Accidents have an ugly price tag attached to them. Today, the average accident costs employers $16,000 for each incident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These expenses include driver and company costs, such as worker’s compensation, vehicle maintenance bills, decreased productivity, lost sales and driver safety initiative costs.
There are about 620,000 fleet accidents per year, and a 20% chance that one of your fleet vehicles will have one as well, according to NHTSA. The reason for this sizeable risk level is a systemic dilemma: on average, fleet drivers log six times more driving miles than the general public. Not only does this increase driver fatigue and accident risk, but it makes fleet managers more vulnerable to skyrocket replacement costs.
So let’s say your fleet has an average of two accidents a year. That will cost you approximately $32,000 a year: a wholly unnecessary and avoidable price to pay.
Compare that number to the price needed to implement a comprehensive fleet safety program for your company; the return on investment is priceless. As Stephen Clark, a business development manager at Teletrac notes, “Companies have shown that by monitoring driver behavior, there is also the potential to minimize insurance risk and gain a financial competitive edge.”
Last year, the United Nations launched an initiative called the Decade of Action for Road Safety that introduced to improve road and driver safety in more than 100 countries worldwide, including the United States. This is especially relevant as the number of motor vehicle accidents fluctuate by a few percentage points every year, according to U.S. Census Data.
Nearly half of all fleet accidents are preventable, according to the National Association of Fleet Administrators. They are the result of driver inattention, poor judgment, carelessness and diminished skills. It’s never been more to emphasize preventive fleet safety initiatives.
Here are five benchmarks to gauge your fleet on accident prevention:
1. Emphasize a Safety Culture. Create and maintain a safety culture through the implementation of driver safety programs that are supported by all areas of management. Market a variety of safety ideas and implement an environment that champions safe driving as a priority.
2. Implement a New Hiring Process. Do not hire risky drivers, period. Rely heavily on motor vehicle report (MVR) information detailing MVR violations, accident history and other safety data (such as traffic camera and toll violations).
3. Introduce Safety Solutions. Introduce safety technology to your company that can examine fleet safety behavior and organize it into valuable data for analysis. This safety software should enables managers to easily pinpoint problem areas and take corrective actions to minimize overall accident risk.
4. Take Corrective Action. Act on poor driving trends immediately. Hold drivers accountable for dangerous behavior by implementing consequences for negligence.
5. Reward Good Driving Behavior. Affirming safe driving improves company morale and motivates drivers to continue to practice safety. Positive reinforcement is a cornerstone for a healthy and productive working environment.