Efficiently establishing a global driver safety programme
The scale of an international fleet safety programme may be daunting, but working with the right partner can deliver huge benefits.
In few areas of corporate life are the benefits so clear and the route to achieving them so fiendishly difficult as establishing a global driver safety programme. The business case is compelling, a long list of advantages and rewards that range from honouring corporate responsibilities to boosting to the bottom line.
Analysing the human and financial costs of accidents soon reveals that vehicle repair is just the tip of the iceberg.
Businesses have to contend with hire fees for a replacement vehicle, the lost productivity of injured employees, the expense of damaged cargoes and, of course, soaring insurance premiums. Then there’s the potentially ruinous impact of a crash on a company’s reputation.
Extrapolate these figures to the wider economy and the consequences are even more disturbing.
“Globally, an estimated 3% of GDP is lost to road traffic deaths and injuries. In low- and middle-income countries the loss is estimated at up to 5% of GDP,” according to the World Health Organisation.
It argues convincingly that most traffic crashes are both predictable and preventable, but says not enough is done to address driver behaviour, speed management and vehicle safety standards.
“Changing road user behaviour is a critical component of a holistic approach to preventing motor vehicle collisions,” said the WHO.
Large employers can play a major role in improving the safety of their drivers and other road users, but it’s a complicated process – and the more drivers and job functions, cultures, countries and continents that it involves, the more complex it becomes. Working with a specialist partner, however, can unlock the huge benefits of an international approach while avoiding the pitfalls.
The experience of VVCR, an acknowledged international leader in the management of driver safety in Europe, Africa and Middle East, reveals how companies can achieve more than just economies of scale from working at a global level.
Risks and road conditions vary wildly across the world, but VVCR’s global experience – with its global network of partner companies and also as member of the Global Fleet SafeDrive Alliance together with CEPA in Latin America and CEI in North America - shows that certain corporate policies can and should be consistent across continents. Such as the need for employers to be confident that all their drivers are appropriately qualified and have the right attitudes to drive, that their vehicles are properly serviced and maintained, and that robust procedures are in place to ensure each area of the business meets these criteria.
A genuine safety culture can only take root with wholehearted management support at every level of a business.
Following the dictum that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, it’s vital for companies to aggregate driving and accident data on an international basis, collating baseline evidence for benchmarking local and national fleet operations as a first step towards a coherent safety policy.
How many employees drive for business, how far do they drive, and how frequently are they involved in an accident? Measures such as collisions or injuries per million miles / kilometres provide a preliminary insight into areas where the fleet faces higher risks.
Drilling down into this accident data helps to identify drivers and divisions facing undue risk, and highlight gaps in current fleet policy that need to be addressed.
Patrick Hekkert, CEO of VVCR, says “It is rarely drivers’ lack of skill that is to blame for accidents, but rather their behaviour. Understanding how and why drivers act and react behind the wheel is essential to devise a focused safety programme.”
Online risk assessment resources can assess driver attitudes towards road risk and bring to light the most dangerous areas of a fleet. This may be by job function or geography or both, paving the way for a consistent policy to address the risk.
VVCR suggests, for example, a risk-based model of e-learning for low risk drivers, workshops for medium risk drivers, and on road driver training for high risk drivers. The company also recommends a staged rollout of safety plans, so that pilot projects can establish what is and is not effective, allowing executives to direct future interventions accordingly. The quest for a safer vehicle fleet is never-ending.
The 7 steps towards an international safety programme
1 Establish a baseline for your organisation
2 Align global safety policies
3 Get support from (Line) Management
4 Risk assess your drivers
5 Implement a consistent driver safety programme for your business that can withstand local and regional influences
6 Roll out
7 Evaluate and improve where necessary
Should you require any information about establishing a global driver safety programme for your business, please contact us.
Written with the support of FleetEurope and GlobalFleet