Fleet News

Ask Nigel: risk management

Gillian Joyce, national fleet manager at Post Office, says: “We are not yet seeing the fruits of our risk management programme. We expected our accident rate to increase when we encouraged more reporting last year but it is still an upward trend.

Drivers now do an online risk assessment followed by online modules, depending on their risk level.

We have recently introduced a complete ban on mobile phone use while driving, (even on hands-free), we do on-the-road training  with drivers that need specific support, such as help with reversing, and we now have more in-depth conversations with our drivers post road traffic  incidents. Next year, we will have a big drive on telematics, using management information to better appreciate driver behaviour and consider how we can use this information to improve our driver’s skills. What more can we do?”

Nigel says:

Well done on such as wide-ranging approach to risk. Yours is clearly a large and challenging fleet and, from what you have told me, you are doing almost everything that the risk management experts tell us will lead to a reduction in accidents – licence checks, risk assessments, online and in-vehicle training, accident follow-up – and plan  to use the behavioural aspects of telematics in the near future. 

Actually, this whole area is much more complex than most people realise, and often benefits take some time to be realised. Effects can also vary from fleet to fleet, dependent on a range of factors.  

You say that your accident rate has increased and continues to increase as a result of improved reporting. This is not unusual. However, I have found that to focus purely on accident rates alone does not always paint the full picture. There are a number of ways of analysing performance that can help to create a  wider perspective.  
When you started the programme, I am sure that you will have baselined your fleet’s performance. Was your perception that your record was good, bad or average?  Did you also look at other statistics – the average mileage between incidents, for example? 

I have seen variances of between 30,000 miles and 120,000 miles between fleets. How does the proportion of own-fault versus third-party-fault incidents compare? What is the average repair cost for an own-fault incident? All these areas can tell you how  your fleet is doing, and where improvements may  be happening, particularly if benchmarked with  other fleets. 

At the conclusion of your question, you ask whether there is more that you can do. 

The only thing I can suggest, if you don’t do this already, is some form of penalty for drivers involved in frequent incidents and/or reward for safe drivers. The latter seems to be finding more and more favour nowadays and there are a number of successful case studies where this has reduced both incidents  and fuel costs. 

However, your proposed introduction of telematics will be the measure that has the biggest impact and sees your figures start to improve.  

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