A truly effective safety program is built on a foundation of real-time driver behavior monitoring. Fleet operators must be empowered to address high-risk behavior to prevent collisions before they occur. 
 -  Photo courtesy of Getty Images

A truly effective safety program is built on a foundation of real-time driver behavior monitoring. Fleet operators must be empowered to address high-risk behavior to prevent collisions before they occur.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Looking to the future of accident management we see one component hasn’t changed: the desire to reduce and eventually work to prevent accidents from occurring. While we aren’t quite there yet, several factors are currently making a big impact on the future of accident management today.

1. Tech Increasing Repair Costs

As technology improvements are introduced, the cost for the improvements will be passed to the end user in a higher product cost.

“Fleet, risk, safety, and logistics managers will have to cope with increasing costs for repairs as they are at the mercy of manufacturers and government regulations. Costs will be passed on at initial acquisition and when accident repairs are made. Accidents that now take out the front and side curtain air bags drive the cost of a repair up thousands of dollars. Does anyone really think airbags and sensors should cost $800, $1,000, or more? How about the cost for backup cameras ranging from less than $100 to more than $700?” said Brian Colvin, vice president of Corporate Claims Management (CCM).

Colvin added that costs have gone up dramatically due to several factors, including lighter weight material that does not withstand impacts, more components to make up an assembly, multiple air bags and sensors, and finally a moderate increase in labor costs.

“This all contributes to the higher cost of repairs. It is incumbent upon companies to try as hard as they can to be conscientious of costs and one way to avoid paying the higher prices is accident avoidance,” Colvin concluded.

Many other experts see repair costs increasing.

“As more vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features, the costs are likely to increase as parts and technology pricing will increase irrespective of the severity of losses,” said Dan Shive, VP, business development, accident, and safety products for Donlen. “Just look at the cost of a mirror. When you compare the cost to that in the 1980s, when mirrors were a fixed object, the costs have increased. Mirrors can now cost more than a $1,000 with the new mechanical and technological advances.”

It’s clear that as additional safety features are added to all vehicles, repair costs will increase.

“However, knowing that medium-duty trucks are typically kept on the road longer than light-duty trucks, it will take longer for this to become evident in the average cost of repair,” said Sara Sweeney, senior product manager for Wheels.

2. Added Vehicle Complexity

One trend expected to continue into the foreseeable future is added vehicle complexity, with more technology than ever before.

“The cost to repair vehicles damaged in accidents has increased because of the complexity of new vehicles, primarily resulting from the proliferation of electronic components. Consumer demand for specialized features, both comfort and easy-to-use computerized components with new safety features have driven up the manufacturers’ factory invoice pricing and collision repair costs after an incident,” said Michelle Lewis, manager, accident management services for EMKAY.

3. Enhanced Real-Time Visibility

All the rapidly evolving technology is giving companies real-time visibility into areas of driver behavior impossible to track just a few years ago.

“It is now possible to combine a driver’s MVR, corporate fleet policies, telematics data, driver risk scoring, and accident data into a consolidated view of what’s happening behind the wheel. As a result, more companies are adopting a proactive approach to fleet safety,” said Rich Radi, director, driver excellence for ARI. “Traditionally, an accident or driving infraction occurred and then corrective training is prescribed. Today, truly effective safety programs are built on a foundation of monitoring driving behavior in real-time and fleet operators are empowered to address high-risk behavior to prevent collisions before they occur. For example, if a driver exceeds the speed limit on a frequent basis, safety training can be assigned with the goal of reducing his or her speeding habit before it results in an incident.”

4. Changes to Driver Training

The future of accident management costs and/or programs are anticipated to be a hybrid of professional, consistent training working in concert with safety technology. 

“Drivers will receive their consistent safety training in their truck and will also receive reactive training for any accidents or moving violations received the previous day. The safety technology will communicate with the professional safety training program to equip drivers with pertinent consistent training and reactive training specifically addressing each driver’s particular need,” said Jerry Veres, certified director of safety for Fleet Response.

5. More Data & Analytics

Fleets will continue to pay attention to data.

“Fleet safety data is more important than ever and the need to sort and make sense of the vast amounts of data is critical to a safety program’s success. Data shows the trends that allow more accurate risk modeling and let the fleet manager make informed decisions. More fleets will adopt predictive and prescriptive analytics approaches as they begin to see the results of the models and the value in knowing which drivers need which specific training,” said Luann Dunkerley, northeast region sales manager for The CEI Group.

6. Addition of Autonomous Vehicles

Currently, one of the bigger question marks related to the future of fleet and fleet safety is the adoption of autonomous vehicles.

“The technology enabling robotic driverless trucks and removing the human error out of the equation is unfolding before our eyes. It is exciting and not as far away as some may think. Like most things, there is an added cost associated with preventive accident management, but it is far less than the catastrophic costs associated with accidents and paying for them after the fact,” said Joseph Voors, client partnership manager – national for Mike Albert Fleet Solutions.

Are there any additional future trends you see impacting the future of accident management? E-mail me, and let's chat! 

Lauren Fletcher

About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the teams content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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