Safety & Accident

State of Georgia Reduces Accident Costs by 14%

After implementing the Driver’s Alert SMART RISK program and other loss control measures, the State of Georgia reduced preventable vehicular accidents, resulting in a savings of $800,000 to taxpayers.

May 2010, Government Fleet - Feature

by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

With an estimated fleet size of 21,000 vehicles, the State of Georgia operates one of the largest government fleets in the country. And while the Department of Administrative Services' (DOAS) Office of Fleet Management centralizes the state government's motor vehicle fleet management functions to combat the increasing number of preventable accidents, including State-produced safety driving training videos and the Driver's Alert SMART RISK program called "Report My Driving." The program was rolled out to all state agencies and universities.

After using "Report My Driving" for only three months and implementing other sweeping loss-control measures, the State realized a 14-percent reduction in preventable vehicular accidents and an $800,000 ­savings to taxpayers.

"We are currently down 14 percent in auto liability claims," said Chris Risley, director, Risk Management Services, DOAS.

Risley, who supervises State insurance and loss control programs, pointed out that if the trend continues, the State will avoid at least $1.5 million in losses in the current fiscal year and potentially $5 million in the first five years of the program.

Change Began with Detailed Analysis

Vehicle accidents and driver safety fall under the supervision of the State's Risk Management Services, and since all claims are reported to and handled by RMS, the division's staff has an extensive database for ongoing analysis.

Prior to implementing the CLCP, loss information was analyzed internally to evaluate statewide driving habits and loss trends, as well as agency-specific loss trends. This step led to development of specific training on trended issues. It also produced focused penalties such as increased deductibles for certain kinds of preventable losses.

"An accident rate was difficult to calculate because liability in Georgia follows the driver, not the vehicle," Risley pointed out. "But at 500 to 700 auto accidents per year, and an average cost of nearly $21,000 per accident (when you include Workers' Compensation costs), the savings opportunity was obvious."

According to Risley, the big three cause codes were improper backing, failure to yield, and following too closely.

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