San Antonio – Education and technology are key elements of a successful municipal fleet management program, according to experts who spoke on Monday at the Public Risk Management Association’s annual meeting.
However, leadership and buy-in are also a critical component, they said.
“The most successful programs I have seen are where the top person stands behind it and lives and preaches it. It really works, ”said Tiffany Allen, Territorial Manager of Public Services in Monroe, North Carolina, for Travelers Cos. Inc.
Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in the workplace and are also the most costly work-related claims, Allen said, citing data from the National Safety Council.
Exposures can span the full range from floods to cyber exposures, said Sarah Sylvis, head of risk / benefit for the city of Franklin, Tennessee, about 200 miles south of Nashville.
She said that risk managers must think about the types of vehicles that are on the road. Franklin, for example, has officers on both bicycles and motorcycles.
Other types of vehicles can include vans for 12 and 15 passengers and even golf carts, which pose a potentially greater exposure threat because they often do not have the safety systems and equipment for other, larger vehicles, Allen said.
Education, including clear definitions and goals, is fundamental to successfully managing risks.
“Do you conduct driver safety training either annually or as part of corrective behavior,” Ms. Silvis, perhaps in the wake of an accident or other incident. “How do you handle and investigate accidents?”
Telematics, sensors and other equipment that can record driver behavior and variables such as speed and braking can also be a valuable part of a fleet risk management program, Allen said. “We love that people have them,” she said, adding that such systems on board have become much more common in fleets.
A fleet management program should have a safety manual that is detailed and specific and includes items that are prohibited by law, such as wearing a seat belt, Sylvis said.
“Even if it’s against the law, you still have to put it in your safety manual,” she said.