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Debunking 7 Fleet Risk Management Myths

How risk management should be applied to fleets isn’t often taught formally. There is training for fleet managers and training for health and safety managers. But that training for managers doesn’t focus much on collision prevention.  Most of the training available relates to the person behind the wheel, not the manager of the driver. With that lack of framework, myths can develop. So, I’m debunking 7 fleet risk management myths and misconceptions that often crop up in my conversations with fleet operators.

  1. We don’t have fleet claims, so our fleet risk management standard must be good.

It only needs an employee to be distracted for a second or start a long drive feeling fatigued and that unblemished record can change in a moment. We need to keep active to keep our body in shape. We need to exercise our mind too. Managing your drivers is no different; activity is key if good performance is to be maintained. Relying on a little bit of luck won’t give sustainable results.

So, it’s always great to hear that a fleet of vehicles is involved in very few accidents. But that’s no reason to put off building a robust fleet risk management programme. That way you can sleep a little easier knowing regular steps are being taken to maintain your good record.

  1. We’ve invested in cameras and telematics systems so our collision frequency will reduce.

Ever increasing numbers of vehicles in the UK are being fitted with telematics systems. On many occasions the technology is fitted with the expectation of the system having a significant impact on preventing vehicle collisions.

In the short term there is a reduction in collisions as drivers think they are being watched. Then the collision frequency rises. Fitting in vehicle technology is a good move, no doubt about it. But when there are no resources available to manage the data the technology isn’t as effective.

There needs to be an individual who has the time to take the data from the system and apply it to manage the drivers. A framework and a policy for how the data is going to be used to manage drivers needs to be developed. This gives a consistent approach and lets your drivers know what to expect. The data should be used to praise good performers and improve the performance of less competent drivers.

  1. We talk about fleet risk management as and when there is a problem.

Most management teams have an informal process of discussing their management of occupational road risk. If there’s an accident it may well be discussed in a meeting. But there is not normally a regular forum for managers and drivers to come together to discuss the performance of the fleet. This situation misses a big opportunity to make improvements in collision prevention. In these meetings the collision frequency should be reviewed, and common causes of collision should be identified. Strategies to prevent those collisions can then be developed and implemented by the management team. At the next meeting, the effectiveness of the strategy can be reviewed and so the cycle of improvement continues.

  1. We provided training for our drivers a few years ago.

Providing training for drivers is great, it’s an important step in the collision prevention process. However, the training is often a one off event. Even refresher training is normally provided on an annual basis at best. In a short time your employees gain a lot of information but without any repetition, they will forget most of that information. By repeating the provision of the information in a timely manner the amount of material forgotten by the trainee is reduced.

A practical way of repeating an initial training session would be to go back to the trainee shortly after the original training, undertake a review of trainee competence and reiterate some of the key points from the training process. A high risk activity like driving needs frequent reminders and toolbox talks are a useful method of delivering cost effective reminders.

  1. We investigate a collision by completing a claim form for our insurer.

After a significant collision with a third party there will need to be a claim notification form completed and issued to your insurer. That’s fine, but it shouldn’t be seen as the collision investigation. The form won’t cover all the areas that need to be considered to find out the root cause of the collision.

To find out what really caused the collision you’ll need to consider issues like the fatigue levels and the stress levels of the employee and what was happening in their home life as well as work life that could have contributed to the cause of the collision.

  1. We report collisions to our insurer within 24 hours so we’re pretty good in that department.

The timely reporting of collisions with third parties is a great way to minimise the claims costs and ultimately save money on your insurance premium. However, reporting the collision to your insurance company or accident management company within 24 hours just isn’t quick enough.

Once you get to 24 hours after the collision, the third party will have spoken to their insurer and been put in touch with a credit hire business. Then the costs of the collision that was caused by your driver will soar. Your insurer needs to speak to the third party before they contact their insurer. That way, they can take control of the claim. This means your collisions need to be reported within an hour or two. Your drivers will need to be trained on this process.

  1. It’s hard to introduce consequences for poor driving because my driver will just leave our business and it’s hard to find drivers.

Good drivers can be hard to find and in some areas of the country, any driver is hard to find, I get that. But that’s no reason to accept that drivers can damage your vehicles without any consequence.

I’m not suggesting that disciplinary measures should be taken every time there is a collision, but sometimes clearly this is a suitable option.

What I am saying is that poor driving performance should be marked with a consequence. That intervention can involve educating your driver. Look at the type of collision that the driver has been involved with and deliver a toolbox talk or a driver profiling session for the employee. Make the intervention something that will give your employee more knowledge so they can prevent a similar collision recurring. You’ll get a better driver and they will feel more valued by your business!

Debunking the 7 fleet risk management myths…

So, do you need some help to debunk these 7 fleet risk management myths in your business? Maybe you need some assistance with collision reporting or with accident investigation. Maybe you could do with some toolbox talks on collision prevention subjects or ideas to introduce positive interventions. If you do, you should join The Fleet Safety Academy. For more details, visit fleetsafetyacademy.co.uk

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If you’re ready to start using fleet risk management solutions that really work then by joining The Fleet Safety Academy you are taking a positive first step to making your fleet risk and driver behaviour simpler and easier to control.

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