8 Tips to Reduce Road Accidents & Their Causes
An accident can cost up to 36 times the cost of a basic repair! Ensure you have a strategy to reduce the causes and help control costs.
According to RoSPA, “Inappropriate speed contributes to around 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police, 15% of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 24% of collisions which result in a death”
Worryingly, over a quarter of all road traffic incidents tends to involve someone who is driving as part of their work at the time. To minimise the risk of accidents occurring in your fleet, there are a number of steps that you can take:
1. Incorporate a Driver Policy
If you have not already done so, developing a driving at work policy that needs to be read and signed for by all of your drivers is the first stage. 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:
On-road driving behavior
Inspections that need to carried out on their vehicles
Steps to take after the unfortunate event of a collision
Penalties that are likely to be implemented as a result of poor driving
Regular communication is essential – it’s important to keep road safety near the top of the agenda. Make sure that you also periodically assess employees to establish they are still legally capable of driving – a driver licence checking tool is ideal for this.
2. Get managerial Buy-in
Driving for work is the most dangerous activity many employees undertake and contributes to far more work-related accidental deaths and serious injuries that all other work activities. Lay out some of these facts to explain the extent to which accidents could impact your business operations – and highlight the benefits that could be gained by investing in a road risk management and strategy.
For example, as well as causing human misery, accidents can lead to:
Generate interest in the highest level of your company. Managerial buy-in will make every other step you take to reduce accidents much easier.
3. Write a Road Risk Policy
If your employees use vehicles at work, you should make a written road risk policy 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.
4. 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 Accident 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)
5. Benchmark against other fleets
To know whether your accident reduction strategy is working well, it’s useful to benchmark yourself against similar companies. Organisations such as NAFA Fleet Management Association can help with this.
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.
6. Assess drivers’ skills
All drivers should be assessed on a regular basis. At the very least, this means checking their driving license 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 driving behavior 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 organization 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 encourage sharing of information from reputable sources, that can help educate and inform on safety measures. For example, NHTSA.gov has a number of tips on driving and road travel safety, whilst distraction.gov can provide customizable policies and other items to display in the workplace.
By encouraging participation of learning these safe driving tips at both an employee and a corporate level, you can help make sure that safe driving is at the top of the agenda.