Creating a Driver Policy: Reducing Accidents with a Proactive Strategy

donlen-accident-avoidance1 in 5: That’s how many claims the average fleet makes per year; one claim for every five vehicles they insure. And of those 20% of your vehicles that will be involved in an accident, almost half are the fault of a third party.

Avoidance is the best way to reduce the costs associated with accidents: processing claims, higher insurance costs, repairs, rentals, and if necessary, replacement. Not to mention the loss of fleet productivity. But most important, avoidance will help keep your drivers safe.

But how can a fleet avoid accidents?

Unfortunately, some accidents can’t be avoided, but reducing those that are from driver error can significantly reduce your expenses and help keep productivity levels high. A multi-faceted proactive approach may be your best weapon, starting with a comprehensive driver policy.

Driver Policy

If you don’t already have a driver policy in place, or perhaps you haven’t reviewed it lately, it could be time. Have you ever had to sign your name to a document? Perhaps a contract or agreement. Does it make you feel more accountable? For most people it does. Your driver policy can contain information on cell phone usage, traffic violations, safety guidelines, revocation of company car privileges, acceptable personal use, defensive driving, and alcohol and substance abuse while driving.

In addition, a driver policy gives drivers one source for all information relating to their use of a company vehicle, including ordering and maintenance. No more searching email or the company intranet for the relevant policy – it’s in one spot.

A good driver policy can cover many areas, and can be customized depending on your specific requirements and fleet policies:

  • General Information
    • Employee Eligibility
    • Replacement Vehicles
    • Driver Responsibilities
    • Revocation of Company Car Privilege
    • Safety Guidelines
    • Driver/Vehicle Maintenance Responsibility
    • Who May Drive the Company-Provided Vehicle
    • Personal Use
    • Business Use
    • Other Use
    • Passengers
    • Control of Keys
    • Pushing and Towing
    • Towing a Trailer
    • Smoking Policy
    • Washing and Cleaning
    • Traffic Violations
    • License Plate Renewal
    • Mileage Reporting
    • Donlen Fleet Services
    • Cell Phone Usage Policy
    • Vandalism/Theft
    • Electronic Equipment Policy
    • Signs
    • Vehicle Rentals
    • Employee Transfer/Unassigned Vehicle
    • Vehicle Transport
  • Vehicle Ordering Information
    • Vehicle Replacement Policy
    • Vehicle Ordering Cycles
    • Vehicle Selection
    • Snow Belt
    • Extra Equipment
    • Vehicle Ordering
    • Vehicle Delivery
    • Vehicle Title and Registration
    • Vehicle Insurance
    • Purchase Policy
    • Vehicle Disposal
  • Vehicle Expenses
    • Preventive Maintenance and Repairs
    • Non-Routine Maintenance and Repair Work
    • Fuel Card
    • Miscellaneous Expenses
    • Change of Address
  • Insurance and Accidents
    • Insurance Coverage
    • Restrictions
    • Accident Reporting
    • Accident Reporting Instructions
    • Repair of Damage to Your Company Vehicle
    • Vehicle Theft
    • Deductibles
    • Injuries
    • Short-term Leave of Absence
    • Long-term Leave of Absence
    • Medical Requests
  • Defensive Driving
    • Definition
    • The Defensive Driving Code
  • Safety Policy
    • General Information
    • Procedure
    • Driver Risk Levels
    • Gross or Willful Misconduct
    • Alcohol and/or Substance Abuse Related Driving Offense

Your Donlen Account Manager can assist you with driver policy creation, making recommendations and giving guidance based on your fleet makeup and utilization.


Next, consider a telematics solution for your fleet, such as DriverPoint™ Telematics. The ability to proactively address certain driver behaviors can really help to reduce your accident rates. Behaviors such as speeding, rapid deceleration and acceleration are red flags – and precursors to potential future trouble if not addressed. One company saw an accident decrease of 16 percent in eight months.

When DriverPoint’s automated online reports began coming in, the fleet manager identified some alarming driving habits and reviewed the reports with Donlen. He got the message out to the supervisors, who then discussed the issues with their technicians. The fleet manager saw marked differences in each group’s driving habits. Technicians understood they were being monitored and drove more safely, avoiding rapid acceleration and hard stops [which as a bonus can help with your maintenance costs]. “When we know we’re being held accountable, it changes our psychology,” said the fleet manager.

Driver Training

There may be instances when your drivers need additional training, whih can be done proactively or after an event such as a moving violation or accident.

Multiple Benefits

Programs such as GreenDriver® teach your drivers how to drive in a way that can improve MPG, reduce CO2, and subsequently improve safety. Reinforcement in key areas such as driver behavior, vehicle maintenance, trip preplanning, and understanding CO2 impact can have a long-lasting effect on drivers. When your drivers understand how small changes in their behavior can make a difference, not only will you reduce overall fleet costs with an MPG improvement, but you can have a safer fleet.

For example, while we all know that tailgating should be avoided. But we also see it happening all the time on the road. Maintaining a safe distance between the vehicle in front avoids the need for rapid deceleration (saving fuel) but also lessens the chance of rear-ending the vehicle (improved safety). Another example is keeping a well-maintained vehicle. Again, a well-performing engine will run more efficiently, and reduces the chances of something going wrong while on the road. Having a driver complete an online course will help them remember their accountability when they are behind the wheel.

Safety Training

Safety training either as a result of traffic violations or after an accident, or proactively to help avoid these situations, can be beneficial to your fleet:

  • Better loss control
  • Helps drivers avoid personal injury and vehicle damage
  • May help you qualify for a discount with your insurance provider
  • Ability to identify problem areas for specific drivers
  • Focused, targeted content when needed

Safety training modules, developed in conjunction with the Traffic Safety Marshals Advisory Board and available online, include:

  • The Importance of Maintenance
  • Non-Moving Injuries
  • Driver Distractions
  • Defensive Backing and Parking
  • Speeding and Braking
  • Escape Routes and Space Cushions
  • Lane Changes and Passing
  • Adjusting to Weather Conditions

Driver Communications

Providing your drivers with important reminders throughout the year can be extremely beneficial. There are many resources available online that provide excellent information, and best of all, most can be done at no cost to you appropriately sourced.

Depending on your company policies or your preferences, communications can happen as frequently as daily — “Your daily safe driving tip” — at intervals such as weekly or in your quarterly newsletter, or even seasonally with something like “Winter driving tips.”

Whichever frequency you choose, consistency is key. Beginning a communication plan is the easy part; continuing on your schedule can be more challenging as busy days and other business matters take priority.

To help you save a bit of time, each week FridayFleet posts information to “Driver’s Corner” that can easily be forwarded to your drivers. Some of them might not apply to your particular fleet, but by offering 52 per year, you can probably find at least one a month that can be sent.

If you’d like some assistance in this area, contact us. One idea would be to send an “end of year” communication to your drivers. We can create a PDF that can be easily forwarded in your email or posted on your intranet. Information can include a full list of the past year’s Driver’s Corner tips, or we can narrow it down to topics such as distracted driving or seasonal tips.

We’re here to help

Driver safety and helping you decrease costs is a priority for us. There are options out there for you, and we’re here to help. We want to discuss particular challenges that you’re facing, look at all the available options to help you meet your goals, and develop a solid action plan. The first point of contact is your Account Manager, or you can send us an email.

Donlen Appoints VP of Sales

donlen-michael-orourkeDonlen is very pleased to announce that Michael O’Rourke has joined Donlen as our East Territory VP of Sales. Together, Mike and West Territory VP of Sales Trip O’Neil will be responsible for Donlen’s overall business development goals throughout the US. “It was an easy decision to come to Donlen after seeing the commitment to customer relationships that is evident across the entire organization,” said Mike, “As an industry leader with an incredible senior leadership team that is focused on long-term success, Donlen is positioned for tremendous growth and I’m looking forward to working with everyone here. I couldn’t help but be impressed with the product and service offerings that will only get better as we undertake new initiatives with Hertz. It’s exciting to be part of this organization and I’m eager to work with my team to contribute to its success.”

Mike is a successful executive who comes to Donlen with more than 15 years experience in sales and leasing. He has held numerous leadership positions throughout his career, including: Commercial Leader, GE Trailer Fleet Services; Regional Sales Manager, GE Trailer Fleet Services; and Regional VP of Sales, GE Capital Fleet Services.

Mike has deep experience in equipment leasing, fleet management, and sales leadership and will bring invaluable perspective to Donlen. He is a Six Sigma Blackbelt, and holds a BS in Business Administration from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT.

Mike will be based out of the Boston area. Welcome to Donlen, Mike!

FleetWeb® Tips

Quickly access Donlen’s Vehicle Production Updates and Schedule from FleetWeb.

  • Type “production” in the search field at the upper right
  • Click on the drop down item “Production Updates”
  • Link opens up a new window with the most up-to-date OEM Production Updates on


Hertz Value Lease™ Deal of the Week

Choose from a pool of quality pre-owned vehicles available for lease. Easily search available vehicles from within FleetWeb.

donlen-hertz-value-lease-nissan-versa-12122011 Nissan Versa S*

  • Estimated Mileage: 29,073
  • Exterior Color: Gray
  • Hertz Value Lease Base Price: $10,850

*Vehicle was available at the time of posting to FridayFleet. The exact vehicle may not be available after this date. Photo of vehicle is for illustrative purposes only.

Contact your Donlen Account Manager to learn more about Hertz Value Lease vehicles that may be right for your application.

Driver’s Corner

We’re knee-deep in party season. Festive lunches with co-workers and business associates. Family and friends gather together on weekends for seasonal celebrations. Here’s a sobering statistic: Every 52 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash. Every 90 seconds, someone is injured. Don’t drink and drive. Choose a designated driver before you make your first toast, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

And Finally…

And finally, December 7 is a “day that will live in infamy” for all of us. What resulted was a terrible time in our history, and one that we all hope will never be repeated. It was also a time for technological innovations that changed many industries, including aviation, communication, and medicine. Jet engines, radar, and sonar were developed during this time. Multiple advancements in medicine included the mass production of penicillin, the use of plasma as a life-saving measure, and how the human body uses vitamins. Today, we offer respect to those who fought in WW2, those who helped to develop technology that we still use today, and those who worked on the home front during that time.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on December 7, 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.”