In many businesses, fleet management is the largest risk exposure, accounting on average for more than 60% of claim frequency and costs, however, its prioritization within risk management programs varies as casualty, property and IT issues often take precedence. Today fleet safety management is a hot button issue as the cost of fleet claims has risen steeply and research has shown that fleet crashes are a leading cause of expensive workers’ compensation claims. Crashes also pose a reputational risk that companies need to control In many cases, fleet vehicles are moving advertisements that can negatively or positively inform the public about the organization when a crash occurs.
Generally one in five vehicles will be involved in some sort of crash throughout the year and in some industries the average accident rate is even higher. These statistics provide safety professionals with a great opportunity to implement programs and processes that help reduce fleet costs and injuries to employees and the motoring public.
Fleet Safety Programs Can Reduce Costs
A number of high profile crashes in recent years that resulted in large settlements highlight the massive costs organizations face when fleet safety is not properly addressed. These events have brought about stringent fleet safety policies that, in some cases, have cost operation managers and supervisors their job for not holding drivers accountable to company safety standards.
Fleet risk is estimated to be between 10%-20% of total fleet costs and includes insurance costs, deductibles, downtime for vehicles, work related injuries, and management. Until recently, fleet managers have questioned how spending more money to improve fleet safety could bring down th total cost of fleet operations. The answers have become clear. Fleet safety is now part of operational excellence and organizations with robust safety standards view crashes as operational failures that affect multiple stakeholders.
Simple and Effective Steps to Fleet Safety
A multifaceted approach is required to improve fleet safety.
- Document safety procedures
- Include all fleet safety guidelines in the driver's manual
- Screen drivers for safety behavior
- Screening should include the driver's motor vehicle record (MVR), a road test, and a discussion about driving history.
- Train drivers on vehicle operation
- Ongoing defensive driving training is critical to long term road safety.
- Use telematics to monitor safety behavior
- Drivers who are monitored on the road have fewer crashes resulting in lower CSA scores and overall cost savings.
It Is All About the Driver
The responsibility of every fleet manager is to ensure drivers get home safely and are able to return to work prepared to take on daily challenges on the road. Unfortunately, the vast majority of crashes are the result of poor decision making and inadequate training programs for both drivers and their supervisors. It is up to the fleet manager to properly train drivers and enforce safety protocols that protect drivers and avoid the negative physical and emotional consequences that can come from vehicle crashes.
HUB Transportation Risk Managers work with fleet managers to develop safety programs and implement processes that reduce accidents and improve CSA scores.