The average cost of a loss related to vehicle accidents is almost twice the cost of the average workplace injury.
Safety is one of the top work challenges facing fleet managers. Concern about the safety for both the driver and the vehicle is a recurrent challenge; in particular, the lack of compliance by employees with safety policies.
“Safety continues to be a primary concern, from driver behavior to maintenance of the asset to the assets specifications,” said Michael Gates, fleet department manager for Nutrien.
The annual accident rate for commercial fleets is around 20%, with some industries, such as pharmaceuticals, even higher. One reason for the high frequency of accidents for fleet drivers is because of the number of miles they drive per year. A typical non-fleet driver in the U.S. travels 12,000 to 15,000 miles annually, and each year has a one in 15 chance of being involved in a vehicle collision. Most fleet drivers, however, travel 20,000 to 25,000 miles or more each year, and thus have a greater exposure to crash risks.
Fleet vehicle accidents are among the most expensive injury claims for business. The average cost of a loss related to fleet vehicle accidents is approximately $70,000, which is almost twice the cost of the average workplace injury.
Besides property damage, fleet crashes result in lost productivity, lost revenue from missed sales calls, and potential third-party liability claims from an at-fault crash. Since most companies self-insure fleet vehicles and their employee drivers, the company pays these costs directly.
“Motor vehicle accidents are a never-ending battle. We have no control over someone hitting our vehicles, but we really need to find better ways of keeping our drivers focused on the road to avoid preventable accidents,” said Bruce Ottogalli, transportation manager for SUEZ North America.
Fleet safety is currently on the “radar” of senior management due to liability exposure resulting from preventable accidents. This litigation has made senior management more sensitive to the need to enforce employee compliance to corporate fleet safety policies. It is important to establish and communicate written fleet safety policies and procedures in order to set clear and consistent expectations for drivers.