Safety & Accident

10 Questions to Ask When Considering a Driver Risk Management Program

March 2012, Government Fleet - WebXclusive

by Rush Akin

It's 2012 and you're finding that the number of collisions in your fleet are either increasing or staying the same. Adding to your pain is that the severity of these collisions is also increasing. You know it's time to put a safety program in place or enforce the one you currently have. But, where do you start?

Start with drivers -- they can have a huge impact to the cost of operating your fleets.

Ninety-five percent of all collisions involve driver error. Programs that focus on the causes of poor driving to eliminate driver error have been proven to prevent collisions and faulty claims, while also reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs. Effective programs can also reduce property and auto liability and Workers' Compensation claims.

But, how do you know which is the best system for you? The following are the top 10 questions you should ask when considering a driver risk management program (DRM). The first two focus on initial consideration -- how do you even know you need a system, and how do you decide which program is right? Once you've figured that out, it's time to begin comparing available programs.

How do I know I need a driver risk management program?

Are the number of collisions and/or the severity of those collisions increasing or decreasing? Are your drivers being found at fault, or are you quickly settling claims? Do you have a driving safety program in place? If you do, are you enforcing the program? Carefully consider your answers to these questions to help you determine if a DRM program is right for you.

Because drivers are coached on poor driving habits, an effective DRM program will reduce both the number of collisions and the severity of those collisions. No program will completely eliminate collisions, but some may exonerate drivers who are not to blame. As well, an effective program provides the tools to help enforce the fleet's safety program with progressive discipline and recognition/rewards.

With so much technology available, how do I know what type of program I need?

There are many different types of technology available. Don't simply consider cost. Be sure to understand the problems in order to match the right solution to these particular problems. Whether it be a video-based safety system, black box recorder, GPS, cell phone blocker, or some other type of technology, carefully research the options to understand what will be most effective for your environment and the time necessary to effectively manage the program. Consider how it will fit into your safety culture and how you will use it to enforce the safety programs already in place.

What features are unique to the program?

There are as many features available as there are different types of technology. Don't simply purchase the program that has the most features. Be sure to understand the benefits of those features and which you'll actually use.

What kind of customer support do you offer?

Everyone expects top-notch customer support and every company promises it. But, is the company going to be there to help you with installation or each time you add a new site? What about when the hardware stops working or when back-end systems go down? Do they have the necessary back-up and support to ensure you have 24/7 access to the information you need? The best way to know is by talking with their current customers. Be sure there's a large enough customer base using the program and it's installed on similar vehicles to yours to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.

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