the top GM dealers in Canada. And now he's one of the top Ford dealers in Canada. He is the granddad of our, our cause because we're a social enterprise that go green communications. And it started off as a, as a nonprofit cause at my kids' elementary school, 15 years ago. And when Al heard about it and heard about the results of what his grandkids were breathing in around their school, he flipped, he went, oh my God, we're car executives. We know this stuff, right. And if you talk to any of the OEMs, the original equipment manufacturers or the car experts, the auto experts, they'll tell you that today's vehicles, whether it's a class, a truck or a light duty car or truck at home are engineered to be driven as much as possible and to be idled as little as possible. And in fact, idling, your engine is perhaps the worst operating condition for a vehicle. Yeah, Ron, and you know, this is summertime right now, but I know we live in Canada and it's winter time, quite a bit of the time. Most of the cars that are manufactured today, all have these remote starts. And I, the last car I had with the remote start, the default setting was 10 minutes that I would remote start it and let it go and would shut itself off in 10 minutes. What's that doing? Well, if you add the numbers up, if you add the numbers up and the times of people will, Hey, hit that again to go for another 10 minutes and so on and so forth. And I'm, I'm here to tell you that I was the Canadian idler, so crier to command start and all that sort of stuff. You know, 20 years ago when I was working in an office tower in Halifax, on the 16th floor, the park aid was outside about a block and a half away. And on cold winter mornings, I'd take my, my remote start fog and, and hit my car. Yeah, great. And I'd let it idle for 40 in those days, 45 minutes to an hour plus in the park aid, before I got back to the vehicle. Right. And that was typical for a lot of people or it's in their driveway. And so, but folks just don't have any idea of what that's adding, it's adding up to in terms of three values they really care about, which is part of our research and practice. And the three values that drivers universally care about with regards to their unconscious Aileen behavior are how does this affect my kids or people I care about how does this affect my cars? My car was in trucks at home and how do I save cash? How does it affect my cash? So kids' cars, cash. And when drivers understand what this is adding up to, they invariably smack their head and say, I could've had a V8. Now, if they say I had no idea that this is what it was doing to the air quality around my kids' school, I had no idea. This is what it was adding up to. And CO2, I had no idea that it was adding up to thousands of dollars in fuel over the course of a couple of years in my vehicles. And we document all that in my program, as you know. Yeah. And you know, let's talk about change subjects a little bit. Let's talk about trucking, the utility fleets and stuff like that. Particulate matter is where I want to get to. I had no idea that you can actually measure what comes out of, out of the exhaust pipe. So whether it's out of a truck or out of a car, I didn't know that these things that float in the air actually have weight. And, you know, it's killing people, this stuff, there was a study done. I know, you know, about it between 2000, the years, 2020 19, the particulate matter, the actual amount has dropped, but the amount of deaths due to particulate matter is up 23%. And where does a lot of particulate matter come from? Well, it comes from primarily diesel fuel diesel fuel is, is, is really heavy with a particular matter. And that's why we have diesel particulate filters in the trucking world. Doesn't that solve the problem? The particulate filter. Well, here's, here's the simple question I would pose. Okay. Have, have that truck, you know, the, the trucking unit itself, just stand next to that inside of a garage for 30 or 60 seconds while it's running and see how long you last. This is why diesel experts are friends of ours. This is why auto experts are friends of ours, car dealers. They have to, if you ever see if you've ever been into your car dealer, working on your internal combustion engine, and they got to do some testing of how your engines operating, they're doing it in an, in a graduate, an enclosed space. They vent that exhaust all that exhaust outside with a long flexible pipe. So I said, well, if it's, I mean, these are, these are really clean burning, fuel injected vehicles today. They're really efficient. And yet you can only stand next to one for 30 seconds inside of a garage what's what's happening there. So yes, there's a lot of stuff in even cleaned up exhaust that is really a hazard to people. And people have to understand what the impact is. And our training goes into a lot of that. So, yeah. Yeah, no. And I mean, I know the trucking industry here in Canada at one time was looking for a tax credit because the newer trucks in downtown Toronto for instance, are actually cleaning the air as they drive because the, the admissions that come out of that tailpipe is cleaner than the air going in. However, they never made the bold statement that no particulate matter was coming out of there. It was just better than what went in. Right. And Chris, the other thing you have to remember, and this is also true with the whole electrification, everything EBV, hype that's happening today. Okay. And we're not against DVS. We're not against trucks, we're not against cars. In fact, we're, we want to support the whole industry, become cleaner, a whole lot more efficient. And, and it's a huge opportunity in reducing driver idling behavior. But the thing we have to keep in mind is we have all huge legacy fleet, whether it be in class eight or in the regular cars and trucks across the U S and Canada, about 330 million cars and trucks adding up to about 6.6 billion gallons of idling exhausts, parked, going nowhere across the U S and Canada. So it's a big problem, but it's a big opportunity for operators. So I think the thing to really keep in mind is that this is a serious business opportunity first and foremost. And then secondly, right along with that comes the reduction in emissions and CO2 in, in Knox, in all the, in the particulate matter, eh, when you're shutting the vehicle off. And it makes sense when you're parked Well, speak to me as a fleet manager, my job is to contribute to the bottom line, right? And so how can I contribute to the bottom line of my company by listening to you by taking the training? What's the impact. What's how Well, first and foremost, we want to make sure that people understand that we're a driver engagement organization. All of our messaging is as positive is as positive and as enlightening as possible. And you've seen that with our program. The first thing that will turn drivers off is how does management feel about this program? How did the drivers are taking their cue from the executive of the trucking company they're taking their cue? How seriously, or are they just trying to do this for the company? And it's when drivers understand how much this means to the company in terms of not just fuel savings, but CO2 savings and cleaning up the, the particulate matter, or what have you by a simple behavior of shutting the key off it's when they understand that management is taking this as seriously as they should, that's transferable to the driver. And then the that's the very first thing managers have to be serious about this opportunity because drivers are watching them very carefully. They know this it's human behavior. And so once they understand that it's a positive message, it's not a wall of shame. It's not shaming drivers for what they're doing. They're doing what you and I used to do before we became idol free for our kids, which was idle a lot. Right? And when they have their beliefs and behaviors upgraded with today's technology, and first and foremost, Chris, this starts at home when drivers understand how much they're going to save for my kids, my cars, my cash, it's transformational. And then they change their behavior behind their personal wheel. And that's transferable directly to the company because it's not a, it's not a habit that you use on your personal vehicle. And then you don't on your work vehicle. It doesn't work that way. You come in and you change the way your neuro-pathways are working with regards to a habit. And you can't deny that you've come to your work field. Hey, I'm just idle free. I'm idle free. And every vehicle that I drive when I'm parked, and it makes sense Well on that. And that's one of the keys that I want to stress. You always say idle free when it makes sense, because there are times that it doesn't make sense. For instance, in the class eight trucks that I deal with. If the company hasn't given me a way to stay warm when I'm sleeping at night and it's in the middle of winter, or to have air conditioning running in the middle of winter, and it's 36 degrees out, I guess I've got to run the truck. So part of it is up to the company to take the steps, to give me some options. And then as then I have to embrace those options as well. Right? Right. Exactly. First thing I want to say to your audience is I salute truckers. They have a hugely demanding and an important job. In many cases, it's a complex job. They have the drivers have a lot of technology coming at them now as does management, but they have a tough job running those. I've seen those guys and ladies making those turns, those hairpin turns with a huge class, a truck and trailer in downtown Halifax, right? Like it, they, it's a real skill and it's a skill in demand as you know, right. So first and foremost hats off to them and yes, it, it all comes back to management. What's their, how do they regard idle management and reduction? Are they taking it seriously? And also how, oh, I lost my train of thought shit, hang on. We were talking about Ron. We know that there's 6 billion gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline wasted every year, just island. Right. Right. What kind of dollars is that? Okay, so let's, let's, let's flip over. I want to share a screen with you. Okay. So this is, what's really exciting about this problem or what we call an opportunity. Chris, we've got something that we do here within our organization called an idle reduction opportunity assessment. And that's where an operator, a fleet operator can provide us with some basic characteristics of the, the inventory of their fleet. For instance, a number of vehicles in a certain class number of drivers to be trained or coached with our behavior modification program. And also the average fuel burn for a group class of vehicles over the course of the year. If we get that basic information, we can sit down with an operator and give them a very good forecast of what they will save over the initial two years of our program net costs of our program. Here's a real world example of a vocational fleet recently, 2,480 vehicles. And just with a low reduction, a low success rate of reaching their drivers, which would be about 10% of their controllable idol out of their whole idol pie, which we don't forget. We understand what power takeoff means and everything else. The times that businesses need to idle to run a piece of equipment, or what have you, or a reefer truck, for instance, but just on the low end of controlling the driver island behavior, that is controllable, which is, Hey, it's a nice day of doing paperwork in my vehicle right now, sitting in a coffee shop on the low end, over two years, $700,000, a medium success rate, say a 20% reduction in that idol for this particular vehicle, two and a half million dollars, you could see the high end 4.3 million. And then if we convert that to CO2 with the environmental protection agencies in the U S is a idle, or actually it's a emissions calculator, we can see that on the high end, combined gasoline and diesel for this particular fleet operation, they would save 9,301 metric, tons of CO2. So that's the type of metric that really gets a lot of people taking serious note of, of idol. All right. Explain to me this metric ton stuff. Okay. Because it doesn't weigh anything that comes out of the exhaust pipe. I can't see it. And it's gone. How can you attach a number of weight to it? Well, let me ask you this, which weighs more a 3000 pounds of elephant or 3000 pounds of CO2. Well, I mean, it's the same question as what weighs more the 3000 pounds of feathers, or, you know, so you got It, you got it. People can't grasp this, they don't get it. But in my training, we go through that in a very impactful ways, you know? So no a sphere of CO2 that weighs and there's an actual dimension to it. I don't have those numbers right off the top of my head right now, but under a certain pressure, it actually is a ball of gas that weighs a ton, a metric ton versus a metric ton of elephant. It actually weighs something. And in fact, your typical driver driving habits of 20,000 kilometers a year in your personal vehicle, puts out about three times the weight of that vehicle in CO2. And it's going up into our atmosphere and it's creating the green house, adding to the greenhouse effect, which we're now seeing in climate change, it's accelerating climate change. So that's basically, my answer is with that riddle, what weighs more? You really have to get over that fact that CO2 weighs a lot. We just can't see it. And that's the problem. I mean, until I took the training, I never even thought about it. I mean, I was probably like you a pretty bad Isler until, and I didn't mean anything by it. It was just something I'd never consciously thought of that idling was good, bad. It was just something I did, Chris, this is what th this is what the original equipment manufacturers at commons, Detroit diesel, you name it. They know this in spades. Idling is not good for today's technology. It's a terrible waste of fuel. It adds a lot of CO2. And then a lot of toxicity from that exhaust pollution. Don't forget. It's not just CO2. It's also exhaust pollution, which carries some bad stuff in it. And we need to know that so that, oh, geez, I'm going to limit right now. I don't have any reason to limit this stuff. Cause I'm not aware of what it, what it all adds up to what it means for my kids, my cars, my cash, and let's make no mistake about this drivers professional drivers in the trucking world to a large degree, don't care about the vehicle or the gas bill at work. Right. Really don't care. We've had that in. We've had that in spades, back from fleet managers. How are you going to get people to change their behavior? Well, we know it's really exciting because it is possible with a driver driver, idle reduction, behavior modification. Yeah. Because I don't own that truck. I don't participate in the profit. Most trucking companies don't have profit sharing. As I say, it's not my truck. I'm not paying the fuel bill. Why do I care about how much is coming out of the tailpipe? That's right. But the good news is that there's a big number, especially for those trucking managers who have an idol, a rate of controllable idol north of say 20%. Here's some stats for you that we picked up along the way from top trucking companies in Canada. And that is that if you are achieving a rate of vital of about 5% of your controllable idle, you are a superstar, you're a rock star. And those trucking companies exist in Canada. They know this they're on top of it and they've got good analytics. They've got good fleet data. But for those companies that aren't looking at, their idle time data, they're missing an enormous opportunity. So they should be taking a look at that data to understand what the opportunity is because it's a big one Is, as we've said, $20 billion goes out the exhaust pipe, just an idling every year in north America. So it's a huge problem and a huge contributor to the environmental problem that we have here. And there's a lot that contributes to that problem. Truck idle or car idle is only one, one of the meany contributors to that. However, however, idling in our personal vehicles and changing that idling behavior is a huge opportunity for driver engagement. Let me explain, and this is all about driver engagement. Chris, if your drivers are engaged, anything is, is, is possible. Okay. And so with our program, it's not just about idling because when Chris looks back on what his habits used to be and the way he used to think, which was, I wasn't aware of it, I wasn't thinking about it at all. And by the way, that's the way I used to be because I went from Canadian idler, 185 hours a year to idle free guy. I've eliminated about 95% of my idol had to save thousands of dollars, protected my vehicles, reduce a lot of carbon and I feel a whole lot better about it. And when people understand what's involved for my kids, my cars, my cash, it is transformational. So when it's engaging, so when you change your idling behavior, you go, wow, that was really easy. What else can I do? Where else are my environmental habits lagging? Do I leave the water on for too long? And, and we've seen that our program changes peoples not just on link, but it's sort of like what we call the loss leader to the green store for becoming more aware and participatory for your environmental efforts. And as an example to that Al McPhee of <inaudible> big shout out Al is the honorary chair of our associated, not for profit of the children's clean air network. And he, when he found out what idle time was adding up to for his grandkids at their elementary school, what it meant to resale value of vehicles, because it's really bad on the, and what it added up to in cash. He flipped. And when he built his new Ford store, he added the automatic on off lights, automatic water. So on and so forth. I said, oh, does this have anything to do with you changing your beliefs of behavior on idling? Of course it does. So, yeah, it's, it's just, it's really transformational and it's a big opportunity. It's good news story. And it's a way to get drivers engaged in, in becoming more conscious and, and doing something about the environment And, and the other evil, sorry, I'm holding up my plastic water bottle. And since I've done your program, by the way, my plastic water bottle usage has plummeted because I normally bring my own container from home with me today. I forgot it. So I still have to drink my water, but I'll bet you, I am have reduced it 75 or 80%, my plastic water bottle. And it's all started with idol free because it made me think, Yeah, yeah. Well, and it engaged you because day after day, you were doing something and you were engaged and you had a new habit. So that lingered that stayed with you. And there's a lot of good science behind what we do, creating a new belief and a new behavior takes north of 60 days, two months until it becomes what they refer to as autistic, meaning you start shutting your vehicle off when your park, and it makes sense without even thinking about it, without thinking about it, that's where you want to get to. And a lot of the people that take our program get there over a period of time. And that's why we say with our program, you need to take it over a period of time, because what happens is when people are introduced to the concepts, they go really it's that much. It's it's yeah. Take a few concepts, then go out into the real world and see what's really happening with your habit. And plus with everything else in downtown Toronto, how bad is idling and people start to, oh my God, I can't believe what's going on with your eyes are open. And that's the big thing, understanding how it impacts our kids, our cars, our cat. That's a great way to end it. I'll give you the last course. My guests never get the last word, but what do you want? What's the last thing that the last point you would like to make for the audience? Well, it's a big opportunity at home and it's a big opportunity at work. And, and what people can do is they can connect with me on LinkedIn and more importantly, go to all the articles that have been published there with a lot of perspective. They'll if they read what I've posted in articles over the last year, they'll learn a lot about idling and the whole psychology and the business strategy around it. And so go there, LinkedIn connect with me there. The other thing I'd like to do is just mention our Facebook page, because we still have a number of our lessons posted there, which will give a fleet managers a real taste of, of what this program is all about. And that's an idol free for our kids on Facebook. And really don't forget that your drivers are really good people. For the most part. They're not idling on purpose they're idling because they're just not aware. And they haven't had their skills and their beliefs upgraded from the days that grandpa provided us with these memes, that those are the three idling myths. You know, idling is good for the vehicle. Restarts are bad and long warmups are necessary, completely false. So that's what I'd like to leave your audience. Thank you, Ron. I appreciate it. I really appreciate your time. And of course, we've got the links to your LinkedIn down below and to the Facebook page. Our links are in the show notes. So click on those, explore what Ron's got out there for you, and just become a little bit more aware, Right? Thanks buddy. Appreciate you. We appreciate you safety Day, Doug. Got it. Thanks, Ron. I hope you love the show as much as I did. Please leave us a, like a thumbs up a review, a comment, a rating. Thank you so much. And I do really appreciate the time and join us again next week for another exciting interview.