Improving Focus on Safety

How Successful Fleets can Mitigate Increased Insurance Cost

By Chris Mitchell – Wood Gutmann & Bogart Insurance Brokers

It’s time to get back to fundamentals. I’m talking about safety. We all want drivers productive and healthy and our equipment working to profitably grow operations.

There are signs the economy is improving. We’re focused on helping grow you grow your operations; it’s been a long time coming. An improving economy means more work and potentially more accidents for our members. Now is the time to ensure programs are in place to create a best in class operation and reduce the likelihood of experiencing a loss that could cripple the business.

Now, we don’t really need a study to tell us what exposures exist with the majority of our members. Certainly the over-the-road exposure is greatest in trucking. Some of the more common accident types we see; sideswipes while changing lanes, rear-ends, accidents at intersections, entering and exiting the freeway (or should I say, someone else entering and exiting the freeway). But, I’ll use one example to confirm what we already instinctively know.

Let’s look at results from the Drive Cam study. They looked at risky behaviors that are most predictive of a crash. Particular emphasis was placed on those behaviors that lead to the most severe accidents. They were:

Most common risky behaviors:

  • Driver Unbelted- makes consequences more severe
  • Not Looking Far Ahead- rear-ends, wear and tear
  • Following Distance- too close <2 seconds – DOT recommendation 4 seconds

Most predictive of future collisions

  • Drowsy- 2.3 times more likely to later be involved in a crash
  • Speeding 1.6 times
  • Failed to Keep an Out (situational awareness)

Top significant behaviors- severity focus

  • Near Collision- avoidable
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Not Scanning the Intersection
  • Handheld Cell Use
  • Traffic Violation

No surprises here. Professional drivers know the causes. So what happens? We lose focus, trying to do more with less, want to impress the boss by getting that load there quickly; maybe family matters are impacting performance – essentially any number of factors that cause a loss of safety focus.

There are a number of safety initiatives that can be implemented to assure focus and reduce the exposure to loss. Some of the key programs/activities to address these exposures are;

  • Formalize fleet safety program
  • Strengthen road test procedures
  • Install a mirror check station
  • Deliver Decision/Distracted Driving training to all drivers on a regular basis
  • Pre-trip inspections
  • Require all drivers to sign vehicle use agreements which can include compliance with policies; safe following distance, seat belt usage, and cell phone use for example

These safety initiatives are just a part of an effective risk management program that can ultimately lead to lower costs and a more competitive business.

Some of you have heard me say….we can’t depend on the market to reduce our costs. We need to recommit to safety and improving operations.

For more information or assistance with implementing risk management programs,contact:
Chris Mitchell – 714-824-8301

Chris Mitchell is a affiliate member of CCTA.