3 ways to save money with fleet safety management

Features - Safety Focus

Making sure that your drivers follow best safety practices can improve productivity and profit.

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November 1, 2018
© Tomasz Zajda | AdobeStock

Nothing is more important than the safety of your fleet. But did you know that running a safe fleet also can save your company money? Ensuring that your drivers follow company policies, obey the laws and avoid idling can drive productivity and maximize profit.

At least three areas of fleet safety management influence your company’s bottom line.

1. Enforce seat belt use

The best way to prevent and even avoid injury altogether while driving a motor vehicle is to always wear a seat belt. Failing to buckle up can be life threatening and costly for everyone involved in an accident. According to the CDC Foundation, motor vehicle crashes cost U.S. employers $25 billion, which worked out to $671,000 per death and $65,000 per nonfatal injury, in 2013.

Telematics can help monitor seat belt usage. Fleet managers and supervisors may be surprised to learn how often their drivers aren’t wearing a seat belt. Only 86 percent of commercial drivers regularly wear seat belts, according to 2016 seat belt survey data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most recent year for which information is available.

But the most startling statistic is how much seat belt use, or lack thereof, can affect the cost of an accident to an employer. According to a 2015 study from the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), Vienna, Virginia, U.S. employers are collectively spending nearly $5 billion per year on traffic crashes involving employees who did not wear seat belts.

To help reduce incidents, telematics can send alerts to managers and drivers when drivers aren’t wearing seat belts. With telematics, the rules can be customized for each fleet, such as if the vehicle is in certain areas or when the vehicle is traveling at certain speeds.

2. Reduce speeding By employing training and rules

In 2015, more than 9,500 people died in crashes involving speeding, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And, according to NETS, speeding was the top driver behavior that caused accidents in commercial fleets, costing a total of $8.4 billion in accidents in 2015.

Unfortunately, many drivers still speed despite the risks. A study conducted by the American Automobile Association, Heathrow, Florida, discovered that “46.1 percent of drivers said they had driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway in [March 2016], and more than 20 percent said it’s acceptable to do so.”

Don’t let these statistics lead your fleet to accidents and injuries on the job. Drivers can eliminate the need to speed by:

  • Leaving early – Drivers should avoid waiting until the last minute to finish a route, work efficiently and manage time effectively.
  • Checking the speedometer – Drivers should obey traffic laws, avoid congested roads when possible and stay within the speed limit.
  • Answering questions – What is expected of your team? What, if any, leeway is provided? What are the deadlines each driver needs to meet?

Telematics also can help with speeding, as the technology can provide alerts when drivers are clocking in above preferred speeds, whether surpassing the posted legal limit or a speed set by the company.

3. Cut down on fleet idling

Excessive idling is equivalent to throwing thousands of dollars down the drain annually, and even monthly in some cases. A few minutes here and there will inevitably occur—especially in extreme weather or when companies have short service stops—but the following scenario is likely to make you think twice about how much your drivers are idling:

For every hour spent idling, 1 gallon of gas is wasted. If a fleet of 100 vehicles has drivers idling 20 minutes per day over the course of one month, this behavior results in 833.33 idling hours. Over the course of one month, allowing drivers to idle one to five minutes at each stop has now cost your company between $2,083 (at $2.50 per gallon) and $2,917 (at $3.50 per gallon).

The solution is simple, but only if you are aware of the fuel you are consuming by letting drivers idle.

To minimize idling within your fleet, you can associate or disassociate a driver to a vehicle using your fleet management software.

Telematics also can set alerts, and the tool can rank drivers by idle time. By actively working with drivers and their idling habits or misconceptions about idling, you can seriously reduce fuel costs.

Set clear safety policies

The key to safety is establishing clear and concise guidelines employees can follow. The next step is to ensure that policies and procedures are enforced.

Having a fleet safety policy that is read and signed by drivers and enforced by management can go a long way when it comes to taking action on risky behaviors. A policy should go hand in hand with why and how a telematics solution and its data are used.

Vehicle and driver safety not only keep our roads safe from harm but also allow for increased productivity and cost management. So, keep the roads safe, and you’ll keep money in your pocket.

This article was provided by Geotab Inc., Oakville, Ontario. More information is available at www.geotab.com.