The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

How to Prevent a Collision Course with Accident Costs

The cost of on-the-job crashes to employers is jaw-dropping. Companies can significantly reduce their rates of preventable accidents with proactive, comprehensive safety programs to positively impact the bottom line.

June 2009, by Cindy Brauer - Also by this author

According to an August 2005 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the cost to employers from on-the job vehicle crashes is staggering:

  • Including wage-risk premiums, on-the-job crashes cost employers over $24,500 per crash and $128,000 per injury.
  • In one year, off-the-job crash injuries cost employers approximately $20 billion.
  • Employer health care (medical) spending on crash injuries is nearly $8 billion every year. Another $9 billion is spent on sick leave and life and disability insurance for crash victims.

Clearly, in addition to the human costs of life and limb, preventing collisions involving company vehicles and drivers can substantially impact the corporate bottom line.

Developing a Safety Program

A new resource from the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) provides help in developing a comprehensive fleet safety program.

Produced in collaboration with NHTSA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the 32-page Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes offers direction on setting up an employee safe driving program, promoting safe driving, and calculating fleet costs from motor vehicle crashes, plus specific tools on eliminating distracted, aggressive, impaired, and drowsy driving.

A downloadable PDF from the NETS Web site, www., the guide includes NETS' 10-Step Program to Minimize Crash Risk.

Manage 'Employee Element'

Les Sokolwski, director of division services for the National Safety Council (NSC), suggests several basic measures to reduce the rate of preventable crashes. Among the most critical is "managing the employee element" beginning with the hiring process, he says.

"With a salesperson, maybe 50 percent of their time is 'windshield' time. Look at that person not as a salesperson or delivery person, but as a driver, with exposure that is more associated with their driving behavior than the function of their job," Sokolwski advises. "Avoid the 'I don't really want to know' about an employee or prospective employee's driving record."

Develop and enforce standard policies, check each employee's driving record regularly, institute a proactive training and instruction program, implement a "solid" driver tracking mechanism, and hold everyone accountable, Sokolwski also recommends.

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