Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt The true cost of a crash
Cookies on Businesscar

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Business Car website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookies at any time

BusinessCar magazine website email Awards mobile

The start point for the best source of fleet information

The true cost of a crash

Date: 08 August 2007

The Department for Transport has launched a new campaign that highlights the financial implications of accidents. It's a message worth listening to, writes Rupert Saunders

When was the last time you thought about the economic cost to the business of having a road accident?

I realise this question is slightly outside the regular scope of this column, but, according to the Department for Transport, there are more than 150 crashes every day involving vehicles on company business - and they do have a cost.

The DfT's new Driving for Better Business campaign is focusing on the economic (rather than the personal or social) consequences of road safety in the workplace. It's a clever approach because it is more likely to attract the attention of business leaders - or at least make them realise that road safety in the workplace is one of their responsibilities.

Initially targeted at home delivery operators, Driving for Better Business has been launched with a series of hard-hitting posters at truck stops across the country. These feature scenes that will be familiar to lorry and LCV drivers. For instance, an empty breakfast food cabinet displays the sign 'no delivery this morning due to driver fatality'.

It's a sobering message for those tucking into their first bacon butty of the day.

But, let's get back to the economics. GE Fleet Services has calculated that a typical 750-vehicle fleet has 300 incidents a year, at an average repair cost of £875. So, that's a basic vehicle repair cost of £262,500 a year.

John Kelly of GE Key Solutions says the true cost of a road incident is, on average, four times that base cost. So now your annual economic cost of road safety in the workplace is over £1m a year. And Kelly is being very conservative with his estimates. The Department for Transport says the true economic cost could be eight times the cost of repairs and insurance claims, while a training programme to reduce the toll of road deaths and serious injuries, and ensure our theoretical company stayed within duty of care legislation, would cost around £110,000.

Kelly says: "The break-even point to recover these costs would be around a 23% reduction in accidents. This is well in line with GE's customer experience following implementation of a duty of care programme."

Another key aspect of the Driving for Better Business campaign is getting buy-in at the highest level in companies. While most business car managers are probably well aware of the daily toll of accidents, missed appointments, healthcare costs and increased insurance, it seems the bosses are not focusing on these hidden factors.

A straw poll by RoadSafe of business leaders revealed that, while 85% to 90% would support a road safety campaign, only 50% had done a risk assessment on their own firm. The recent passing of the Corporate Manslaughter Bill (it becomes law next year) should help focus minds but some simple economics might be just as effective.

Why not do some calculations on your own fleet - and then present the figures to the boss?