CALGARY, CANADA – Studies show that distracted driving is a contributing factor in 20 percent of crashes, and a contributing cause of 16 percent of fatal crashes. For fleet companies, this can lead to numerous risks, which is why risk and safety was front and center at this year’s PHH Arval Fleet Management Symposium recently held in Calgary.

President of PHH Canada Jim Halliday said, “Driver behaviour is one of the most controllable aspects that can influence a fleet company’s risk and safety.” 

To address those concerns, Vice President and General Manager Tony Vinciguerra and Manager of Light Duty Training Bruce Davisson from the Center for Transportation Safety, a PHH Arval company, were on hand to discuss the benefits of driver training and address some of the key distractions drivers face.

Vinciguerra said, “Driver attitude and behaviour behind the wheel contribute to more than 90 percent of crashes. Preventing them requires maximum concentration – it is the most important thing a driver can do.”

He illustrated this by saying a three-second distraction from a cell phone while driving would result in a total stopping distance of more than two football fields. He recommends that companies look at:

  • Classroom or internet-based driver training to address driver behavior;
  • Behind-the-wheel training to reinforce skills; and
  • An awards program to reward drivers for safe, accident-free driving.

Another way to limit cell phone distraction is a new software application, iNmotion, which was created by PHH with ZoomSafer. Matt Howard, co-founder and CEO of ZoomSafer, showed how the application can automatically enforce a company’s cell phone policy – as well as the laws that prohibit or regulate cell phone use – thus limiting driver distraction.

(For additional information, see related press release

Additionally, PHH Onboard, vehicle telematics technology that monitors aggressive driving, harsh braking, speeding, and other unsafe driver behaviour, can help companies identify candidates for training or other behaviour modification programs and reduce risks.

Mike Bennett, vice president of sales and client relations for Western Canada said, “It’s not just a matter of installing technology in a vehicle; it’s understanding the resulting information and putting it into action. We recognize that and help clients manage their costs and enhance vehicle performance and safety.”

For example, Geotab, a PHH telematics partner, showed participants that before installing its technology more than 60 percent of fleet vehicles had at least one speed policy violation each month. However, after policy enforcement, violations were reduced to 21 percent, which also reduced the number of accidents.

“One of our priorities is to help our clients identify their high risk drivers and modify risky driver behavior. We want to keep our roads safe,” said Bennett.