Covering your risk

When it comes to collision management for fleets, every organization needs the right coverage in their risk exposure.

Who’s going to negotiate the right certificate of liability insurance with insurers to get the best proposition? The answer is often the purchasing department. Recently, fleet managers have been solicited to go beyond reporting collisions as just the facts. They must do more than produce KPIs, driver’s licence verification, repairs and so on. They must analyze driver’s behaviour, review policies and instructions to include new laws and regulations, such as the recent marijuana legislation.

Collision management vs risk management
According to NAFA, collision management falls under risk management. Fleet managers must work with risk managers to make sure that an organization’s exposure for vehicles is well covered and well protected against any issues (accidents, death, major and minor injuries, et cetera) that can occur with vehicles. NAFA talks of crash Management instead of collision management. For more details, you can get the Risk Management guide from NAFA’s website. You will have a full and complete document on this topic. To get a copy of an e-guide, visit the following link:
NAFA says this about risk management: Risks can be classified according to the probable frequency and magnitude of future loss. Risk management (involves) identifying, evaluating and measuring risk, then developing strategies to control it … risk is most often aligned with loss exposures faced by the organization. These loss exposures are typically pure and finite losses resulting from catastrophic events or crashes. (Risk management guide page 8).
The fleet manager’s role is to use their expertise in collision management to cover aspects that need to be integrated into the risk management process of their organization. Some of those aspects are:

  • Insurance;
  • Safety program;
  • Crash management and motor vechicle records;
  • Maintenance (ensuring vehicles are safe to use);
  • Employee-provided vehicles (liability).

Now that we understand the fleet manager’s role in the collision management process, here’s what fleet managers have to work on.

Recent developments
In the past, alcohol was one of the issues fleet managers focused on when dealing with the use of an organization’s vehicles. Speed was another. Now, distracted drivers are prioritized, particularly with the use of cell phones and, more specifically, texting while driving. Management shouldn’t avoid this issue and updating the use of vehicles policy should be a priority.

Any serious website on this topic concludes distracted driving is now the first subject highlighted in the use of vehicles. Fleet, safety and risk managers are under pressure to find the best approach to manage this. Some organizations include a total ban of cellular phone use. Some of them require a minimum use of cell phones to manage some aspects of there operations, such as emergency intervention on different sites.

In distracted driving cases, drivers on mobile devices are up to four times as likely to be involved in a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2017. What’s more, 80 per cent of collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010).

Driver fatigue is another risk. On the web site of the SAAQ (Quebec equivalent of drivers license), on average, 78 people are killed annually, and 8,532 people are injured in an accident related to driver fatigue. From 2014 to 2018, fatigue was a factor in 21 per cent of fatalities (source :

Status quo is not acceptable. Fleet managers, through different departments of their organizations, need to act. They need to remember to evaluate exposure continuously and review their use of vehicles policy. An annual review a good practice.
It’s unpleasant to manage fatalities following a collision, but costs are an important consequence that needs highlighting.
From my experience as a fleet manager, the first step is ensuring you have a use-of-vehicles policy and updating it regularly. If not, fleet managers should propose modifications. Next, establish KPIs that reflect policy and work towards these goals:

  1. Crash rates by type of equipment and crash;
  2. High-crash locations;
  3. Crashes by seniority groups;
  4. Kilometres operated per crash;
  5. Crash costs per kilometres (Risk Management Guide, page 78).

Best practices include:

  • Register for collision

    Roger Constantin is a fleet management expert. Reach him at [email protected]
  • Collision Prevention Program
  • Motor Vehicle Record review
  • Develop a Driver Behaviour Program

Manufacturers are working to include more safety technology to reduce collision, but the next major step is autonomous vehicles. Are you ready for it?