Controlling accident rates is a major part of any risk management policy and driver-training companies continually enthuse about the benefits of their services.
Although fleet managers realise the benefits of training drivers it may be a more difficult task persuading the board to break into budgets and provide the revenue for tuition.
Epping-based ATC Driver Training has made a new pledge which should help fleets tempt the board to stump up the cash – free retraining in the event of an accident.
Kenny Roberts, managing director at ATC, explained: ‘If any driver has a non-parking blameworthy accident within 12 months of completing a one-to-one full training day, we will retrain free of charge.’
ATC, which has been providing driver training courses for almost 20 years, focuses on not only what the company wants to get out of the training but also the driver.
Prior to the practical training, ATC completes a thorough assessment of the company and the drivers who require it.
Roberts said: ‘Training needs to be more than just a single day. All our trainers are briefed to what the clients’ needs are before the day.
‘Drivers are given a pre-course questionnaire and we also analyse crash data statistics provided by the company.’
The crash data analysis looks at a company’s crash statistics, highlighting trends and enabling ATC to provide forecasts for the client.
The group has developed an information technology (IT) package and will be implementing it with soft drinks giant Britvic, one of its clients, within the next few months.
It enables ATC to look at the trends from accidents, including accident claims, the incident form and situation of the accident, vehicle type and whether the driver was on business or private driving. Following the training, the information is added to the computer system, a risk level is given to drivers and sent to the company alongside a driver-training book for all drivers.
The process does not end with the initial day of training, though.
About 18 months after the initial training procedure, ATC completes a second phase of training focusing on different aspects of driving to the initial phase.
ATC is about to begin phase two with Britvic’s 800 company car drivers. The initial contract began 18 months ago and led to a reduction in the company’s accident rate by more than a third.
Following the initial training period, David Buckby, company secretary at Britvic, said: ‘Results were monitored over an initial 12-month period post training and these were staggering. The sample of drivers who had received the full practical session showed a reduction of 35% in the number of accidents.’
ATC has also achieved a 50% reduction in the accident rate for the Salvation Army’s fleet.
The most important consequence of reducing the accident rate for fleets has got to be the cost savings.
Roberts explained: ‘If drivers are trained the skill lasts for two to three years but companies are not aware of the costs and benefits.
‘Lots of our clients’ statistics show we can cut accident rates by at least 40% but we can prove in monetary terms what the savings are.
‘The average cost of an accident is £900 but we estimate that this represents a third of what it actually costs a company as fleets have hidden additional costs such as downtime and cars being off the road.’
Trained drivers also learn how to improve fuel economy and look after their company car better, both major sources of potential savings for fleets.
Colin Blake, business development manager at ATC, said: ‘Companies also need to look at the other benefits of training for example reduced maintenance costs and fuel savings gained by training.’
‘It is usually the idea of investing money on something which does not necessarily have a guaranteed outcome which usually deters fleets from providing driver training.’
But if Roberts’ figures are anything to go by, reducing the accident rate by 40% could add up to thousands of pounds over the year – a considerable saving on most fleet budgets.