What Your Fleet Drivers Need to Know About Accidents

Private vehicles are back on the roads in record-breaking numbers. Your fleet drivers enjoyed a few years of lighter traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, so they might find the increased traffic extra frustrating now.

Stressed driving is distracted driving. You already know any form of distracted driving leads to more accidents.  Because fleet drivers have more accidents anyway — because they’re on the road so much — fleet managers need to be aware of the conditions in the cab. 

Training that fleet managers and supervisors should cover with drivers should cover traffic accidents.  This training is particularly valuable during the high-volume traffic months of summer and during the winter holidays.  Fleet drivers should know about accident statistics, keep a post-accident checklist, and have information or training in defensive driving. 

Why driver training matters: Statistics to know

In the United States, 20% of all traffic accidents involve fleet vehicles.  This includes commercial truck and delivery drivers. The average cost of an accident involving a fleet driver is $70,000.  That’s at least twice the average cost of an accident involving non-professional drivers. 

Distracted driving is the number one cause of all traffic accidents, including fleet accidents, and 26% of these accidents stem from cell phone use while driving.

So, remind your drivers that focus is vital, especially during:

  • High-traffic times like summer and during winter holidays
  • Inclement weather
  • Road-work areas

Provide a post-accident checklist for drivers

Fleet managers should develop a checklist drivers can keep in the glove box for accident protocol.  It should include your office phone number and the following steps. 

  1. Check for Injuries and Call 911 if Needed

Your drivers’ safety and that of others are paramount.  The first thing they should do is check for injuries and call 911 if needed. 

  1. Move the Vehicle to a Safe Spot

This is particularly important on highways and during inclement weather or low visibility.  Non-professional drivers often speed, and more vehicles can become involved if your fleet vehicle obstructs the road. 

  1. Call the Fleet Manager 

After an accident, drivers should call the office right away.  As mentioned, it’s a good idea to include your phone number at the top of the checklist.

  1. Wait for Law Enforcement and Give a Statement

For auto insurance purposes, your driver mustn’t admit fault

As they wait for law enforcement to arrive, they can gather any documents or information. License plate numbers, manifests, and paper logs that back up ELD devices are necessary.  Drivers should speak calmly with law enforcement and only give them the facts. 

Now let’s think about ways you can improve driver safety. 

The benefits of defensive driver courses

Defensive driver training can reduce the number of accidents involving your fleet and can reduce your commercial auto insurance rates.  If your organization pays for this training, it will be tax-deductible as a business expense, so it’s a win-win-win.

Defensive driving courses train drivers to anticipate, identify, and avoid road hazards.  They’re also helpful for drivers who have been traumatized by an accident, as they’ll feel more confident after the class. 

What if my organization cannot afford defensive driver training?

Issues like high diesel fuel costs, pandemics, and skyrocketing insurance rates can take a toll on the transportation industry.  Fleet managers could contact some defensive driving training providers and ask for a bulk rate to improve their insurance prices and reduce the number of accidents. Or, consider offering another incentive to drivers who take the class on their own time. A $50 cash bonus and a paid day off might be enough to motivate them. Be sure to get a copy of their certification and provide it to your truck insurance company. 

Questions? ASK THE LAWYER. Call 855-768-8845 or schedule an appointment at 855-768-8845. The lawyer you hire does make a difference!

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