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May 10, 2012

Accidents happen, even in the safest fleets. In this installment of CAF’s ongoing Best Practices series, a variety of accident management programs are reviewed.

Accident management is a subject many fleets find difficult to discuss. Of course, no fleet wants to experience one, but they do happen. When an accident occurs, the most important step to controlling the associated costs is to ensure a policy is in place that clearly defines what the driver of the vehicle involved is expected to do.

“Best practice starts with a commitment to manage fleet safety as a critical business activity,” said Paul Wingate, National Director, Sales Force Effectiveness, TLS Fleet Management. “A systematic approach to your fleet policy that takes into account not only how accidents are handled but also what a company or organization is doing to mitigate risk is essential. This involves minimizing the situational stress to employees when accidents occur and the procedures, programs and services you have in place to maximize the safety of your drivers before and after the fact. TLS Fleet Management provides a full suite of cost-effective, customized solutions to effectively assist companies and organizations to accomplish this important goal.”

A carefully crafted accident management program is intended to deal with the consequences of an accident in the simplest way possible. David Rutherford, Director, Fleet Services advises that Jim Pattison Lease proposes a five point solution, “take care of the drivers, our 24/7 accident management team (AMT) ensures your drivers receive any necessary personal help, including emergency assistance, towing, and rental vehicles. Streamline reporting, our AMT takes a full accident report, forwards it to your liability carrier or third party administrator, and makes it available online to you and others you designate. Vehicle, our accident damage specialists review and negotiate estimates using their expertise, auditing software, and independent appraisers when necessary. Financial recovery, our accident subrogation experts conduct an accident investigation concurrent with the repair process and pursue maximum recovery according to provincial laws. Mitigate risk, our system gives you immediate access to accident and risk details for transaction monitoring, repair status, cost management, and trend analysis.”

It is also of utmost importance that fleet operators know their fleet vehicles and drivers inside and out. The more information available about vehicle and driver, the better prepared the fleet will be to manage the incident related costs.

“At Wheels, we work with each client to know their vehicles, drivers and their jobs, so that in the event of an accident, we have the data in place to help us understand exactly how the accident will affect their driver and their business,” said Toni Garofalo, Account Manager, Wheels Inc. “Our program is managed fully in-house, giving us a unique level of direct per-incident oversight to ensure the right repair decisions are made at the best possible cost for our clients.”

Last but not least, as emphasized in the previous CAF Best Practices feature, driver training can not only mitigate the cost of an incident but significantly reduce the number going forward.

“Providing driver training to prevent accidents should be considered and results can be measured, especially if a fleet has been actively tracking accident claims details using our Accident Management Services. This has been considered, and to a large extent still is considered, as too expensive and impractical for a group of drivers spread out over a large area. However, times have changed and state of the art online training is now available,” said Darlene Spriel, Director Fleet Solutions, Foss National Leasing. “The Foss FAST (Fleet Assessment and Safety Training) program also includes on-line driver assessment to pinpoint areas of weakness and then provide a specifically focused module. By being on-line the cost of driver downtime is minimized. Driving training is now too economical to ignore and holds the key to keeping your drivers safe on the road and producing results for your company.”

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