Driver Safety and Accident Avoidance

That fender bender that your driver just had is also a budget bender! Statistics show an average of 20 percent of fleet vehicles are involved in accidents each year. Even a six mile-per-hour fender bender accident can cost more than $2,000.

“The Insurance Institute says that more than 90 percent of accidents are avoidable,” said Dave Lodding, Donlen’s President of Fleet Management Services. “That’s significant when you look at the averages for fleet.”

At an average cost of $2,135 each, a 200-unit fleet with 40 accidents per year can cost a company $85,400.

So how can you help your drivers increase their safety? Driver training and technology – including telematics – are two easy-to-implement ways to lower accident rates and increase safety.

Driver Behavior:

Sometimes changes in the simplest behaviors can mean the most. According to a recent study by the Society of Automotive Engineers, “turn signal neglect” – failing to use a turn signal when either turning or changing lanes – may result in “as many as 2 million crashes per year”1.

Lodding went on to point out several other tips, in addition to properly using turn signals, that can be passed along to drivers.

  • Approach intersections with caution: The majority of all fatal and injury accidents occur at an intersection. Never assume the other driver will yield the right of way. Even if you have a green light be sure to scan in both directions to be certain cross traffic has stopped.
  • Avoid distractions: Cell phones, while a great tool, can create a significant distraction to the driver of a moving vehicle. No call, text message, or email is worth putting your life or that of someone else in jeopardy.
  • Don’t tailgate: Always maintain a 3-5 second following distance from the car in front of you, even longer in hazardous weather conditions.
  • Maintain your vehicle: Having a safe vehicle can keep you safe. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread depth. Ensure your wiper blades are good and your wiper fluid is filled. And make sure your brakes are performing properly.

Training your drivers has additional benefits beyond safety. After implementing GreenDriver®, in just six months, ITW reduced carbon emissions by 13%, achieved a 12% reduction in miles driven, and expect a 12% reduction in annual fuel spend. If you would like more information about implementing a driver training program, check out GreenDriver or call Nick Ehrhart at 847-412-4968.


Utilizing the latest technology can augment your current safety initiatives. For example, using telematics has many benefits for fleets including overall cost reduction, significant productivity gain, and MPG improvements. But an important benefit is the increase in driver safety. Multiband, DIRECTV’s largest master system operator for multi-dwelling units and one of the largest home service providers, achieved a 16% decrease in accident rates and complaints to their Driver Alert number dropped by 30% since going full time with DriverPoint™ Telematics.

And of course, auto manufacturers are continuously updating vehicle features and technology. Last month, released their guide to important safety features to use when comparing vehicles. Included in the list are: front and side air bags, antilock brakes (ABS) to prevent wheel lock up, traction control to limit wheel spin during acceleration, and safety-belt features including adjustable anchors for shoulder belts.

Helping our customers create a comprehensive accident management program is a priority for us. If you would like more information, contact Jeff Lucas at 847-412-5249.

Driver’s Corner

Every 15 seconds, someone is injured in a traffic crash. One of the best ways to help you remain safe is by wearing your seat belt. Not only is it a law that can result in a ticket and/or fine, it’s just the smart thing to do! Think about it. If you’re in an accident or have to suddenly slam on your brakes, your vehicle may stop, but you won’t. Hitting the windshield, dashboard, or even the pavement if thrown from the vehicle is the unfortunate reality of many accidents or events. Be safe: buckle up every time you – and your passengers – get in the vehicle.

And Finally…

And finally, there are some vehicle safety features that (thankfully) never made it to production. Like the two-sectioned body of the 1950s Sir Vival car (get it? survival?) or the reverse periscopes of the 1971 Nissan 216X to widen your field of vision. Or perhaps the “pedestrian cow-catcher” from the O’Leary Fender Company in 1908 that safely scooped up a pedestrian when the car hit them. And although the direction Cyclops Eye never caught on, we still think that looks pretty cool.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

1 Turn Signal Usage Rate Results: A Comprehensive Field Study of 12,000 Observed Turning Vehicles, published 4/16/2012, by Richard Ponziani, RLP Engineering

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on May 4, 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.”