Driver safety is for many a field of health and safety that has not been properly developed with a plan. With our current focus on communication, we sit down with eDriving’s Europe Managing Director Andy Cuerden for a discussion on how to make a successful business case for driver risk management.
Q: First, Andy, tell us about the need to make a business case for driver risk management?
A: I’m sure anyone involved in managing employee safety is already aware of the risks associated with driving. For anyone that isn’t, we know that approximately one in three road deaths and one in five seriously injured casualties occur while someone is driving for work. Saving lives and serious injuries should be enough of a reason, but there are many additional benefits to managing driver risk, including a reduction in vehicle repair costs, fuel costs, insurance, and total cost of fleet ownership, as well as an increase in employee engagement, productivity, well-being and customer satisfaction.
In addition, a programme that encourages safer driving behaviours naturally delivers sustainability benefits. This is currently an extremely high priority on the corporate agenda, and the reason that eDriving’s MentorSM smartphone app is introducing an “eco” indicator that enables drivers to see how their eco-friendly their driving is.
Q: What’s the main reason for companies failing to recognise the importance of driver risk management?
A: Unfortunately, driver safety is often seen a “box-ticking” exercise. And, it’s also often a reactive measure after a crash. Our research with universities in the UK and overseas back in the 1990s concluded that a data-led “pro-active” strategy was the solution to the successful management of driver safety, rather than reacting to an event after it has taken place.
Q: In terms of legal obligations, what’s required of companies?
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states that organisations must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. They must also ensure that others are not put at risk by the company’s work-related driving activities.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require companies to manage health and safety effectively. This includes carrying out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by the organisation’s work activities.
Employers should consult with their employees on health and safety issues, including: risks arising from their work; proposals to manage and/or control these risks; and the best ways of providing information and training.
Additionally, if an employee is killed while driving for work, and there is evidence that serious management failures resulted in a ‘gross breach of a relevant duty of care’, the employer or organisation could face prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
In addition to the above, the HSE’s Driving at Work guidance helps organisations meet their legal requirements, and recommends a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach to managing road safety.
It’s important for organisations to be aware that their duty to ensure that the vehicle, the driver and the public are safe relates to ANY vehicle being used for business purposes, not just company-owned vehicles.
Q: So, are you referring to “grey fleet” vehicles?
A: Yes, and in fact grey fleet is ANY vehicle used by an employee for making a work-related journey. Something that not everyone realises is that this does not just include cars. Grey fleet can actually encompass motorcycles, scooters and even bicycles.
Q: Is the best option a “catch all” safety programme for all employees?
A: Not quite! A “catch-all” driver safety program that provides the same training to ALL drivers is highly unlikely to be as effective as a comprehensive driver risk management program that identifies drivers for reward and recognition, and also identifies those drivers most in need of support, setting out to improve the behaviours and attitudes of these drivers. Research tells us that, on average, 20% of a company’s drivers represent a much greater risk on the road than the majority. Identifying driver risk levels and guiding high-risk drivers to safer on-road behaviours is crucial for reducing collisions and incidents.
Q: So, how do you make the case to the decision-makers about driver risk management?
A: For many companies, the starting point is to measure what not doing anything costs. In other words, what do collisions and risk cost your organisation? It’s quite a complex calculation but typically, the cost of risk ranges from 25 to 40% of the total cost of ownership. Remember that crash costs do not just involve repairs, but also wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, recruitment costs for replacement/temporary workers, reduced vehicle values and brand erosion. And remember that the best way to reduce insurance premiums is to have fewer collisions. To build a business case you’ll need to support these costs with trend analysis and future crash predictions.
Return on Investment (ROI) is likely to be one of the most in demand calculations! This involves working out how much collisions cost your organisation, and by how much your programme is expected to reduce collisions. Typically, eDriving clients enjoy a 10-20 times return on investment, and a reduction in collisions of up to 67%!
Q: Are the financial aspects the most important part of the business case?
A: A predicted reduction in total cost of ownership is usually an important part of the business case, combined with details of the associated benefits of a driver risk management programme, including
reductions in collisions, injuries, incidents, licence endorsements, damage and claims. It’s definitely important to incorporate the other associated benefits such as reduced fuel use and a reduction in emissions brought about by more effective journey planning and safer, more efficient driving.
Having a positive safety culture in place with a strong focus on driver safety also helps companies to address corporate social responsibility, achieve sustainability goals and can even put them at a competitive advantage over other companies, for example, when entering a tender process for business, or bidding for a contract in which safety is an important consideration.
Q: What are some of the main obstacles when trying to implement a driver safety programme?
A: Typical concerns include the initial costs, resources and time required to introduce the programme.
Privacy is another hurdle that many organisations face. Some are concerned that risk assessments are too intrusive, or that their country’s privacy laws prevent them from implementing a programme. Telematics, in particular, is a sensitive area for many, as some drivers object to being “monitored”. However, concerns such as these should not hold companies back, as they can usually be overcome. eDriving’s programmes, for example, prioritise driver privacy, and do not “monitor” the driver, or share location data. Data is only collected on a driver once they give permission, and only for the purposes of their safety.
By addressing concerns at the outset and building them into your business case, you’re able to demonstrate that you acknowledge the associated costs and obstacles, and have accounted for them in your plan.
Q: Finally, for anyone feeling daunted by the prospect of starting a business case, what’s your advice?
A: The planning and introduction of a driver risk management programme doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s a very worthwhile exercise! Keep the goal in mind: ensuring that employees return home safely to their loved ones at the end of every working day.
And don’t be afraid to seek help in putting your business case together. At eDriving we have a dedicated Privacy team to help organisations obtain corporate and union approval for their driver risk management programmes, and are happy to support organisations every step of the way!
eDriving, a Solera company, revolutionised driver risk management with the introduction of the world’s first defensive driving CD-ROM in the 1990s. Today, eDriving helps organisations around the world to reduce incidents, collisions, injuries, licence endorsements, carbon emissions, and total cost of fleet ownership through its patented digital driver risk management programmes.
At its heart is the Mentor by eDrivingSM smartphone app that identifies risky driving behaviours for intervention and safe driving habits for recognition. In-app features include micro-training and coaching, gamification, collision reporting, vehicle inspections, and an individual FICO® Safe Driving Score validated to predict the likelihood of being involved in a collision. Through our five-stage, patented Crash-Free Culture® risk reduction methodology, eDriving helps organisations embrace safety and reduce risk for Sales, Service, Delivery and Warehouse drivers, all within a privacy-first, data-secure environment.
eDriving is the digital driver risk management partner of choice for many of the world’s largest organisations, supporting over 1.2 million drivers in 125 countries. Over the past 25 years, eDriving’s research-validated programmes have been recognised with over 100 awards around the world.