This post is part of a series sponsored by IAT Insurance Group.
The most successful fleets are those that have a proactive safety culture and go above and beyond what is dictated by federal and state regulations. They take full advantage of the resources available to them such as telematics, dashboard cameras, traction control technologies, established driver training and follow their hiring and retention strategies accordingly. Additionally, they engage in industry best practices and continually look for ways to improve safety – entertaining suggestions and recommendations from others such as consultants or their insurance company̵7;s loss control team.
Here are four case studies of vehicle fleets using available resources to address safety issues:
1. North Carolina-based general cargo transportation company | Fleet size: 33 power units
During a routine visit to an automotive company, our loss control specialist found that this carrier had 92% of its drivers employed or leased to them for more than a year, exceeding the 70% retention rate benchmark. They also determined that the car company had an accident rate below 8% during the current and previous two insurance periods. Both indicated strong risk management practices and helped IAT bind their business for the next insurance period.
During the insurance period, however, the retention rate and accident rate both became a problem. Retention rates dropped below 65% and their accident rate and severity increased.
An IAT Loss Control specialist assisted the owner and safety director in evaluating the causes of the problems. It was determined that the car company had not followed its own standards for hiring and retaining drivers.
IAT’s loss control team helped this fleet re-establish and adhere to a proactive safety culture. This helped them identify driver training needs and corrective actions. Due to these changes, the engine carrier incurred no additional losses and the driver retention rate improved.
2. Central Illinois-based general freight carrier | Fleet size: 40 tractors and drivers
This company is considered to have a strong, proactive safety culture – one that goes above and beyond what is required by regulations. They are always looking for different ways to promote safety with their employees. Even with this security and risk management strategy in place, they wanted to look for additional ways to improve their practices.
Working with its IAT Loss Control specialist, the carrier developed a CMV driving tips program similar to that promoted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. To enable success, they incorporated their own camera data into the cab to see what can go wrong, and in some cases, what has gone wrong, and they discussed ways to avoid these problems going forward.
Here’s how they do it: The car carrier saves various short videos of their camera data to show their drivers incidents, actual accidents, other people’s mistakes and distracted driving. The drivers are then asked to consider what they could have done differently or how the situation could have been avoided altogether.
As a result, the company has experienced an increase in driver-initiated discussions about safety and driving techniques and improved its safety awareness communication across the business. They continue to look for proactive and different ways to improve their overall safety culture.
3. St. Louis-based trucking company | Fleet size: 56 tractors and drivers
Form and manner violations are very common – they make up 25% of all road enforcement violations. These violations occur if a driver fails to complete all required fields on their on-duty status record on paper or electronic logs. This St. Louis-based trucking companies racked up form and manner violations far beyond acceptable standards.
To solve the problem, their IAT Loss Control specialist helped them develop mock inspections on their property. When drivers arrived at the yard, they were required to conduct a mock roadside inspection with mock DOT officers who “pulled drivers over” and performed various levels of inspections with the fleet of drivers and equipment. They focused on the totality of a road check, but also on form and manner violations. Due to the initial success of the program, the trucking company continues to use it during new driver orientation and will bring back fleet-wide mock reviews every six to 12 months. The success of these inspections has helped to lower their HOS Basic score from 80% to 55%.
4. Phoenix-based trucking company | Fleet size: 20 power units
As a company with a proactive safety culture, this car carrier wanted to reinforce the importance of pre-trip inspections with its drivers. So they prepared a tractor with two out-of-service violations and six non-out-of-service violations at their terminal. When the drivers returned to the terminal after their cargo was ready, they were asked to perform a pre-trip inspection of the prepared equipment and identify any violations.
Drivers who were unable to find all violations were required to review that information with their safety manager to avoid future violations that might have been discovered during a pre-trip quality inspection. Now it is part of their ongoing training and orientation process with new drivers. These efforts can help the business reduce the costs of potential inspections, violations and accidents, all a direct reflection of their proactive safety efforts and culture. The company found success in implementing this procedure. It increased driver awareness and although early in the implementation saw a noticeable improvement in CSA scores, the overall number of violations has started to decrease.
The key to preventing security issues
The common denominator among these four stories is each fleet’s willingness to accept and execute best practices to prevent security issues and loss of control. They leverage available resources, including their insurance company’s resources, to proactively monitor and improve their security programs. With this approach, fleets can position themselves for greater future success.
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By Nick Martin
 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “CMV Driving Tips – Overview,” 10 Feb. 2015.
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