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Graham Hurdle blog: 9 July - Zero Accidents: the impossible dream?

Date: 09 July 2015

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

Everyone that's passed their driving test has proven they can control a vehicle safely and within the law.

So why do we crash?

Crashes do not happen because drivers aren't able to select a gear or turn the steering wheel. They happen because they are not using the most important control of all - their brain!

Complacency is behind this. Drivers failing to concentrate while driving, becoming too relaxed, and not believing they will have an accident.

But it's not just individuals who are complacent about accidents. In my mind, many businesses are too. A lot of companies I speak to believe that dealing with accidents and their associated costs is just part of running a vehicle fleet.  That a certain number of accidents is inevitable and the priority is to minimise (but perhaps not expect to eliminate) their occurrence and the costs incurred as a result.

But let's imagine a company that refused to accept any vehicle damage at all. Not even the smallest dent, scrape or scratch. How would it feel to be a driver working there?

For a start, there would be ongoing communication and advice to drivers about how to ensure they do not put themselves in a situation where their vehicle may be damaged. Examples being, avoiding tailgating, constantly looking for clues to hazards, not taking risks, being careful when parking and observing carefully when manoeuvring - and so the list goes on.

There would also be strict rules about in-vehicle distractions - such as no use of mobile phones at all (even hands free), no setting or adjusting of SatNav systems unless stationary.

Every single incident, however minor, would be investigated. Questions asked about how a vehicle was scratched, why a driver drove into the back of another, how a door panel was dented etc.

And on a positive note, drivers would be rewarded each year for remaining incident free.

But that all sounds too simple I hear you cry! Well, the truth is - it is!

Small changes can make a massive difference when it comes to reducing accidents and vehicle damage. And it's rarely to do with driver ability - and more to do with their attitude.

So if you are a fleet manager reading this thinking 'I could do all the things listed in this article', then why don't you start right away and announce that your aim is to be an accident-free business by a certain date?

Most people won't announce it because they don't believe its achievable and don't want to be seen as having failed!

But even if you reduce accidents by 20% you'll have made progress, protecting people's safety and saving money.