Learning Zone

Good driver vs bad driver behavior

By Ellen Sowerby
25 January 2021

Become a good driver, prevent accidents and save your business money

Safety of employees is the main factor in making drivers better, but costs are important too. Data collected from our customer base shows that the best drivers can reduce costs by more than 12%, but the worst drivers can increase costs by more than 13%.

That means the difference in whole life cycle costs between a fleet of good drivers compared to a fleet of bad drivers can be 25%. Our data shows that the associated costs of an accident can be 36 times the cost of a basic repair too.

Some facts about bad drivers:

  • A driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.10% is 7 times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash
  • A driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.15% is 25 times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash
  • A driver is 6 times more likely to get into an accident when eating while driving
  • A driver is 6 times more likely to get into an accident when talking on a cell phone while driving
  • A driver is 24 times more likely to get into an accident when texting on a cell phone while driving


Tips for becoming a good driver: 


Slow down

Speeding accounts for approximately 18% of all fatal and serious injury crashes on the road in the US. Reducing your speed can be the difference between life and death: a person struck by a vehicle at 20mph will be injured, but is likely to survive, however a person who is struck by a vehicle travelling at 30mph is much more likely to be killed.

Increasing your speed from 43mph to 49mph increases the risk of crashing by 60%


Don’t get distracted

Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind focused on driving. In 2018, according to NIOSH, 5% of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States involved a distracted driver, and 2,841 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.

Research suggests that distraction is present during 52% of normal driving, and at any given time in 2018, an estimated 2.1% of all drivers on the road were visibly using a handheld device.

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety discovered in 2015 that on average, a non-fatal injury crash at work that involves distraction costs the employer $72,442.

Don’t drink or drug drive

It’s a message you can’t repeat enough to your drivers. Don’t drink and take drugs, and drive.

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes. In 2018, there were 10,511 deaths where this was a factor according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Even at lower levels, such as .02 blood alcohol concentration, there is a decline in visual functions (the ability to rapidly track a moving object) and a decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time, the NHTSA  found. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving 

Always wear a seat belt

Seat belts can reduce crash fatalities by 40 – 60%, and an estimated 12,802 lives were saved by seat belts in 2014 in the US. It is a legal requirement to wear a seat belt in 49 of the 50 US states (New Hampshire is the only exception).

How you can improve your drivers’ performance

Create better drivers by combining details such as accident rates, age, driver license, location, mileage, fuel economy and driver behavior, this allows you to identify risk and send alerts to drivers on their own performance.

By storing all your driver information in one central location such as driver management software, telematics or both integrated together, you can create a system that helps to reduce accidents, insurance and maintenance expenses; this can also enhance and promote your organization’s reputation and image. Don’t overlook the opportunity for fleet driver training too to help school the most at risk.

The key to improving performance is measuring it – if you have a system in place that allows you to report on information, it can help you understand the causes and possible solutions.

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