Save Lives & Money by Reducing Road Accidents with Chevin’s Safe Driving Tips
An accident can be 36 times the cost of a basic repair, so ensuring you have a strategy to reduce the causes can be vital to controlling expenses.
There’s a number of steps you can take that could help you reduce the chance of accidents occurring within your fleet. Here are some ideas that we have seen work well:
1. Get managerial buy-in
Explain the extent to which accidents could impact your business operations – and highlight the benefits that could be gained.
For example, as well as causing human misery, accidents can lead to:
increased insurance costs
employee sick leave
lost or damaged stock
Generate interest in the highest level of your company. Managerial buy-in will make every other step you take to reduce accidents much easier.
2. Write a road risk policy
If your employees use vehicles at work, you have a legal obligation to have a written road risk policy which you should make available to them. This policy should look at your vehicles and drivers and how they are used. It should contain simple and straightforward language to set out objectives for reducing accidents and outline how this will be achieved.
The document will serve as the cornerstone of your accident reduction strategy and should be made widely available across your organisation.
3. Get accurate information
To reduce your accident rate, you need to know as much as possible about any incidents that have occurred within your fleet.
Careful recording is needed of each accident – not just insurance claim-style details but information on the kind of journey the driver was making, how long they had been driving, whether the vehicle had been recently inspected for safety and more.
In some fleets, best practice is to interview drivers in detail after every accident. A system such as Fleet Management Software can provide a valuable platform in which to store this information and audit it later .
“Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.” (2009, VTTI. Via www.distraction.gov)
4. Benchmark against other fleets
As part of this process, you will also normally be able to share best practice ideas and discuss which strategies are proving most effective with fleet management peers.
5. Keep drivers fully informed
Your accident reduction strategy can’t work without driver engagement. Your drivers need to be aware of what you are trying to achieve and how – with special attention to their role. This means providing guidance about:
their on-road behaviour
the inspections that they need to periodically carry out on their vehicles
what they need to do after a collision
any penalties likely to be implemented as a result of poor driving
Regular communication is essential – it is important to keep road safety near the top of the agenda.
“Inappropriate speed contributes to around 10% of all injury collisions reported to the police, 13% of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 24% of collisions which result in a death” – RoSPA
6. Assess drivers’ skills
All drivers should be assessed on a regular basis. At the very least, this means checking their driving licence and looking at health issues such as eyesight that may affect them on the road. It is also very desirable to assess practical skills through on-road checks of driver behaviour by a qualified individual.
Assessments should be especially repeated following accidents and, if there is a question mark over a driver’s ability or suitability, they should be prevented from driving for work immediately pending further investigations.
7. Zero tolerance on drink and drugs
You must make it clear to drivers that you expect absolute adherence to the law on driving under the influence of drink and drugs. Many fleets go further and state that drivers should not drive under the influence of any drink or drugs. This policy applies to both prescription and illegal, recreational drugs.
If in doubt, you and the driver should seek advice from a medical professional. Some fleets ask drivers to sign a pledge stating that they will not drive under the influence of any drink or drugs.
8. Create a road safety culture
Road safety needs to be taken seriously across your organisation and considered at every level. For example, there is little point in having a comprehensive accident reduction strategy if employees are placed under pressure by line managers to follow unrealistic schedules or delivery times.
A good idea is to take part in annual road safety week initiatives, which encourage participation at both an employee and a corporate level.