The fleet risk management survey, carried out by Groupama Insurances, polled more than 400 fleets and found that putting company drivers through a training programme reduces the frequency of accidents by up to 20%.
The study compared insurance claims before and after a driver training programme was introduced.
Jack Brownhill, director of motor at Groupama, said: 'This study removes any doubt as to the effectiveness of risk management and driver training interventions in reducing the frequency of accidents and their cost. We have always felt our clients were deriving great benefit from implementing these programmes, with some fleets showing a very substantial improvement in performance.
'A 20% drop in accidents over such a large and lengthy study has massive benefits in terms of lower fleet running costs, increased productivity and the wider road safety benefits for other road users.'
The fleets polled in the survey covered all business sectors and mainly involved company cars, but also included vans and mini-buses.
James Sutherland, managing director at Peak Performance, which provided driver training to the fleets polled, said: 'Because of its size and breadth the Groupama Fleet Risk Management Survey is probably the most comprehensive and independent of its kind ever undertaken in the UK.
'No fleet should doubt that a structured risk management and driver training programme can have a real, quantifiable and long-term impact in reducing accident frequency and costs.'
Last month, the Royal Mail announced it has reduced its £17 million annual accident bill by introducing a driver-training course.
The postal giant teamed up with driver training provider DriveTech in 2002 to offer practical training It is now considering introducing computer-based assessments for its employees (Fleet NewsNet October 23).