Instead of making drivers more careful, they could resort to lying about incidents or even not reporting them until they hand the vehicle back at the end of its fleet life, experts warn.
This could force up wear-and-tear charges from leasing suppliers and even lead to legal problems if accidents are not reported.
Members of the London East region of ACFO, the fleet managers’ association, heard from claims and incident management firm Nobilas UK that many companies had learnt from experience.
Peter Greig, key account manager for Nobilas, said: ‘You could see the whole make-up of your claims experience change.
‘If drivers are fined for at-fault accidents, then they could all resort to listing ‘damaged while parked’ as the cause, rather then hitting another object.
‘Alternatively, they might not even make a claim at all.
‘The only way to get round this problem may be for companies to fine their drivers or charge them an excess for every incident, whether it was their fault or not.
‘However, getting the basics right is vital and I firmly believe communication with drivers and management is vital to any fleet manager to have successful policies.’
At the meeting, the firm revealed detailed analysis of incidents on thousands of Britain’s fleets, showing that on average 57% of the fleet will be damaged in an ‘incident’ each year.
With average repair costs of £841, insurers and fleet operators are spending tens of millions of pounds each year repairing the damage of at-fault and non-fault incidents.
The firm also revealed that average vehicle downtime for repairs is just over seven days. Nobilas, part of Akzo Nobel, provides accident management, repair management and claims management support.