The annual accident rate for commercial fleets is around 20% and the average cost of a fleet accident is $70,000 — almost double the cost of the typical workplace injury. Fleet managers should know that a small group of people — specifically, high-risk drivers — cause the bulk of their collisions.
So it stands to reason that changing the negative driving behaviors of high-risk fleet drivers is a smart way to reduce accidents while keeping your drivers safer.
Advanced Driving Training Services, Inc. recommends that fleet owners and managers take the following steps:
Identify High-Risk Drivers
Fleet managers should check motor vehicle records and accidents histories of every driver in the fleet. This allows you to find a group of drivers who have a high number of moving violations and have been involved in numerous crashes.
Classify the Group
Next, classify the high-risk group into sub-groups. Level 1 would include drivers who have one to two infractions; level 2 would include drivers with three to four infractions; level 3 would include all drivers with more than four infractions.
The next step involves training all high-risk drivers in the appropriate manner. ADTS recommends that level 1 drivers receive online training in the specific area in which the driver has had problems. It might be speeding, following distance, or backing accidents, for example.
Level 2 drivers require a full day of driver skill enhancement, according to ADTS. This would ideally include classroom and behind-the-wheel training with a focus on responsibility, scanning techniques, crash prevention and skill building exercises.
Finally, level 3 drivers should receive one-to-one training during a normal business day, so that the driver remains on the road and productive. The goal is to create a positive atmosphere that emphasizes your company’s commitment to, and concern for, safety.
ADTS stresses the importance of involving managers in solving the problem of high-risk drivers. Managers have direct contact with drivers and play a key role in reducing crash rates. In short, managers need to understand that they set the tone for drivers’ safety.
Keep the Message Alive
Keep safety visible and top-of-mind with your high-risk drivers and with all drivers. It's critically important to reinforce the message by sending email reminders, safety memos, and discussing safety at company meetings.