We’ve been looking back at historical data to assess the impact of our in-vehicle driver training courses and thought we’d share some results. The following table shows 5 years of collision data collected from a customer over a five-year period (incidentally this is a company where no vehicles have any form of telematics fitted):

Collision Type Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Parking and Maneouvering – Total 807 641 626 481 487
Rear-End Shunts – Total 181 204 144 152 123
Junction Collisions – Total 116 91 87 79 53
Other Collisions – Total 246 313 272 248 235
Total Collisions for Year 1350 1249 1129 960 898

As you can see, over a 5 year period, there’s been a 30%+ decrease in collisions, showing the positive impact that driver training can have. Of course, this doesn’t tell the whole story.

Most Parking and Manoeuvering collisions – 807 in year 1 – aren’t due to harsh actions, but are typically due to not thinking, not looking properly, not choosing where to park with safety in mind – factors that electronics can’t measure, so telematics struggles to directly affect these claims. Our own driver training encourages drivers to think about parking their vehicles in the safest spots and stimulates better awareness and planning so as to avoid collisions when manoeuvring; areas that are often learnt through practice and experience that telematics cannot offer.

Incidentally, especially in the van/truck world, most fleets don’t report all manoeuvring collisions to insurers, instead choosing to just pay to repair it themselves so that it doesn’t increase their claims/collision history (and therefore next year’s premium) – but that fleet will usually know how much it costs them each year, even if they don’t let others know.

Rear-End Shunts and Junction Collisions

The prime point to note is that where telematics will be more effective is in reducing the number of the Rear-End Shunt and Junction Collisions (300 collisions in year 1) and some of the Other Collisions – because telematics encourages drivers to reduce ‘infringements’ by keeping space, being more alert and acting sooner. A by-product is that smoother driving means less braking, and therefore less ‘hit-from-behind’ claims. But, it is not specifically targeted in the way that it will be in driver training where understanding the importance of good driving habits is covered in depth.

Telematics systems work on counting the number of occurrences of sudden or harsh changes in speed or direction beyond an acceptable level, which are usually a result of a driver who is too close, aggressive, distracted, or not thinking ahead. It is a picture of a driver’s mind-set. Our driver coaching works by encouraging drivers to develop the optimum mind-set to adapt to conditions on the road and modify their driving in a way that truly lessens the chance of incidents. This behavioural change is what makes difference and should be promoted.

Some additional notes:

  1. In this example not everyone was trained in in the first year – only a percentage of the driving fleet was asked to take part each year – and of that total only a small number of these undertook in-vehicle training. Had everyone been trained in Year 1 the figures would be dramatically different.
  2. Some fleets consider using video or camera systems to video their crashes, often to avoid fraudulent claims – while this may help with the ‘fault’ aspect it won’t tell the fleet if a driver is routinely driving inappropriately. Most camera systems can’t look at what is going on behind or alongside their vehicle, and won’t tell you where a driver is looking at any given moment in relation to events externally – aside from the many hours of footage to review.

There are no silver bullets in driving, just a jigsaw of protection, of which training is an integral and important part.

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This article was put together by our fleet expert John Davidge. Click to connect with him on LinkedIn.

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