Motor vehicle accidents aren’t good for your employees or your profit & loss. So the old saying, ‘prevention is better than a cure’, couldn’t be more relevant when your vehicles are used to generate revenue for your business.
A recent survey by Fleet Auto News reported that 10% of all fleet vehicles are involved in an accident every two years. With multiple lockdowns in Australia since early 2020, and a reduction in driving by sales people and non-essential workers, this figure could increase in 2022/23.
Accident prevention should be the first priority (in any area of the workplace) and the starting point with a fleet is talking about the risks of being on the road for work with every person in your business.
Here’s 3 top tips on how to get the conversation going.
- Adapt an existing safety culture to motor vehicles – All employees are responsible for workplace safety though many don’t consider the vehicle as a workplace.
- Visit National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) website – There are lots of resources available here. They can be easily adapted and shared across your business to raise awareness.
- Spend time on the road – Most office workers don’t consider how drivers manage their day on the road. There are a different set of risks and challenges when delivering goods or attending sales calls.
The age and specification of your company vehicles can also help prevent crashes. In the last five years, manufacturers have stepped up the safety specifications levels in new models which makes your vehicle replacement program an important part of the organisation’s safety management system.
Fleet Managers typically use a 5-star ANCAP rating as the benchmark for safe vehicles. What’s not commonly understood is how ANCAP continues to increase the threshold to achieve this maximum rating. A vehicle that received a 5-star ANCAP rating at launch, may not qualify under the current testing criteria.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) has been included on many passenger and commercial vehicles that are popular with business fleets. According to some studies, AEB has reduced nose-to-tail accidents (one of the most common causes of crashes) by more than 50%. The impact of AEB on road safety has been so significant that from 2023, all new models released in Australia must have it fitted as standard.
To reduce the impact on the business once an accident has happened, looking after the employee and getting the vehicle back on the road quickly are the two things organisations need to focus on.
The cost to repair a vehicle is often the cheapest part of an accident and the thing most companies spend too much time on trying to reduce. If you’re working on a ‘three quotes’ system for minor repairs, the time spent visiting the repairers and analysing the quotes will cost the business more than the potential savings.
Fleet Managers that develop a relationship with one or two suppliers for accident repairs tend to save more time and money with shorter repair times and consistent repair quality.
Time is money in business so completing a repair three days earlier is worth hundreds of dollars in replacement vehicle hire alone. Repair quality can be subjective, though the financial impact can be significant when selling a used fleet vehicle with a poor quality accident repair.
Accidents do happen. As the country emerges from COVID lockdowns with more vehicles on the road, the risk of your fleet vehicles being involved in a crash increases. Take some time to focus on prevention to avoid the unexpected financial impact a crash.