The fleet safety landscape is a challenging one to keep up with as fleet managers try to stay on top of recommended best practices, technological advancements in safety tools, and the latest research to make the right decisions. In addition to safety vigilance, fleet managers must keep cost-reduction initiatives, compliance, fuel prices, and operational efficiency all top of mind. It’s a tall order to keep this many plates spinning while keeping everyone safe on the road.

That’s why having the right, accurate data at your fingertips is key. Only armed with the most relevant information about accident causes, insurance impacts, and legal risks will fleet managers be conscientious leaders. It’s important to know what’s really happening on the road— how driver performance impacts your bottom line—to proactively make the smartest-possible decisions. 

At Netradyne, our mission is to keep the roads safe. We gathered information from various resources to create this digest of fleet safety statistics to help fleet managers stay abreast of the latest safety data.. Whether you’re looking to justify safety solution investments to stakeholders or gather information for training purposes, use the below to set the foundation for your safety program’s progress.

Identifying the Top Safety Issues for Fleets

Fleet managers consistently prioritize driver safety—there’s no question about that. According to independent research conducted by Expert Market,[1] 48% of U.S. respondents place driver safety as their top operational priority.

 

 illustration highlighting the importance of driver safety in 2023.

 

But the unfortunate reality is that—no matter how high the safety priority for fleet managers—accidents will happen. That’s why identifying the top safety issues for your fleet is the first step in developing a reliable safety program to address the root causes of accidents.

 

How many accidents are caused by distracted driving per year?

Take distraction, for example. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA),[2] there are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

Tragically, distraction results in fatalities, as per the following data from the NHTSA:

 

chart illustrating NHTSA data about crashes involving distracted drivers in 2021.

 

chart illustrating NHTSA data about fatal crashes involving distracted drivers from 2017 - 2021.

 

How many accidents are caused by fatigue per year?

The data shows the alarming impact of fatigue on driver focus and road safety.  According to studies from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Emergency and Regulatory Compliance Services (ECRS), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB),[3] fatigue-related accidents result in over 100,000 fatigue-related motor accidents per year, causing 71,000 injuries and 800 preventable deaths.

 

graphic illustrating the number of fatigue-related trucking and commercial vehicle accidents per year in the U.S.

 

What’s worse: drivers who are fatigued are proven to engage in dangerous driving behaviors that lead to accidents. Fatigue Science performed several independent telematics studies with truck drivers. In these studies, they found there was an 8.5x higher incidence of harsh braking when drivers were predicted to be highly fatigued. The same study found that drivers whose telematics indicated high fatigue were four times more likely to have speeding events recorded by telematics. In a separate study, Fatigue Science found that truck drivers who were fatigued had a 14x higher incidence of microsleeps while driving compared to drivers whose telematics did not indicate fatigue.[3]

 

The negative implications are real: truck drivers have at least a 7.3x higher propensity for actual transportation accidents when their telematics scores indicate high fatigue, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.[3] 

 

graphic illustration depicting a correlation between fatigue and commercial vehicle accidents in telematics readings.

 

What percentage of commercial vehicle drivers DON’T wear their seatbelts?

Monitoring in-cab safety best practices like seatbelt wear is essential as well to keep your drivers safe regardless of whether they are at fault in an accident. According to the FMCSA, nearly half of all large commercial truck occupants not wearing a seat belt in a fatal crash died. Nearly 14% of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers do not wear seat belts on the road.[1]

 

illustration highlighting how many commercial vehicle drivers wear seatbelts in 2023.

 

With the right technology, fleet managers will avoid becoming one of these statistics. Advanced AI solutions that monitor driving behavior and enable drivers to coach themselves are a fleet’s best shot at reducing distracted driving, fatigue-related incidents, and violating safety best practices.

 

Identifying Trends in Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles

As the number of registered commercial vehicles on the road grows, fleet managers have yet another challenge: maintaining safety while large trucks and buses proliferate. It’s logical to deduce that more vehicles out there means more risk for accidents—and that is exactly what the data shows.

How many large trucks and buses are on the road in the United States?

Since 2000, the number of registered large trucks and buses in the U.S. has nearly doubled in size.[4]

 

bar graph illustrating FMCSA data about the number of commercial trucks and buses on the road in the U.S.

 

How many injury accidents involving large trucks and buses occur each year?

Correspondingly, since 2005, the number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses has increased by 25%.[4]

 

bar graph illustrating FMCSA data about injuries from commercial vehicle accidents

 

 

The increasing presence of large trucks on our roadways has corresponded with the rise of smartphone usage, sadly resulting in an increase in injury accidents per mile. The FMCSA found that injury accidents per mile involving large trucks hit nearly 75% in 2019, in accordance with an 84% rate of US smartphone adoption.[5]

 

illustration highlighting the increase of fatalities involving large trucks.

 

Trucking safety statistics like these highlight the inescapable need for fleet safety technology. The bigger the fleet and the more vehicles you operate, the greater the risk you face as an organization. It’s paramount for fleet managers to opt for safety solutions that employ sophisticated technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the coming years to avoid all the negative ramifications of accidents.

 

Identifying the Impact of Large Truck Accidents on Insurance Rate Premiums

Speaking of ramifications, you know the general impact accidents have on your insurance rates and costs, but did you know insurance premiums are consistently increasing for commercial fleets across all regions and fleet sizes? According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), insurance premium costs per mile increased overall by 47% between 2008 and 2020, from $0.059 to $0.087.[6] 

 

Line graph showing the increase of trucking and commercial vehicle insurance premiums per mile between 2008 and 2020.

 

ATRI also found that all-sized fleets (very large, large, medium, and small) saw a steady increase in average auto liability premiums between 2018 – 2020.[6] 

 

 bar chart visualizing a steady increase in insurance premiums for commercial fleets over a three year span.

 

Additionally, ATRI found that fleets across the U.S. (regardless of region) continue to see an increase in average premium costs per mile.[7]

 

 bar chart visualizing a steady increase in insurance premiums for fleets by region over a three year span.

 

The data shows that fleet managers have only increasing insurance costs to look forward to, so minimizing rate hikes and accident-spurred premium increases is critical. Fleets must implement accident prevention strategies and solutions, like fleet camera technology, to stabilize insurance costs. Keep in mind that many insurance companies offer discounts to fleets if they incorporate solutions like cameras into their safety programs and demonstrate clear accident-prevention initiatives.

 

Identifying the Impact of Large Truck Accidents on Legal and Operational Costs

To cut costs, fleet managers turn to reducing insurance coverage they might deem excessive, but this tactic often backfires. Cutting coverage reduces premiums in the short run, but it increases insurance carriers’ exposure to nuclear verdict cases.

What impact do insurance coverage adjustments have on commercial fleet insurance premiums?

If your fleet is involved in a nuclear verdict, the legal and operational costs could be catastrophic because the carrier will pass litigation costs onto you. ATRI reports that the average commercial litigation can cost fleets anywhere between $406,386 and $449,792.[6]

 

bar graph showing impact of reduced premium costs impacting the coverage ability of commercial fleets.

 

How much does litigation cost a commercial fleet?

 

graphic illustrating the impact litigation has on commercial fleets.

 

Now is not the time to forgo adequate insurance coverage—the costs of verdicts are increasing dramatically. From 2012 to 2019, the number of cases with verdicts over $1 million increased by 335%. The number of verdicts between $1 million and $2 million increased by 300% over the same time period, according to ATRI.[8] 

 

graphic illustrating the impact nuclear verdicts has on commercial fleets.

 

Instead of cutting back on insurance coverage, you need to bolster your safety programs with technology. The right solution will function as a cost-saver for your fleet across the insurance, legal, and operational realms, and it should have a proven ability to reduce accidents.

 

How to Reduce Collisions in Your Fleet 

Alongside adopting the right technology, fleet managers should follow this seven-step method to reduce accidents.

 

Step 1: Establish a Culture of Safety

You can foster a fleet culture that prioritizes safety by leveraging psychology and a science-based approach to reinforcing positive behaviors.[9] You’ll also need to strengthen communication with your drivers and ensure you have an open-door policy with them.

Positive reinforcement has been proven to be a more effective method for changing drivers’ mindsets about safety and company culture overall when compared to more traditional, punitive approaches. Fleet managers need to incorporate reward systems and gamification as tools to underscore improving driver behavior. If you aren’t already doing this, you are behind.

 

Step 2: Integrate Comprehensive Driver Training

Training is at the core of any accident-prevention program, but it doesn’t have to be a slog that drivers dread. Innovative technology like Netradyne’s fleet safety solutions[10] puts training and coaching into the hands of drivers, giving them autonomy over their progress. 

 

“It’s important to stay disciplined with coaching, build relationships with drivers, and provide positive recognition. It’s like a bank account—you can’t make a withdrawal unless you have sufficient deposits.”
– Veriha Trucking

 

For example, in-cab audio alerts enable drivers to perform real-time automated coaching and self-correct for safer driving. The key to this method is that the corrective action comes from technology, not a human manager who may be perceived as cracking the whip. When drivers receive reminders through a system they see as neutral, they are more likely to improve.

 

Step 3: Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence Technology

AI-powered fleet Safety[11] is transforming fleet safety as a whole. Fleet managers should not shy away from this powerful technology that delivers real-time analytics and proactively helps fleets and drivers prevent accidents.

Dash cameras that leverage AI-capture and analyze behavior and events to alert drivers of unsafe acts in real-time. They increase the awareness of both fleet managers and drivers themselves regarding unsafe habits such as distracted driving or harsh braking. Netradyne’s fleet safety solutions specifically enable the personalization of driver training and positive coaching using AI.

 

Step 4: Establish a Continuous Driver Coaching and Incentive Program

Not only do incentive programs improve fleet safety [12], they also help ameliorate apprehension toward in-cab technology and significantly improve driver retention. With an average cost of replacing a driver at $12,000 in 2021, fleet managers need to establish ways to ensure driver satisfaction if they want to stay cost-efficient.

You can set up an effective coaching and incentive program by:

  • Identifying your program’s goals
  • Communicating expectations openly to drivers
  • Asking for driver feedback
  • Using gamification
  • Choosing rewards your drivers actually want
  • And sharing the successes of winners

Our favorites? Numbers three and four: asking for driver feedback and using gamification. These are non-traditional methods that are proven to work, and we’ve seen the results. 

 

Step 5: Develop a System for Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Maintaining the mechanics of your fleet’s vehicles is an important best practice related to safety and keeping costs down. This step requires technology like fleet maintenance solutions[13] that:

  • Assess engine use of each vehicle
  • Gather data to analyze fuel efficiency
  • Offer real-time alerts about events related to maintenance 
  • Keep managers and drivers in the loop during daily operations

An added bonus: fleet maintenance technology also supports preventative maintenance, so you avoid after-the-fact repair costs. 

 

Step 6: Develop Metrics, Benchmarks, and Track Progress 

Establishing the right key performance indicators (KPIs)[14] is a vital component of any fleet safety program, and fleet management software helps you stay on top of them. You can determine the right metrics by asking yourself what you’d like to measure and what goals you’d like to achieve. The answers will likely lead you to create metrics that measure aspects such as cost or efficiency.

Software enables you to track a variety of metrics, including empty miles, real-time expenses, vehicle downtime, and safe driving behavior, that culminate in helpful data you use to improve your safety program.

 

Step 7: Safe Driver Recognition

This last step relates directly back to step one in that actively recognizing drivers delivers several benefits:

  • Drivers become more incentivized to meet safety goals
  • It’s scientifically proven to work
  • Recognizing safe driving is another form of positive reinforcement.
  • When you highlight safe driving skills, you reiterate your safety values

 

Fleets that leverage Netradyne’s GreenZone® driver scoring system[15] see the benefits of introducing the first driver score system built on positive driving. Drivers receive automatic recognition for good driving, and managers effectively build a more safety-based culture.

 

[Case Study: Highlighting Successful Fleet Safety Programs]

North American transportation company Halvor Lines is heavily invested in ensuring the safety of its drivers and everyone on the road. With multiple accolades under its belt for providing a stellar work experience and great opportunities for drivers, Halvor Lines wanted to find a way to recognize drivers’ great performances while supporting its safety program. 

Today’s litigious environment made that a challenge, as truckers are the first to blame in the case of any accident, but Netradyne stepped in with our unique Driver•i solution to help.

With Driver•i, Halvor Lines leveraged the power of video to gain visibility into driver performance, quickly access meaningful data about the fleet, and recognize positive, safe driving behavior. The solution allowed Halvor Lines to work with drivers to collectively advance its safety program, all while supporting the best possible work environment for the fleet. Read the full success story.

 

Set Your Safety Program—and Your Drivers—up for Success

Armed with these statistics and data points, fleet managers can better understand their drivers’ performance and overall operations to pinpoint opportunities for improvement. Knowing where safety might be compromised and drivers are more likely to falter sets the stage for better training, smarter leadership, and technology to support these safety efforts.

Indeed, it’s clear from the research that technology is a non-negotiable component of a strong safety program if fleets are to mitigate risk and avoid high insurance and legal costs. Fleets that choose Netradyne’s Driver·i solutions easily overcome these hurdles.

From AI-based fleet camera systems to innovative gamification to managed coaching, Netradyne delivers the advanced technology and methodologies fleets need to stay safe on the ever-busy roads. Ready to enhance your fleet safety and reduce risks for your fleet? 

Explore the Driver•i AI Fleet Camera System and book a demo with us today to experience its advanced features and benefits. 

 

FAQ’s

  • How are fleet managers training drivers on new fleet technologies?
    They are employing incentive programs to make the transition to new fleet technologies easier and more rewarding. They are choosing new fleet technologies that incorporate self-coaching and automation to give drivers autonomy over their improvement.
  • Why is it important to incorporate a camera solution for fleet safety?
    Fleet camera systems are essential to capture both in-cab behavior and external data about vehicles and events on the road. Only with the right camera solution can fleets access video footage to exonerate themselves and drivers in the event of an accident.
  • What keeps fleet managers from prioritizing fleet safety?
    Fleet managers have dozens of moving parts to manage, including cost concerns, optimizing operations, and staying compliant. Fleet safety often falls to the wayside in favor of other daily needs.
  • How do exterior cameras impact fleet safety?
    Exterior cameras capture video footage of circumstances around an event, including the behavior of other vehicles and environmental hazards. They deliver important information to fleet managers when analyzing driver performance to improve safety initiatives.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/seatbelts 
  2. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-distracted-driving 
  3. https://fatiguescience.com/blog/how-driver-fatigue-affects-7-fleet-safety-metrics/
  4. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2020  
  5. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2019  
  6. https://truckingresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/ATRI-Rising-Insurance-Costs-02-2022.pdf 
  7. https://truckingresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/ATRI-Operational-Cost-of-Trucking-06-2023.pdf 
  8. https://truckingresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ATRI-Nuclear-Verdicts-One-Page-Summary-07-2020.pdf 
  9. https://www.netradyne.com/blog/driver-score-new-safety-culture 
  10. https://www.netradyne.com/blog/the-new-guide-to-driver-coaching 
  11. https://www.netradyne.com/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-ai-powered-technology-as-a-fleet-manager 
  12. https://www.netradyne.com/blog/how-to-create-a-driver-incentive-program 
  13. https://www.netradyne.com/blog/best-fleet-vehicle-maintenance-tracking-software-and-solutions 
  14. https://www.netradyne.com/blog/fleet-management-kpis 
  15. https://www.netradyne.com/greenzone-score-analytics

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