According to the National Safety Council, medically consulted injuries in motor vehicle incidents totaled 4.6 million in 2016.
Total motor vehicle injury costs — including wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor-vehicle property damage, and employer costs — for the year were estimated at $416.2 billion. NCCI data shows that, by cause of injury, motor vehicle crashes resulted in the costliest lost-time workers’ compensation claims, averaging $73,559 per claim in 2015 and 2016.
For public entities, when it comes to managing the risks associated with fleets, these numbers are especially concerning. “Fleets are a serious and growing risk management challenge for public entities,” writes Susan Kostro in the Risk Management magazine article Managing Public Sector Auto Risks. “The public sector collectively has the largest vehicle fleet in the United States. With 1.3 million cars and trucks, that sector is even larger than the commercial fleet segment, according to Government Fleet magazine, so the challenges of commercial auto insurance have been particularly hard on public entities.”
An effective fleet safety management program is essential for the protection of employees and the public, as well as the finances of public entities. How can RMIS technology help? The following are just a few examples.
Consolidate fleet-related data to support a comprehensive fleet safety program
In Managing Public Sector Auto Risks, Kostro lays out several best practices that can be used by public entities to improve management of their commercial insurance exposure and help protect both employees and the public. The development of a single, consolidated fleet safety program is the initial best practice outlined.
“The risk manager needs to understand what is causing accidents across all fleet operations, set goals for improving performance both at the department level and for the entity as a whole, and develop a detailed plan for managing fleet safety,” writes Kostro.
However, given the wide range of departments involved in managing a public entity fleet, this can be a challenge. Kostro acknowledges this, pointing out that the “responsibility for day-to-day fleet management is often highly decentralized, with each department managing its own drivers and equipment. The result is a patchwork of approaches with different levels of effectiveness.”
A patchwork approach means that data is also decentralized. This is unfortunate, as data is exactly what risk managers need to understand accident causes and measure the performance of any fleet safety initiatives put into place. Success depends upon eliminating silos of decentralized data, a proposition that is especially problematic when using spreadsheets, multiple systems, or outdated legacy software.
With powerful data tools and system integrations available for the consolidation of data, an adaptable RMIS like Origami Risk can serve as the solution to the issue of decentralized data. Made available for use across departments, the system can also serve as an essential tool for facilitating communication and measuring risk- and safety-related performance.
Take a proactive approach to driver management (without overloading staff)
An effective approach to fleet safety ensures that drivers are properly certified and trained. However, tracking driver certification compliance is one of the more time-consuming processes for many fleet management programs.
Using a RMIS to automate activities related to driver certification and training can, while minimizing administrative activities required of staff, help to improve safety and reduce liability by ensuring licensing and qualifications are up-to-date.
For example, rather than having staff re-key data, organizations can use Origami Risk to create solutions like online portals, accessible via an emailed link, for drivers to input certification details and upload related documentation. And instead of the time-consuming review of driver files, the system can be configured to send automated notifications when a file is incomplete, details are missing, or an expiration is approaching.
Capture more accident and investigation data to improve outcomes
“Collecting information following a crash is key to help defend against potential litigation and improve future driver performance,” writes Kostro.
Yet, efforts to gather and analyze this essential information can be hampered by the use of paper forms that are often completed long after an accident and, when submitted, require re-keying. The potential for missed details, the delayed digitization of data, and the possibility for the introduction of errors place severe limitations on the ability to spot trends and perform root cause analysis.
Risk managers can facilitate the collection of critical incident-related data by making it easier for employees to report fleet-related incidents and perform investigations. Providing users with the ability to capture this information in the field, using mobile devices, increases the likelihood that incidents are reported quickly and accurately, regardless of where they occur.
Origami Risk provides mobile app functionality for incident reporting and investigations that gives users the ability to attach photos and videos that can be critical in helping to defend against potential litigation and for use in improving driver performance. Additionally, since even these data elements can fail to provide clarity about the motion of vehicles, the sequence of events, or the intended area of focus within an image, sketch functionality allows for the annotation of attached diagrams or photos to ensure that risk managers and leaders of other departments have access to details they would not have had otherwise.
How can Origami Risk help you address fleet risks?
An effective fleet safety program is essential for managing the serious and growing challenge fleets present to public entity risk managers. Ensuring access to fleet data from across departments, streamlining driver management, and improving accident reporting and investigations, are only a few examples of the innovative ways that Origami Risk can help.
To discuss these and other solutions, contact us.