Fleet Safety: Are you steering your company towards a productivity iceberg?

We all know the tragic price families and friends pay because of mobile phone usage on the road. But now there is another cost being identified, the loss in productivity for big business. You could be sailing along fine at the moment but all fleet managers should stop and peer into the distance to avoid a productivity disaster. What does the iceberg look like?

Heinrich’s Accident Pyramid proposes that for every 300 unsafe acts, 29 minor injuries and one major injury occur. A recent research paper ‘Risk Perceptions of Mobile Phone Use While Driving’ found that 37%-68% of drivers in the US admitted to using their mobiles while driving. They converted this statistic to actual usage at any given time and found that 2-3% of all drivers are on the phone at any given moment. Extrapolate that to a fleet of 100 drivers and that’s 2-3 unsafe acts per day, that could mean reaching the top of the accident pyramid in 150 days and it’s not a pretty view from up there.

How much damage will this iceberg do? A recent study by the American Association of Safety Engineers highlights the indirect costs of injuries in areas such as compensating replacement workers; repairing damaged property; accident investigation and implementation of corrective action; scheduling delays and lost productivity; administrative expense; low employee morale.

Their whitepaper pegs the indirect cost of an accident at 20 times the direct cost. Just to drive the point home consider this example used by Safety Smart Online; ‘A company with a 2% profit margin would have to sell additional $2,888,000 in products’ and services just to cover the direct cost of a single $38,000 accident’ If the AASE’s information on indirect costs is even half accurate that figure can be multiplied by ten……… scary to say the least.

How do you avoid it and not incur Titanic costs Putting mobile phone policies in place is the first step in avoiding this productivity obstacle. However it cannot just stay at this stage. With no way of tracking accountability some companies in the US have started to install video camera’s in fleet vehicles, however this invasion of privacy will probably affect productivity itself as drivers will be on edge with their boss always looking over their shoulder (also no-one will want to sing in the car for fear of ending up on youtube).

New Software to Stop Distracted Driving

A better solution is mobile managing software such as Zoomsafer. These products allow fleet managers to enforce their mobile usage policies with their fleet drivers. The software has the following standard features:

  • Locks the device keypad to prohibit outbound communications (calls, emails, texts)
  • Automatically notifies select contacts via SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter that their driving
  • Suppresses inbound calls and alerts except for calls originated by any of designated priority contacts
  • Enables hands-free voice dialling
  • Supports sending and receiving hands-free, voice-powered emails/texts/tweets
  • Shares location details with select contacts
  • Auto-replies to those who attempt to contact the driver, telling them that their driving and that they will get back to them when finished
  • So put your safety goggles on if you haven’t already and start reviewing your fleet’s mobile phone policies.

There are plenty of new software options that can help you enforce these usage policies and they don’t cost much to run. Your staff, their family and your finance department will all thank you for it.

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