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Reducing Fleet Risk and Improving Driver Safety: A Win-Win-Win Approach

3 min to readLeasing
This year’s Commercial Vehicle show featured a number of seminars and workshops covering a range of topics, including the latest regulations, technological advancements, and industry trends.
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LeasePlan’s Director of Insurance Operations Steven Kirwan and Corporate Sales Director Jessica Chapman – led a workshop in the Road Ahead Theatre on driver safety and fleet risk. Here is the summary.

Risk in van fleets

Risk is a big issue for van fleets, and the challenges facing fleet managers are numerous. The UK’s LCV population has almost doubled since 2002, and van traffic is higher than it was before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to DfT figures. Moreover, at-work drivers are involved in a third of fatal accidents and a fifth of serious injuries, according to a 2020 University College London (UCL) study.

Challenges for Fleet Managers

The economic and political backdrop is also challenging for fleet managers. Inflation is at its highest level since the late 1970s, pushing up interest rates and operating costs. Vehicle supply is constrained by chip shortages, delaying deliveries and pushing up prices. Electric vans are becoming more popular, and registrations increased by 31.2% from 2021 to 2022. Covid-19 has changed travel patterns, and led to an increase in the van population. Fleet managers are under constant pressure to reduce costs and ensure uptime.

The best way to achieve both of those goals is to improve driver behaviour.

Top down approach to safety

Driver behaviour, training, and fleet safety are critical to mitigating risk. But where do you start? A culture of safer driving isn’t just a task for fleet managers – it should be a focus for every part of an organisation. Management buy-in is vital, as it cascades through every layer of the business. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all,' so set clear goals that are relevant to your organisation’s pain points. Demonstrate the benefits: cost, efficiency, safety, and how those fit your goals.

Driver behaviour

Driver behaviour can have a significant impact on road safety. It’s important to identify what’s causing poor driver behaviours, such as inadequate time to complete jobs and take rest breaks, lack of training for new technology, and other concerns. Talk to drivers and find out what they’re worried about. Explain initiatives clearly on notice boards, apps, text messages, and other methods. Gamification can help, by rewarding those who go above and beyond.

Tailored training

Tailor training to your fleet and drivers, and use telematics, fines, and accident data to help identify and track trends, ensuring it’s as efficient as possible. Training is an ongoing process, and driver comms can keep drivers up to date about rules and regulations, new technologies, and remind them about avoiding distractions at the wheel. Briefing employees about inspections, basic maintenance, and roadside checks is useful as workforces become more remote. New technology, such as e-learning and VR headsets, can help reduce unnecessary downtime.

Tapping into technology

Fleets have never had better access to data, but it requires effective use.

Data is very useful, but be clear about what you want to find out. Effective reporting, context, and site-by-site analysis are vital for spotting trends and targeting initiatives.

In summary

Risk can seem daunting, but van fleets have many tools at their disposal to offer targeted initiatives, and the benefits are broad. Better driver safety means fewer incidences and near misses, and a less stressful working environment for drivers. Improved uptime means avoiding unnecessary workshop time for maintenance and repairs, and the need for rental replacements. Lower costs mean better drivers save money on insurance premiums, fuel costs, and wear and tear – and it’s a good way to get insurers onside. In other words, a safer fleet is a win-win-win.

Published at 19 April 2023
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19 April 2023
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