Tacoma Overhauls its Accident Management Program

After reinventing its accident management program and moving to automated reporting, the City of Tacoma, Wash., dramatically improved customer service ratings and lowered fleet operating costs.

January 2010, Government Fleet - Feature

by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

Harley Davidson motorcycles were deployed by the Tacoma Police Department in 2006.

The third-largest city in Washington state, the City of Tacoma incorporated in 1884, growing from its historical roots as a home of sawmills and a bustling port that exported goods around the world to a center for international exports, the arts, and affordable living. Today, more than 203,400 residents live in Tacoma.

The City’s fleet team manages 1,100 vehicles and pieces of equipment, as well as 200-plus units from other cities and jurisdictions.

When Fred Chun, fleet services manager for the City of Tacoma’s general government fleet, arrived in Tacoma more than three years ago, Fleet Services was evaluated by its customers as barely meeting their expectations. Customers had a total lack of trust with the department.

“While our staff was providing quality services, fleet needed to become more transparent to work with the customers and respond to their actual needs rather than what we thought they needed,” Chun said.

Processes implemented since Chun joined the team include monthly customer meetings, refunds for re-work or mistaken repairs, customer reviews, and definitions for customer equipment specifications. The bottom line for Tacoma Fleet Services was to completely communicate its processes, successes, failures, and costs.

“Currently, our annual customer survey revealed that we’ve reached a 90-percent Excellent Service Rating,” Chun noted.

City Leaves State Accident Management Contract
The City took another bold move in 2008 after re-examining its accident management services. Breaking away from its Washington state contract, the City partnered with The CEI Group, Inc. after sending out an RFP.

“We wanted to establish a longer-term contract customized to our needs,” Chun said. “The Washington state contract provided a good baseline, but items like electronic accident reporting were not available.”
CEI’s data management capability, capacity, and analysis saves the City valuable human and IT resources. Plus, the City’s subrogation recovery rates with CEI exceed the industry standard.

“The cost reduction and associated benefits are well-proven, as it would take so much work to do this work in-house,” Chun said, adding he’s found high-quality body repair work at CEI recommended shops.

To ensure smooth and effective fleet operations, the fleet team reviews key performance indicators (all measurable) and sets goals each month, including:

  • Preventive inspections and maintenance indicators — both on-time and quantity of preventive maintenance.
  • Same-day parts availability for same-day vehicle returns.
  • Billable rates to 70 percent.
  • Financial goal: No profit or no loss as an enterprise fund unit.

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Recent Topics

My agency currently uses live local auction to dispose of surplus assets. We would like to move to on-line. Can anyone give me any...

View Topic

Does anyone run a University fleet similar to ours? New Jersey City University has approximately 10,000 students, 1000 faculty & staff,...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

1045 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Sponsored by

Arrangements whereby the fleet management company charges expenses for maintenance, tires, or other defined services based on actual experience and only when the costs are incurred.

Read more



Thi Dao
Are Your Drivers Safe?

By Thi Dao
It is probable that distracted drivers will not get caught and will not learn anything until something terrible happens. We know it, and they do too, so it continues happening.

Who Tells Your Story?

By Thi Dao

Managing a Police Fleet

Paul Clinton
Police Vehicles Pushed to the Limit in California

By Paul Clinton
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department conducted its annual evaluation of 2018-model-year police vehicles from Oct. 10 to 13. Agency deputies got behind the wheel of 13 four-wheel vehicles and five motorcycles for the testing.

2018 Police Motorcycles Tested in Michigan

By Paul Clinton

Next-Gen Fleet

Facundo Tassara
Improved Communication (There's an App for That)

By Facundo Tassara
Slack brings all of your communication together in a way that you can sort. Conversations, PDFs, and documents are all be archived and searchable.

Booster Fuels: Bringing the Gas Station to You

By Facundo Tassara

Driving Notes

Paul Clinton
2018 Volvo XC60

By Paul Clinton
The 2018 XC60 arrives as the mid-size sibling of the XC90 in a stylish update that includes a bevy of new safety features, infotainment tech, and a well laid-out cabin.

2018 Mercedes Benz GLS450 4MATIC

By Chris Brown

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Ready or Not, Electrification is Coming

By Sherb Brown
We’re not where we need to be with battery technology and the whole herd seems to be betting that a magical new solution will appear in time to save us all. I sure hope they are right.

Fair and Balanced

By Sherb Brown