Driving safely, crucial part of fleet operations
Worldwide, some 1.3 million people die every year as the result of traffic accidents and it is the number one cause of death for those 15-29 years of age. Accidents also cause 20-50 million injuries per year, threatening much more than just car drivers.
While 51% of these cases involve drivers of vehicles (both heavy and light), 31% involve motorcycle riders, 22% pedestrians, and 4% cyclists., according to information from the World Health Organization.
In Latin America’s largest vehicle fleet, Brazil, approximately 433,000 accidents occur per year, causing 45,000 deaths (one every 12 minutes) and, according to Brazilian research institute IPEA, this results in some R$50bn (US$13.2bn) in costs every year.
While 0.5% of the costs pertain to institutional and property damage, 14.6% to vehicle damage, and 18.8% hospital bills, another 2% are for other people related issues and 22.8% for other car related issues. Finally, 41.2% of costs are related to the loss of production.
In approximately 80% of the cases, accidents are due to human error, according to the CET traffic engineering company of Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo, home to more than 12 million residents. This is due to improper driver behavior, a lack of knowledge, or an inability to drive the vehicle.
Other reasons for accidents are due to issues along routes such as badly maintained roads and in rare occasions, the vehicle itself.
Large pothole in the Brazilian state of São Paulo (Source: Shutterstock)
Therefore, among the ways of protecting your driver’s health and safety, as well as the well-being of your vehicle fleet and your business, motorists must be aware of the risks involved when driving and the proper procedures to reduce these risks.
Best practices must be developed by fleet managers along with well-executed action plans which are audited to assure results, says Fernando Cammarota who is the chairman of international accident control company CEPA SafeDrive.
However, in Brazil and some of its neighboring countries, there are challenges which first need to be resolved. Among them are a lack of synergies and a holistic view in terms of road safety policies, inconsistent or unavailable information, and short-term vision.
During a Fleet Latam meeting (regional arm of Global Fleet), Cammarota presented a CEPA training case study. According to the study, for a period of five years, CEPA trained 80-85% of fleet drivers for a company at a cost of R$557,228. Accidents were reduced by 31%, resulting in a savings of R$2.21 million.
Established 30 years ago, CEPA SafeDrive is the largest road safety company in Latin America. It has trained more than 500,000 drivers in more than 500 cities around the world.