Fleet Safety: The Cost of Fleet Driver Accidents

$74,000. That’s the average starting cost for ignoring fleet safety training if one of your drivers is involved in an accident. That figure could jump to $500,000 if the crash causes a fatality.

Vehicle accidents cost employers $60 billion each year in legal and medical expenses, property damage and lost employee productivity.

Which begs the question – do you have a fleet driver safety training program in place to protect your company’s employees and financial resources?

The Latest Data

For businesses of all sizes, one of the costliest causes of injury claims and other expenses is fleet vehicle accidents. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows that there is a motor vehicle accident on US roads every 5 seconds, and a fatal one every 12 minutes.

As recorded by the National Center for Statistics, in 2017 road accidents led to 102 deaths per day, along with 7,523 people injured every day. Although those numbers are steadying after year-on-year rises, the risk remains high, especially for businesses running large fleets.

With that in mind, it is in your organization’s best interest to ensure that your drivers are as safe as possible on the road, and one of the most effective ways to do that is through education.

Fleet driver training provides cost-effective safety education to teach drivers how to see and even avoid road dangers. An online driver training course provides fleet driver safety education in a flexible way, offering a solution that fits into work schedules with minimal disruption without compromising the quality of instruction.

While the bare statistics are shocking, it is important to understand why fleet driver training is important and how it can help your business fleet today. To do that, we first take a look at how poor driving can affect your company and how fleet driver safety courses can help reduce fleet accidents and save money.

Causes of Fleet Driver Accidents

Finding the right driver training program for your fleet driver safety initiative is crucial, and to do that you need to understand the risks involved. By understanding the driving behaviors that are likely to cause accidents, it is much easier to find the right online fleet training course that addresses the most important aspects of driver safety for your needs. There are four key areas that are responsible for most at-fault accidents:

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

In 2017, around 30% of all fatal accidents involved a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs. That is a significant portion of accidents and should be a focus for any plan to improve fleet driver safety.

Education is key to this issue, ensuring your drivers understand the dangers and avoid impaired driving. This can be enhanced with spot tests that let all drivers know that you take driver safety seriously.

One important area that can often be overlooked is residual impairment. For both drugs and alcohol, the effects do not go away immediately, and can still be present the next day after consumption.

A driver training program that highlights these dangers can help drivers avoid such problems, which can be devastating even if unintentional.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving, that is, driving in a way that disregards other road users, is very common on our roads today. From cutting across lanes without care of other traffic, not using turn signals or refusing to give way, tailgating or ignoring traffic controls, aggressive driving by its very nature puts the vehicle at more risk than normal.

A driver training program that promotes defensive driving teaches drivers how to stay calm and avoid reacting irrationally to others’ bad driving. When drivers learn to stay clear of aggressive driving behavior, they help protect the safety of your fleet, including your employees, your vehicles and any cargo being hauled.

Fleet driver training should always highlight the dangers of distraction for drivers, but also how to spot distracted driving from other road users to avoid potential problems

Distracted Driving

The NTSA describes distracted driving as performing any activity that diverts attention from driving. The obvious example of this is using a mobile phone, whether talking or texting, but there are more.

Eating, drinking or operating the navigation or entertainment screen can all distract a driver long enough to cause an accident. In fact, in 2017 there were 3,166 people killed as a result of accidents involving distracted drivers.

Fleet driver training should always highlight the dangers of distraction for drivers, but also how to spot distracted driving from other road users to avoid potential problems. Online fleet driver safety courses should always include proactive elements, often called defensive driving, that is as much about assessing road situations and dangers from other drivers as they are improving the individual driver’s technique.

Fatigued Driving

Driving when fatigued, often called drowsy driving, is not only dangerous, it can be fatal. According to the NHTSA, drowsy driving was the cause of 795 road fatalities in 2017, and 90,000 accidents in total.

There are many causes of fatigue, from lack of sleep to family life, such as a new baby or a late night. Whatever the cause, it is easy to underestimate the problems that fatigue can cause drivers, and that is where the real danger comes from.

Ensuring that fleet driver safety includes a discussion about fatigue, and the problems it can cause is extremely beneficial. Drivers who are aware of the signs of fatigue can take measures to avoid it or take a rest when needed.

Click here to learn who’s at risk for fatigued driving as well as tips for preventing a drowsy-driving accident.

The Effect of Poor Driver Behavior on Your Business

As the statistics show, the number of accidents on the roads each day is shocking, but for those of us running fleets, they are more than that. If you have a large number of drivers racking up high mileage every year, the odds increase dramatically that some members of your fleet will be involved in preventable accidents.

This creates a number of problems for fleet owners, most of which come with costs. But while it is easy to go straight into the financial side, there is also the human cost to consider.

Having a driver injured is a tragedy that can affect colleagues and lower morale across the team. And don’t forget the issues their families must face after an accident. These are just a few reminders highlighting why fleet driver safety is such an important subject.

If we look at the financial impact though, it comes from several areas:

Injury Recovery

An injured employee needs time to recover away from work. Depending on the severity of the injuries they could be missing from work for an extended time. Your business doesn’t stop when a driver is unable to work, so that means one of two things.

Either you must spread the workload among the other drivers, or you can use an agency for temporary cover.  Which, of course, means more money spent by your company to pay for a temporary agency driver or overtime for other drivers.

Vehicle Damage

The vehicles in your fleet are the bedrock of the business, and if one is damaged, your capacity and flexibility are both compromised. While the vehicle is out of commission, you could reduce your capacity or hire a temporary replacement during repairs, both cost you money either directly or through lower billable miles.

Of course, you also need to get the vehicle repaired, or if the damage is excessive, replace it. That adds costs, but also time, requiring managers to focus on something other than the fleet operation itself. Fleet driver training improves driver performance, lessening the risk of accident, and helping prevent such situations from occurring.

As a fleet manager, you can help your business decrease insurance costs by adding a recognized online driver training course to your corporate safety program.

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Accidents don’t just incur immediate costs, but long-term ones too. With every insurance claim, your fleet premiums rise, and that adds more cost every year, which can quickly add up to huge sums of money.

As a fleet manager, you can help your business decrease insurance costs by adding a recognized online driver training course to your corporate safety program. DriveSafe Online® offers a great no risk, money-back guarantee.

When your drivers pass the DSO defensive driving course, you can rest assured that they are better prepared to act and react to situations they encounter on the road.  There’s simply no better time than now to improve fleet driver safety, lower the risk of accidents and reduce insurance costs.

Lawsuits

As with any accident, there is a potential for lawsuits that could be extremely costly. Whether personal or company liability, defending against such situations becomes expensive.

With all these consequences of an accident possible and many of them very likely, the total cost of a fleet driver accident can run into millions of dollars.

When you consider training as a tool to protect your business, the cost of fleet driver training that improves driver safety and reduces the likelihood of accidents is a smart investment.

How Can DriveSafe Online® Help Your Company?

When you understand the threat poor driving habits poses for your business, in human, monetary and operational cost, having a fleet driver training strategy in place makes good business sense.

The DriveSafe Online® fleet safety defensive driving course offers a simple turnkey training solution with many features including:

  • Mobile-friendly access. Fleet drivers are always on the go. They’re mobile, so their training should be mobile as well. Drivers can begin the course on a laptop and complete it on a tablet without missing any information.
  • State-specific content. While most safe driving tips and techniques can be used in any city, some traffic laws vary from state to state. The DriveSafe Online® library of courses tailors content to meet specific state requirements to make sure it is the right program for your team.
  • Certificate of Completion. When drivers successfully complete the course, they receive a certificate to document their accomplishment. You get peace of mind knowing that your drivers are better prepared to avoid potential road dangers. And your company leaders understand that their business investment is protected.

DriveSafe Online® offers discounts for fleet purchases, including additional savings for multi-year contracts. Click here to get more fleet driver safety course information and to lock in your fleet savings today!

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