Commercial fleet drivers log a lot of miles, which puts them at higher risk for accidents.
For example, a typical U.S. motorist drives 12,000 to 15,000 miles annually, and each year has a one in 15 chance of being involved in a vehicle collision. Compare that to the average fleet driver — he or she travels 20,000 to 25,000 miles or more each year.
It should come as no surprise then that the annual accident rate for commercial fleets is around 20%, with some industries even higher.
Collisions are costly in time, money and lost lives. In addition to direct costs like vehicle repairs and medical bills, fleet owners are hit with indirect costs such as higher insurance premiums and a damaged reputation.
Protecting your drivers to the best of your ability is not only good for business; it's the right thing to do.
For all these reasons, fleet safety should be an integral part of every risk management program. Don't know where to begin when crafting a fleet safety program? Experts say start by focusing on three key areas.
Review drivers' motor vehicle records (MVRs) before you put them in the driver's seat. It's important to understand a potential driver's history and evaluate whether or not he or she engages in high-risk driving behaviors. Once hired, make sure to review MVRs for all your drivers at least once a year. The goal is to be informed before an incident occurs.
As a fleet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your drivers know your safety policies. Make sure your fleet drivers are informed about expectations and understand consequences or unsafe driving practices. In addition, good behaviors should be continually reinforced.
Monitoring drivers ensures they are meeting expectations for the safe operation of your fleet. There are a number of ways to do so, including: "How's My Driving?" decal programs, a periodic ride-along, and installing a GPS telematics program in your vehicles.
In addition to the above, experts say every fleet safety program should address distracted driving, vehicle maintenance and inspection, and crash investigation practices.