Examination of the root causes of motor vehicle crashes provide evidence that driver behaviors contribute more significantly than driver knowledge or lack of skill. Drivers make behavioral choices that increase the risk of a crashes that include following other vehicles with less than the recommended following distance, driving while impaired, driving distracted, driving while fatigued and driving aggressively.
Training, in general, has shown to have less impact on behavioral choices than point-in-time systemic factors. People make decisions on the basis of perceived need weighed against perceived risk. This indicates that driver training, in and of itself, should not be expected to have significant effect on the behaviors that contribute to crashes when system influences point to needs met by those behaviors. This paper and our presentation will address comparing liability crash frequency to similar operations and incorporating behavioral or organizational practices concepts into fleet safety programs. This will allow a company to compare their operations to others and identify ways to strengthen their fleet safety programs.
Crash benchmarking is an approach to comparative assessment of the impact and effectiveness of a fleet safety program. Most crash benchmarking compares the number of crashes to the number of vehicles or the miles driven. This is more effective when used to compare companies or locations that use similar vehicles, operate them in similar ways, and within the same industry. Most benchmarking studies have historically not taken the state of operation into account. This can create distorted comparisons when more vehicles are used in areas with higher crash rates.
Data comparisons by the authors suggest that expected crash rate is influenced by three main variables: industry, type or size of vehicle, and the state of garaging. Considering these three variables allowed calculation of expected crash frequency. Including company size, based on total premium, in the analysis revealed differences between larger and smaller operations.