Accident Management: Costs and Prevention; Find Fuel Discounts via FleetWeb

As accident management costs continue to rise, fleet managers look for ways to help manage the entire process. This month’s Automotive Fleet cover story – Accident Costs Go Up…Up…Up – says that rising accident management costs are “contributing to fleet manager anxiety.”

Dave Lodding, Donlen’s President of Fleet Management Services, agrees. FridayFleet asked Dave to give us his thoughts on accident management, not only what he’s currently seeing but also what a fleet manager can do before an accident happens.

Proactive Accident Management

Statistics show an average of 20 percent of fleet vehicles are involved in accidents each year. Some of the safety features that protect your drivers such as airbags and crumple zones also make repairs more expensive. Even a six mile-per-hour “fender bender” can sometimes cost more than $2,000. This adds up quickly. At an average cost of $2,135 each, a 200-unit fleet with 40 accidents per year costs your company $85,400.

At Donlen, we’ve seen a significant rise in accident management costs. Compared to the same time in 2010, the percentage of fleet vehicles involved in an accident has increased by .1%, while the average cost of an accident repair has increased 6.7%.

There are several contributing factors, including:

Rising labor costs. As repair estimates increase, more pressure is put on shops to negotiate repair costs, so shops are unable to “throw in” some of the smaller things they used to do.

Decreasing fleet age. Companies are starting to purchase new vehicles again, so the overall fleet age is decreasing. Many new vehicles utilize technologies and materials that are more expensive to repair.

To repair or not to repair?

Before deciding whether to repair minor damage, fleets are looking at the fair market value (FMV) of the vehicle first. There is a threshold based on the FMV versus the damage. For example, if a vehicle’s FMV is $10k, and the repair will be more than a certain percentage of the value, fleets may decide not to repair minor damage.

There is also consideration as to the lifecycle of the vehicle: how close is that vehicle to the turn-in time? Is it worth repairing it at this time? These can be important factors when assessing the cost of the accident and the downtime of the vehicle.

There are pros and cons to each decision whether or not to repair that also need to be factored in. Sometimes the considerations are things that don’t carry a specific price tag. Not repairing a vehicle can have an impact on the company’s brand and driver morale. Having a damaged vehicle on the road – particularly one that carries a company logo – can negatively reflect on the company, even in small ways. And drivers behind the wheel may feel “less than proud” to be driving that vehicle.

A proactive approach to accident management

At Donlen, we believe that the best accident management process begins before an accident ever occurs, especially as driver safety continues to be a major focus for most companies. There are a few ways that fleets can help mitigate accident risk:

Driver training. Training should be done before an accident, not as result of an accident to reap the most benefits. After implementing driver training, WaterOne experienced a 70-90 percent reduction in negative driving events, and basically eliminated speeding events over 70 mph. Aside from helping drivers understand their behavior, there are additional benefits to driver training, including:

  • Helping drivers avoid personal injury and vehicle damage
  • Providing an overall risk profile for each driver
  • Problem areas can be identified and addressed with further training
  • May help you qualify for discounts from your insurance provider

Driver monitoring. Implementing telematics into the fleet may be one of the most effective ways for fleets to help control costs and manage behavior. Time and time again, we’ve seen telematics have a direct impact on the number of accidents for a fleet. Multiband’s accident rate dropped 16 percent and calls to their Driver Alert number dropped by 30 percent.

What’s next?

The workforce is changing, and we need to do things differently than we’ve done before. That includes the way accidents are reported and the immediacy of obtaining relevant information. Using mobile apps to collect information from drivers when the accident happens will let us start the process right away, lessening the time vehicles are off the road.

We’re also looking for other ways to help fleets reduce costs related to accidents. Recently, we partnered with Allstate Signature Motor Club for all of our emergency road and towing services. This reduced the average cost of a tow by almost $40. Our vendor management team works hard to negotiate the best prices for the benefit of our customers.

Available Resources

GreenDriver® driver behavior training: Up to 33% of a vehicle’s fuel efficiency is impacted by driver behavior, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. GreenDriver Online Driver Training is the fleet industry’s only full-service training and certification program focused solely on driver behavior.

Learn more here >

DriverPoint™ Telematics: DriverPoint’s multi-faceted program of telematics, online driver training, and driver behavior scorecards will help you meet these challenges head on.

Learn more here >


As President of Donlen Fleet Management Services, Dave is directly responsible for its strategic direction and day-to-day operations. Dave joined Donlen in August 1986 and has held numerous positions including Maintenance Advisor, Manager of Product Development, Director, and Vice President. If you’d like more information on any of Donlen’s accident management services, Dave can be reached at

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Upcoming Events and Webinars

AFLA webinar: DriverPoint™ Telematics – Utilizing Telematics to Improve Your Bottom Line

> Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:00 am ET

Presenter: Jeff Pursell, Vice President, Telematics and Strategic Development

Cost reduction continues to be the number one challenge facing corporate fleets today. In this informative session, Jeff Pursell, Donlen VP, Telematics and Strategic Development, will show you how using a comprehensive telematics solution can help improve efficiencies across your entire fleet – including driver productivity, fuel cost, and fleet safety.

Hertz Value Lease™

Don’t miss this opportunity to see how Hertz Value Lease* can quickly become part of your vehicle selection process. Immediately see the benefits of Hertz Value Lease, including:

  • Broader selection
  • Reduced leasing costs
  • Faster order-to-delivery times

> Thursday, September 13, 2012 11:00 am – Noon CDT

Driver’s Corner

Wearing your seat belt at all times when behind the wheel is not only the law in most states, it’s also just a smart thing to do. In fact, seat belts are the most effective way to prevent death and injury during an accident. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010, 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes and 51 percent of them were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes. So, buckle up!

And Finally…

And finally, we’ve seen so many innovative safety features lately from auto manufacturers. Autonomous-emergency braking (AEB) systems, adaptive headlight systems, lane departure, and pedestrian warning systems are only a few of the most recent industry breakthroughs. While already available as optional equipment in some vehicles, we may soon see these safety features available as standard equipment — especially as statistics are gathered in how they to help reduce accidents and fatalities. We’ll keep an eye on these and more. What safety feature are you most interested in?

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on August 10, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (, with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”