PHH Arval recently surveyed fleet managers at more than 100 companies across 25 industries to determine their top concerns during the next 12 to 18 months. At the top of the list is fleet driver safety, followed by reducing fuel consumption and lowering maintenance costs.

PHH Arval shared these results with NAFA Fleet Management Association members during a presentation titled “Policy Survey Results from 100 Companies.” The presentation addressed policy areas such as driver eligibility, personal use, vehicle technologies, fleet safety, fuel, maintenance, vehicle selection and replacement and resale, according to PHH Arval.

“The survey provides a snapshot of how organizations are managing their fleets,” said Angela Feerick, director, strategic consulting for PHH Arval.  “However, it’s important to note that these are benchmarks and not best practices. What’s good for one fleet may not necessarily be good for another.”

The company said respondents’ fleets primarily operate sedans (35%), with pickup trucks or cargo vans coming in second (29%), and SUVs or crossovers third (18%). Additionally, 75% of respondents indicated they centrally manage their fleet.

PHH Arval’s survey found that 86% of respondents have a documented fleet safety/accident policy as part of their safety program, though 8% don’t have such a program. The survey also found that 31% use driver safety kits, 25% have a fleet safety committee, and 16% use in-vehicle technology to monitor driver behavior. Although most companies have safety policies, 24% don’t have a safety training program. More than half (56%) offer web-based safety training programs, and 33% offer training via video/CD/DVD.

In addition, the survey also found 35% of respondents are investing in factory-equipped safety options, such as backup cameras, forward collision warning and lane departure warning.

To reduce fuel costs, the survey found that 58% are in communication with drivers to increase awareness of how driving behavior affects fuel consumption. More than half (55%) are monitoring fuel purchases more closely, 45% added more fuel-efficient vehicles to their fleets and 22% tightened fuel card controls or policies. Only 15% of respondents indicated they’re not taking steps to reduce fuel costs.

Personal use is another area fleet managers are focusing on, given that 83% of respondents permit personal use for a segment of vehicles in their fleet. Generally, the assigned driver, at 97%, and the driver’s spouse or partner, at 63%, is permitted to operate a fleet vehicle.

Of the companies that allow personal use, 51% impute the benefit as income. Nearly one-third (32%) apply a fixed-rate chargeback to drivers, while 10% apply a cents-per-mile chargeback. Fixed-rate chargebacks varied greatly among survey respondents, PHH stated, but a cluster fell in the range of $98 to $130 per month.

The replacement policies among respondents ranged between 65,000 and 100,000 miles, and three to five years of service for sedans, SUVs and crossovers, or minivans. Pickup trucks and cargo van replacement schedules were higher at 90,000 to 100,000 miles and four to five years in service.

To see what small fleets have done to save on fuel, read this article: “Creative Fuel-Saving Strategies.”