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Accident assistance

By / 8 years ago / Features / No Comments

Lead from the top

‘Management leadership and engagement at all levels from directors to first line managers is vital to cutting crashes and repair costs. Recent research by Loughborough University showed a clear link between managers and fleet collisions.

‘The instruction to drivers should be: “look after yourself and get home safely”. Managers should also lead by example, and be the first to fit telemetry in their vehicle, do their risk assessment/DVLA check, reverse park and show the importance of road safety.

‘Managers also set the tone with regards to speedy and accurate claims, damage and defect reporting to allow effective cost management.’

Dr Will Murray, research director, Interactive Driving Systems


Make clear policy

‘Businesses must develop a clear fleet policy which encourages safe driving and removes any ambiguity for the drivers. For example, several years ago we made the decision to ban the use of hands-free mobile phones within our own vehicles. It’s not illegal but we believe that it increases the risk of a collision. It’s a clear rule within our policy and drivers are under no illusions what will happen if they get caught breaking it.’

Tracey Scarr, CSR manager at Arval


Prevention is better than cure

‘Preventative action is key. If you’re aware of exactly how drivers are behaving on the road, and have an analysis of their accident history, then you‘re well on the way to take preventative action and reduce accident levels.

‘As a business we use psychometric profiling, which along with telematics data and comprehensive accident reporting, can highlight potential behavioural risks and identify which drivers are more likely to have accidents and why.

‘Fleets can use these tools in an innovative way and create strategies that recommend the appropriate course of preventative action, such as driver training, which will help mitigate risk and reduce accident rates.’

Karen Zaremba, group customer service manager, ALD Automotive


Create a culture

‘It’s not quick and easy but over time, generating a safe driving culture within the organisation will change driver behaviour and reduce collision rates and associated costs. To do this, the company must be seen to value the importance of driver safety, must invest in it, and must take robust action to minimise the risks their employees face on the roads in both their business and private lives.’ 

Tracey Scarr, CSR manager at Arval


Categorise your drivers

‘Identify your “potentially problematic” drivers. For example: consider driver profiling, robust incident recording/management, driving licence monitoring, high mileage users, age factors.

‘Having categorised the driver risk, deal with the issue by prioritising the “high” risk through to “low”. Remember that once the risk is identified, you are duty-bound to address the problem!

‘Low/medium risk drivers may possibly be dealt with by way of general road safety seminars or specific campaigns while on- road driver training (with suitably qualified and experienced fleet trainers) for drivers may lean towards the higher risk category.’ 

Richard Wilyman, operations director, Mac GB


Choose better cars

‘Modern vehicle specification allows you to select extras which will help to reduce collision rates. We have made useful tech- nology like reversing sensors and ESC mandatory on our fleet vehicles and as a result, we have seen collision rates fall.’ 

Tracey Scarr, CSR manager at Arval

Act on your data

‘The best way for companies to cut costs is to prevent incidents, and data is key to this. The old adage goes “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Data is vital to modern day businesses, but it’s amazing how few are using it to its full potential.

‘By having the right systems and practices in place to record data, and crucially, to act on it, businesses can save money and improve safety. The fear is often that this can add to workload, but there are solutions available which actually streamline the process and save time, cost and worry.’

John Catling, CEO of FMG


Make a fully costed business case for change

‘Driver training and safety management should always be top priorities for fleets. Although you can't put a price on safety, in a competitive environment changes to policies and procedures still require a fully costed business case. Work with your provider to identify risk reduction strategies, and to gain a clear under- standing of their implementation costs and likely impact.

‘With over 250,000 accidents and incidents on Britain's roads every year – not all accidents can be avoided but rather than simply managing outcomes, take steps to protect employees, their organisation and profit.’

Jennifer Gradden, account director, Fleet Risk Management, LeasePlan UK


Use data to search for patterns

‘Larger fleets have become much more sophisticated in the use of data to pinpoint accident causes and trends. A comprehensive data analysis function provides these fleets with the opportunity to try and prevent accidents occurring rather than simply reacting to the event. The use of data to reduce accidents is likely to increase in years to come as more fleets adopt black box technology. Monitoring driving patterns via this kind of technology can highlight potential risk areas and driver training requirements.’

Richard Harper, head of accident services, Lex Autolease


Learn from others

‘There are a lot of fleets out there doing some great things to improve driver safety and reduce collision rates. Don’t be afraid to network with them, learn about their initiatives, and where you think they will work for your fleet replicate them.’

Tracey Scarr, CSR manager at Arval           


Look out for fraudulent claims

‘Fraudulent insurance claims from staged accidents are now so rife across the accident management industry that we advise drivers to take special care, especially at roundabouts and traffic lights.

‘The fraudsters target a certain vehicle, and when they are approaching a roundabout or traffic lights, they brake suddenly so that the unsuspecting vehicle goes straight into the back of them.

‘Usually there are several occupants and they all make excessive claim for whiplash injuries. This practice is so common now that one leading insurer has set up a special department dealing with these fraudulent claims.

‘Our advice is stay well back from the vehicle in front. If you are caught out in this way, take as many photos as possible with a camera phone of the damage and the occupants, and also try and get details from any independent witnesses to the accident.’

Jane Bartlett, claims executive, CLM


Rapid repair saves downtime

‘Ensure you have a rapid repair service to limit costs of repair and replacement vehicles. For example, RAC Rapid Repair will see approximately a third of repairs being turned round in one to two days, conveying cost savings to fleets on both the repair costs and any associated replacement vehicle charges.’

Jim Monteith, head of accident services at RAC


There is no silver bullet

‘There is no “silver bullet” solution when it comes to making drivers behave more safely – but there are a number of key elements: Drivers need to take responsibility for their actions and take pride in both their vehicle and the standard of their driving; and issues surrounding driving need to be kept at the forefront of drivers’ minds.

‘This is best achieved by creating a company culture where emphasis is put on driver safety and vehicle use – implemented by a programme of regular communication, assessments (online assessments are very effective in that regard) and targeted interventions (training etc). In our experience a mixture of positive encouragement and sanctions yields tangible results without the need for extensive individual training.’

Dr Gerhard Manogg, director, Imagitech


Don’t skimp on replacement glass

‘In addition to accounting for up to 30% of the structural strength of a vehicle, the windscreen is increasingly becoming a crucial part of its central nervous system. However, the introduction of driver safety features such as cameras and head-up displays into laminated glass means added complexity for replacements.’

Jeremy Rochfort, national sales manager, Autoglass

Investigate the strength of repair networks ‘

Work with a partner that has a strong repair network that maintains quality, cost-control, and that allocates work quickly and locally to limit off-the-road costs and carbon footprint. A repair network should also guarantee the provision of a courtesy vehicle when required.

‘It should also boast a strong engineering unit to vet and authorise repair costs. Maintenance of cost control and ensuring correct repair methodologies are adopted thereby maintaining vehicle structural integrity so vehicles are repaired back to their original Euro NCAP rating.’

Jim Monteith, head of accident services at RAC

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Steve Moody

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