FACT: Businesses paid out more than £26m in insurance excess payments as a result of collisions involving company vehicles last year.

Despite the fact that RTAs have impacted 86% of fleets in the past 12 months, an alarming number of drivers are still driving without due consideration for basic road safety. 16% of business drivers report feeling ‘invincible’ when driving, claiming that they never consider their safety to be at risk (source: Masternaut.)  Speeding is by far the most common driving offence committed by company drivers, according to figures released by Capital Solutions Fleet Services.  Analysis of the company’s 55,000-vehicle fleet shows that 41% of fines recorded in the last 12 months were for speeding.  Other common offences such as congestion charge avoidance and parking fines only amount to around half of the same level.

Clearly companies need to invest in accident avoidance.  Driver training, ongoing education programmes, telematics, vehicle safety checks, speed limiting technology and driver incentives are all highly effective, proven measures of risk reduction.  However it’s impossible to eliminate the risk of accidents completely therefore it’s equally important to have a structured accident management process in place too, so that if the worst should happen, you’re prepared.

Your accident response procedure starts at the point of impact. Drivers need to know exactly what to do, what information they need to give and gather, and who to contact.  Erecting a warning triangle on the approach to an incident site, or moving a vehicle out of the path of traffic are simple enough tasks, but drivers need to know when to step in and when to leave the site untouched, as intervening with the best of intentions could be potentially unsafe, or could hinder the gathering of evidence.

Encourage drivers to take photographs.  Most mobile phones have cameras, but some companies provide disposable cameras in vehicles as well.  Note-taking is of paramount importance too and drivers should record vehicle and driver details, passenger information, incident location and time, weather conditions, visibility and anything else that could be relevant, plus of course vehicle damage, injury and details of police attendance.  Detailed incident data will assist greatly with insurance claim processing, and will help to establish why the situation happened and how to avoid re-occurrence.