Fleet risk management is an increasingly difficult job, as it becomes more challenging to maintain fleet safety.
The rate of crashes on American roadways has been on a steady rise since the start of the pandemic. Law enforcement agencies across the country are reporting increasing dangerous driving behavior on everything from distracted driving to excessive speeding; even seatbelt usage is declining.
Ever-rising auto insurance premiums are an unfortunate consequence of increased roadway risk. This combined with the rise of vehicle repair costs, new vehicles and gasoline make it even more difficult for companies to stay within yearly budgets.
What if there was a way your company could gain better insight into exactly which drivers pose the greatest risk of causing a future crash? The solution isn’t as difficult as it might sound…
In this article we’ll discuss:
- The Vast Majority of Crashes are Preventable
- Violations with the Highest Probability of Predicting Future Claims
- What are the Riskiest Driving Behaviors
- Fleet Risk Management Strategies for Identifying High-Risk Violations
The Vast Majority of Crashes are Preventable
Roadway risk has been steadily increasing since the start of the pandemic, with the first quarter of 2022 recording the highest number of fatalities in 20 years (NHSTA). Distracted driving, impaired driving, excessive speeding and other high-risk activities are all on the rise, contributing to this concerning spike in fatal crashes.
There’s a common theme emerging: all of these high-risk activities are dangerous driving behaviors.
Human behavior is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes. Circumstances beyond our control, such as vehicle malfunction, environmental factors and other reasons, only account for 6% of crashes; the other 94% are the direct result of dangerous driving behavior (NHTSA).
The good news is that the majority of these crashes are preventable. With the right insight and proper intervention strategies, dangerous driving behavior can be addressed and corrected to prevent future crashes.
As a fleet risk managment professional, you might be asking yourself, “how do I know who’s engaging in high-risk driving behavior before a crash occurs?” It’s nearly impossible to know what every driver in your company is doing at any given moment, and whether or not their full attention is focused on the road. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is much more simple than that.
Previous violations provide invaluable insight into which drivers are most likely to be involved in a crash and/or claim within the next year.
Knowing which violations each driver has received can help you identify who is engaging in high-risk driving behavior, as well as which of those drivers is the most likely to cause a crash.
Which Violations are Most Likely to Predict Future Claims?
At SambaSafety, we have evaluated the risk of millions of drivers over the past 20 years. Our team recently conducted a crash prediction study correlating MVR events with insurance claims. The results provide a clear indication as to which violations are the best leading indicators of future claims.
Below you’ll see the top 38 violations that significantly increase the probability a driver will be involved in a claim within the next 12 months.
The Riskiest Driving Behaviors
Let’s highlight the riskiest violation on the above chart: failure to signal a lane change or turn. At first glance, this is a seemingly minor violation; most people have quickly changed lanes without signaling at some point in their life. But the data proves this violation is far riskier than it appears. When someone receives a ticket for not using their signal, they are 113% more likely to be involved in a claim within the next 12 months!
After digging a little deeper, you can make assumptions about various violations, like which ones are indicative of a much more serious issue, such as distracted driving. If someone is distracted by their phone, in-dash technology, other passengers in the car, a meal they’re eating or if their mind is somewhere else, there’s a good chance their driving techniques will suffer. These individuals might forget to use their signal, blow through a stop sign or red light or follow other cars too closely. These are all violations that significantly increase the likelihood that the driver will be involved in a claim within the next year.
41% of crashes are due to inattentive driving (NHTSA). If someone is easily distracted, there’s a good chance they’ll continue engaging in this dangerous behavior until:
- They’re confronted about the issue through an established intervention strategy, like being assigned relevant remedial training
- Something more serious happens, like they’re involved in an expensive and potentially fatal crash
Speeding is one of the riskiest behaviors drivers engage in, as the risk of a crash increases each additional mile over the speed limit someone drives. For example, speeding 15 MPH over the limit increases the chance of a crash by 67% (SambaSafety). According to the NHTSA, speeding was a factor in one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities over the past 20 years.
Speeding violations provide incredible insight into which drivers present the greatest risk to your company:
- Speeding 21-25 over the limit in a 60 increases the probability of a future claim by 82%
- Speeding 16-20 over limit in a 65 increases the probability of a future claim by 50%
- Speeding 6-10 over limit increases the probability of a future claim by 41%
- Speeding 1-5 over limit increases the probability of a future claim by 36%
When developing intervention strategies, it’s important to not solely focus on those caught driving at excessive speeds. Even folks going slightly over the speed limit present incredible risk to your company, as those speeding less than 5 MPH over the limit are 36% more likely to be involved in a crash.
Not all high-risk violations are moving-related. At any point in time, around 3 to 5% of individuals on the roads are driving on a suspended license (SambaSafety). These drivers pose an extreme risk to your company and the population as a whole: 19% of all U.S. driving fatalities involve drivers with invalid licenses.
Changes in license status and eligibility significantly impact the likelihood of a future claim:
- Driving with a suspended license increases the likelihood of a claim by 56%, as does a suspension in general
- Having an expired driver’s license, permit or ID increases the likelihood of a claim by 48%
Interestingly enough, the vast majority of license suspensions aren’t the result of reckless behavior; 80% of suspensions are due to administrative reasons. Failing to pay a parking ticket, child support or taxes are all things that could result in a suspension. Even though the majority of these folks did not receive major violations resulting in their suspension, based on the data above, they still pose a significant threat to your organization.
Every day, 32 people in the U.S. die in drunk-driving crashes – that’s about one person every 45 minutes (NHTSA). Alcohol is a contributing factor in almost 40% of crashes (OSHA), and unfortunately, crashes involving impaired drivers are on the rise since 2019.
There’s no question that impaired drivers pose an incredible risk to all innocent drivers on the road. In fact, the majority of companies with driver safety policies typically include a zero-tolerance stance on drunk driving. Most companies also have processes in place to detect and disqualify folks with drug and alcohol-related violations at pre-hire.
- DUI of alcohol and/or drugs were 42% more likely to be involved in a claim
- DUI with a BAC over .08% were 40% more likely to be involved in a claim
This data showcases how critical it is for companies to discover these violations and intervene as soon as possible to prevent potentially devastating crashes, claims and lawsuits.
Fleet Risk Management Strategies for Identifying High-Risk Violations
Every mile one of your employees drives after receiving any of the violations highlighted above puts your company at greater risk. So, what fleet risk management strategies are companies like yours using to identify violations? Here are the three most common tactics.
Many safety policies include a self-reporting clause requiring employees to inform the company when they receive violations or their license is suspended or expired. The problem is, this tactic is extremely unreliable. Similar to other honor system policies, some people will report violations and others won’t. And some people simply may not even realize their license has been suspended, especially in circumstances when the suspension is due to administrative reasons.
It’s not recommended that you eliminate a self-reporting requirement, rather don’t solely rely on it. Self-reporting can be helpful in cases involving major violations. Many times, serious violations, like DUIs, take time for states to adjudicate, meaning they won’t show up on a driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR) until they’re convicted. By having a self-reporting requirement in place, employees following your policies will tell you of the violation long before you’ll find it on an MVR.
It’s common practice for companies to pull periodic MVRs. Many pull MVRs on an annual basis, as required by the FMCSA. It’s not uncommon for companies to pull more frequently, either bi-annually or quarterly in an effort to catch violations quicker. The problem is, even when pulled at a higher frequency, there’s still a great deal of risk that comes with this method.
Let’s say your company performs annual MVR pulls on January 5th, but one of your drivers receives a major violation on January 6th. If you rely on MVRs and that individual does not self-report, chances are you wouldn’t discover the violation until your next MVR pull a year later. What if the driver in this example had a violation that increases their likelihood of being involved in a claim by 80%? Would you want to take the risk of having that person drive on behalf of your company for an entire year without critical intervention?
MVRs do not provide real-time insight into violations, suspensions and expirations. Even when pulled more frequently, they still only provide a snapshot in time, leaving companies with a significant visibility gap into the true risk their fleet presents. Not to mention pulling MVRs more frequently is an extremely time and labor-intensive, expensive process, making something like monthly pulls unrealistic for most companies.
Continuous MVR Monitoring: A Dependable Fleet Risk Management Tool
Many companies have turned to technology to help close the visibility gap by leveraging a comprehensive fleet risk management solution. Tools like continuous MVR monitoring send alerts after drivers receive violations or their license is suspended or expired. As soon as DMVs post a record, companies will receive a new alert in near real-time; compare that to waiting around until your next MVR pull to discover critical violations.
This process eliminates the costs and man-hours traditionally associated with discovering violations. More importantly, near real-time visibility into driver risk enables companies to immediately intervene with at- and high-risk drivers. Drivers with disqualifying violations can be immediately terminated, while those who still fall within your driver safety policy can receive highly-targeted training that works to correct behaviors, and ultimately, prevent future crashes and claims.
Would you like a copy of the crash prediction study referenced above? Click the button below to download it now!