What Can Managers Do In Case of A Road Accident & How Can Drivers be Trained To Tackle Such Situations?
Safety is the state of being protected from the harms of the environment (both external and internal) in any place or at any time. It is one of the top priorities in any workplace or industry, but it is also, without a doubt, one of the most challenging feats to achieve. With an ever-increasing scope of error in processes and tasks, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure the safety of people and goods.
As technological innovation and knowledge of people improve, safety measures are constantly being updated, and new measures are regularly created to meet the expectations of the company and its customers.
Why is Safety Important?
A sense of safety and security is what effectively drives the modern world forward. A lack of safety in any product or service eliminates the confidence of the consumer in that company.
When it comes to road transportation, lack of safety and safety measures greatly increase the risk of road accidents. Even a small vehicle traveling at a large speed has a lot of momentum that can be deadly to both the driver and other civilians during a crash or an accident.
According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increases by 8 percent from 2016 to 2017 in the United States of America (USA). However, it is imperative to note that the number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks has come down from over 6,000 in the late 1970s to below 5,000 in the year 2017. This decrement in fatalities can be attributed to the improvement in technology and driver training methodologies over time.
The importance of safety cannot be understated because the consequences of lack of safety can lead to accidents that not only mean the loss of invaluable human life but can also have a large negative impact on the company’s reputation.
Consequences of Road Accidents:
The consequences of road accidents range from loss of vehicle functionality to loss of lives and property. Some of them are:
1. Loss of Vehicle Functionality
Road accidents, however minor, damage the vehicle to some degree which often impacts the vehicle’s functionality. Depending on the vehicle, the cost of repairs can be low or sky-high. In the case of road accidents involving large trucks, the trucking company can lose upwards of $70,000 or more if the accident is severe!
2. Loss of Jobs
Road accidents can lead to loss of jobs. The driver may get his/her license revoked, or the accident can make the driver medically unfit for driving, and he/she can lose their jobs. This takes a toll on the drivers’ lives and the lives of the people dependent, like their families, on them as well.
According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the employment rate is around 10 percent lower for men that were injured in road accidents.
3. Loss of Finance
Road accidents can damage the goods that were being transported, nearby properties, and deem the vehicle inoperable under certain circumstances. All of these cost the company and the government lot of money for repairs and replacements. Road accidents also give rise to socioeconomic costs like rescue services and hospitalization.
4. Loss of the Company’s Reputation
If the vehicles of a company are often involved in accidents or if accidents are particularly severe and noticeable, the business is likely to take a bad hit from the media and the clientele. The confidence of the company’s consumers and customers in the company goes down, and the company’s reputation will likely be devastated with respect to the general public. Loss of reputation in any business is more detrimental than the loss of finance because the company would have to build momentum from its roots once again.
Lawsuits against a company only make things worse for its business. An incredible amount of time, money, and human resources would have to be devoted to fighting the lawsuits. In some cases, lawsuits can easily gain media attention and deteriorate the public relations of the company.
6. High Insurance Costs
The insurance costs of the company’s commodities drastically go up as the number of accidents increase. This reduces the company’s profit margins.
Role of Managers
Fleet managers are generally the first ones to be held accountable in case of a severe mishap on the road during the transportation of goods. It is the responsibility of managers and company owners to recruit appropriately qualified personnel to drive the concerned vehicle in their fleet and also oversee their performance and training. Often, educated usage of fleet management software and ELD makes the work of managers less difficult.
Post road accidents, not only are managers held accountable, but they are also expected to steer the company from the dreadful clutches of various associated losses. They should be well equipped to handle any amount of stress and keep their sanity in check at all times. The employees involved in the accidents also seek assistance from the managers at such devastating times.
Training the Drivers
Just as prevention is better than cure, training and enabling the drivers to tackle situations of road accidents is better than having to figure out and help them post the accident.
1. Vehicle Training
The drivers have to be trained and made aware of every detail of the vehicle they are operating to avoid road accidents. Things like how much load the vehicle can withstand without substantial effect on the handling and how fast they can safely make turns around corners should be known to the drivers.
2. Notifying the Company
In case of any accident, the driver should be trained to notify the company by any possible means. This way, the company can initiate their accident management protocols and quickly arrive at the scene for further inspection.
The drivers should be quick to document any evidence by securing their dash cam and/or taking photos or videos using their mobile phones that can steer them away from this appalling situation as the investigation progresses.
4. Situational Awareness
Road accidents are horrific scenarios and are very stressful to the minds of the involved people. This hinders their awareness and their ability to think properly. So, the fleet drivers of a company should be given training on situational awareness.
Road accidents have a large uncertainty of occurrence and can be very detrimental to the people involved in it and to a company’s business. The managers and drivers should be capable of working together and handling scenarios like these if the need arises. It is the managers’ duty and responsibility to help prepare and train the drivers to tackle such situations.