ARI provides fleet managers with de-brief of full risk management range
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) approximately 1.3m people die each year on the world's roads and between 20 and 50m people sustain non-fatal injuries. Don’t let your fleet fall victim to statistics. Since there is no surefire way to prevent accidents altogether, fleet managers must implement ways to minimize the risk and reduce the number of headaches after they’ve occurred. Here are tips to help you address accidents both proactively and reactively.
A foundation for safety
A fleet manager cannot control accident avoidance, only influence it. So, it’s the fleet manager’s job to pick the best drivers, train them accordingly and have a plan in place for when accidents do happen.
‘An effective driver training and safety policy can save fleets tens of thousands of dollars a year in budget,’ said Ed Ianuzzi Client Support Services manager at ARI. ‘It’s just a matter of taking the time to educate and enforce that policy.’
Much of the preventative work comes before a driver ever gets behind the wheel of the company vehicle. With lawsuits on the rise, it’s critical that businesses make sure they’re putting qualified and licensed drivers in their vehicles. The NHTSA estimates that nearly 18% of fatal accidents involve improperly licensed drivers. Employers should check driving records for potential employees before hiring. Many fleet management companies, including ARI, offer Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) ordering and retrieval system which posts MVRs online, providing a quick and easy way to check driving histories for all drivers.
The work isn’t done once an employee is hired. The fleet manager must follow-up and educate. Routine motor vehicle records checks and on-going driver training that targets each driver’s history and weaknesses can significantly decrease the risk of accidents. A clear and comprehensive driver safety policy that outlines safe driving procedures, consequences after accidents and how driver behavior will be monitored helps ensure drivers understand expectations. Drivers should be required to read and sign this company policy to acknowledge their understanding of it and to protect the employer.
Along with decreased risks and violations, these proactive training programs can provide reduced liability premiums for fleets. ARI has seen as much as $60,000 per year reduction in one case, as well as avoided rate increases. In another example, an ARI client experienced fewer incidents and reduced accident severity, with claims reduced an average of $500 per repair. Another client saw a 50% decrease in a particular type of incident, which presented a savings of over $44,000.
The road to recovery
For fleet managers, this is the toughest part. You’ve done what you could to prevent an accident, but it happened anyway. What now? Fleets that have an accident management plan in place will be more successful at keeping their businesses running and their drivers on the road. It’s important that the plan be finely tuned to the needs of the individual fleet. A sales fleet will not have the same needs that a delivery fleet will. There are however, a few things that every accident management plan should include. First of which is a detailed outline of procedures.
Assuming the driver is not seriously injured, the first step he/she should take following an accident is to call 9-1-1 or the local police. After that, drivers should be instructed to call their fleet management call center after accidents. This will ensure that the accident will be immediately documented. After an ASE-certified claims technician has documented the accident, an electronic report can be sent to the fleet manager. This provides real-time information that is critical to the overall success of the fleet. The next step in the plan should address how to get the vehicle back up and running as quickly as possible.
When it comes to accidents, the major headache for most fleet managers is the legwork. Reviewing police reports, filing claims and gathering estimates can be a time consuming process. Accident management programs can help eliminate most of these tasks while also mitigating repair costs. Subrogation recovery helps companies recoup some of the loss associated with vehicle damage and liability. These programs can automatically begin the process of collecting reimbursement from the responsible party and provide monthly summary reports to track repairs and subrogation activity.
By allowing the fleet management company to take over the logistics of repairs and compiling all important information through a web-based system, fleet managers can make quick and informed decisions without all of the extra hassle.
‘It’s time for fleets to put safety first,’ said Ianuzzi. ‘What better time to update your policies than at the start of a new year? It may not prevent every accident, but any reduction in vehicle accidents is a step in the right direction.’
As Road Safety Week 2011 has come and gone, fleet managers should take a long, hard look at their accident management protocol. Having plans for both before and after accidents can help managers cut costs, minimize risks and improve the overall safety of their drivers, equipment and the road.