October 2- 6 is National Drive Safely to Work Week aimed at reducing fleet accidents. The safety awareness campaign is sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a collaborative group of employer road safety professionals. Their mission is to advance road safety for employees, their family members and members of the communities where they work and live. Members help each other improve road safety and reduce losses through fleet safety benchmarking and collaborating on proven, best practice approaches. NETS membership includes safety leaders from both private industry and government who manage fleets ranging from under 100 vehicles to more than 50,000.
Workers take risks while performing job duties. In 2008, 5,071 workers died on the job in the U.S.; the majority of these deaths were caused by car accidents.
Fleet drivers are at higher risk for accidents
The reason that fleet drivers are at a higher risk for car crashes is simply that they drive a lot more miles than regular drivers. The average driver travels 12,000 to 15,000 miles every year compared to 20,000 to 25,000 miles for the average fleet driver.
Fleet managers should be motivated to reduce accidents among their employees because of the cost of lost productivity/missed revenue opportunity, property damage and increased insurance premiums or third-party liability claims. The cost of each fleet car accident is estimated at more than $20,000, higher than the average cost for a car crash involving regular drivers.
What can fleet managers do to reduce the number of fleet accidents?
Hiring managers should be aware of how personality traits influence the way a person drives. Well known Canadian psychiatrist John Tillmann found in his study of traffic accidents from the 1960s that “there appears to be a “drive as you live” mentality; people with aggressive or headstrong characteristics often expressed them while driving and caused more accidents.”
Studies have found that fleet drivers were most likely to be involved in a car accident in their first 18 months on the job. Fleet managers can help to mitigate this risk by setting policies and key performance indicators (KPIs) that emphasize safe driving over rushing between locations. For example, be careful not to force too many sales call requirements into an eight-hour period and explain that employees are not expected to answer work calls or messages while driving. Management should also set a good example for their employees, enroll the entire staff in a safe driving course and give rewards for employees who are following safety KPIs.
Keep data about the details of any accidents that do happen such as the cause, the speed and the location and use it to train other employees on how to avoid these situations. You may also be able to use this data to reduce car insurance premiums.
When fleet managers put safety at the top of their list of priorities, the company or organization will increase profitability while reducing operating costs by keeping employees on the job and avoiding the cost of accidents.
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