Skip to main content

Addressing fleet exposure through risk management

February 21, 2024

Company vehicles and their drivers play an integral part in the operations of many businesses. They provide services, deliver products and connect businesses to their customers – drivers and vehicles are directly linked to a business’ success.

Operating fleets of any size also comes with considerable risk for organizations. Some common driving risks commercial fleet operations face are distracted driving, a lack of seat belt use, aggressive driving, drowsy driving, and the unsafe driving of others. In addition to driver behavior, the company has its own business risks to monitor, like negligent hiring or entrustment, a lack of risk management programs, a poor safety culture, a lack of communication, business continuity issues and employee injuries.

Given what’s at stake, it is imperative for organizations to protect both their vehicles and drivers through tailored risk management strategies. These comprehensive strategies can encompass training, technology, data analysis and supervision. Employers can use the following risk management solutions to minimize their fleet exposures.

Culture and implementing a fleet safety program

A comprehensive fleet safety program should include elements like written policies and procedures with clear employee expectations, employee training, vehicle maintenance and inspection, accident response and documentation, driver qualifications, recruitment and screening. Each of these elements should provide an overview of the company’s expectations and actions.

Clear expectations from leaders to employees and communication within the organization can support the development of the program. It allows employees at all levels to express concerns, share feedback and collaborate to ensure adoption of safe driving practices that are specific to the organization. Drivers should feel comfortable discussing issues related to their vehicles, routes or driving conditions with management.

A culture that empowers drivers to make safe decisions while on the road also is vital to the fleet safety program. This means allowing drivers to use their judgment to prioritize safety over other considerations, such as tight schedules or delivery deadlines. Drivers should feel comfortable pulling over in adverse weather conditions without the fear of jeopardizing a delivery. Additionally, if managers call during a drive, drivers should have the discretion to let the call go to voicemail if they are unable to pull over to take it.

All employees, including drivers as well as management, should be held accountable for their actions and decisions related to fleet operations. This fosters a culture of responsibility and ensures that everyone is committed to safety.

Adequate training for safe driving

Training equips drivers with the skills and knowledge necessary for safe driving behaviors. Hands-on training is the most effective way to prepare drivers. This can include quarterly safety training sessions where drivers receive practical instruction on various aspects of safe driving.

Addressing specific accident types can also lead to better outcomes for the fleet. For example, if there is a noticeable increase in left-turn collisions leading to T-bone or head-on accidents, training should focus on this specific issue to prevent future similar incidents.

Online training can supplement key concepts and provide ongoing education. However, it should not replace in-person, new driver orientation or quarterly training sessions, which offer a more comprehensive and interactive learning experience.

The role of leadership

Leadership should support and participate in safety meetings to demonstrate their commitment to safety. Their engagement sends a powerful message to employees about the importance of safe driving practices.

If applicable, leadership should receive telematic reports on a regular basis, preferably monthly. These reports provide valuable insights into driver behavior, vehicle performance and safety metrics. By staying informed, leadership can make data-driven decisions to improve safety and efficiency.

Leadership should also establish clear objectives aimed at reducing accidents within the fleet. These objectives can include specific targets for accident reduction, improved safety metrics and enhanced driver training programs. In addition, providing new and well-maintained vehicles also contributes to driver comfort and safety.

Hiring and retention best practices

When hiring drivers, employers should prioritize candidates with clean driving records; a history of responsible and safe driving is a strong indicator of future performance. While a single accident may not disqualify a candidate, a history of accidents and violations can indicate risky behavior.

Candidates should also have experience operating the type of vehicle they will be driving for the company, as familiarity with the specific vehicle and its handling characteristics is essential for safe operation.

Employers can consider rehiring former employees who left the company in good standing. These individuals are already familiar with the organization’s culture and procedures.

Surveys can support driver retention by identifying their likes and dislikes and areas where improvements can be made. Higher driver morale makes it more likely for them to stay with the company and prioritize safety.

Telematics, dash cams and driver safety systems

Telematics and driver assist systems have become indispensable tools in fleet management since these technologies provide valuable data sets that identify risks and enhance safety.

Telematics – These systems can provide an objective overview of how the driver operates a vehicle. Data obtained from telematics can include vehicle speed and other indicators of aggressive driving such as harsh acceleration, braking and cornering. Operational benefits of telematics includes tracking idling time, fuel use, tire pressure, GPS position and engine trouble codes.

Dash cams – These in-vehicle cameras can be either standalone devices or integrated with telematics systems. Standalone dash cameras are mostly front-facing, but some also record inside the vehicle. Telematic dash cameras record specific events that occur and send the data and video to the company through a network. For example, if a driver has a hard braking event, the camera will record when the event occurs. In addition, some telematics incorporate artificial intelligence that allows the camera to identify when drivers are fatigued or distracted. Once identified, organizations can use this information to manage a driver’s behavior.

A chief benefit of either camera system is to help determine fault in the event of an accident. Both record footage of what goes on inside and outside the vehicle. Both types of dash cameras are instrumental in accident analysis and claims resolution. Having this data can expedite the claims process and help reach a solution before the opposing party obtains legal representation. Driver explanations of what happened often conflict and witness accounts are often unreliable; video footage dispels these inconsistencies.

ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems is technology incorporated into the vehicle that can help reduce risk for fleets. These can include:

  • Collision warning systems – These alert drivers to potential collisions, giving them time to react and avoid accidents. This technology can be especially beneficial in preventing rear-end and lane change collisions.
  • Automatic emergency braking systems – These systems are proven to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end accidents. Which is significant, as these accidents make up 29% of all police reported crashes.1
  • Backup cameras – Rear-facing cameras improve visibility when maneuvering in tight spaces, reducing the risk of accidents during parking or reversing. These cameras provide drivers with a clear view of their surroundings, minimizing blind spots.
  • Lane assist systems – This technology helps drivers stay within their lanes, reducing the likelihood of accidents due to drifting or unintended lane changes.

Incentivizing safe driving behavior

Drivers with no accident or violation history demonstrate a commitment to safe driving practices and help reduce the company’s exposure to accidents and claims. Drivers who prioritize safety benefit the business and should be acknowledged.

To encourage and reward safe driving behavior, companies can implement incentive programs based on objective telematics data rather than subjective assessments. This approach ensures fairness and transparency in recognizing and rewarding safe drivers.

Aside from driving records, safety meeting attendance is a proactive step toward improving driving skills and staying informed about best practices. Completing vehicle inspections is also essential for identifying and addressing potential safety issues.

Action to take

Sharing strategies and resources can support a culture of safety and reduce injuries or fatalities.

Information and resources contained on can help businesses and organizations implement practices that help keep their workers safe and benefit their bottom line. The links below can help customers understand the risk environment and begin to develop or supplement their safety program:

Further resources and expertise available from Loss Control Services can help address individual risks each operation faces so that a tailored strategy can be implemented.


  • 1

    National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2023, December). Traffic safety facts 2021: A compilation of motor vehicle traffic crash data (Report No. DOT HS 813 527). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.