Accidents are a fact of life. A recent report found the annual accident rate for commercial fleets is around 20%. These
accidents can prove costly and drive up your premiums. So what’s driving this high rate of accidents?
Bad weather, adverse rates
The number of hours and kilometres a commercial fleet is on the road obviously contributes to the risk of an accident.
However, there are external forces at work as well. In 2018, for example, an increase in frequency and severity of
weather events adversely affected road conditions.
While the weather can wreak havoc on the roads and play a key role in operations, there’s little you can do to change
its course. However, your broker can help circumvent accidents and rate increases. They can provide you with tactics
to keep both at bay.
Distracted driving, technology solutions
One factor affecting exposure is distracted driving. For many larger fleet owners, the solution is to implement
technology systems like advanced driver-assistance and telematics. Initially, this can be cost-prohibitive. However,
insurers are starting to offer credit or cost savings to businesses that invest in these technologies designed to
improve vehicle safety. With continued development and increased use, costs will continue to drop and your fleet’s
safety will improve.
The commercial auto industry is looking to the development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to help combat
distracted driving. Warehousing and logistics applications involving yard trucks are becoming popular, as are lowspeed
electric vehicle technology applications for local-radius parcel, grocery or food delivery within a mapped
environment. And, while over-the-road AV deployments are still in the future, experts predict that product developers
will test their technology on public roadways either on their own or in partnership with fleet owners.
Ultimately, AV will drive a revolution in the industry as it becomes more acceptable, affordable and available. However,
as highly automated vehicles rely on radar, light detection and ranging (lidar), cameras, graphics processing units and
central processing units to analyze the imagery, there will undoubtedly be new risks from potential systems failures.
This will necessitate a fresh underwriting perspective, as well as a shift in legislation and liability.
As a commercial fleet owner, you will want to keep a watchful eye on AV. When will this new wave of future vehicles
be safe? When will it be a viable and efficient, cost-effective option for you? That may be anyone’s guess, but it’s
important to speak with your agent to discuss the pros and cons for your business as the technology continues to
Lack of skilled operators
Another significant challenge facing commercial vehicle fleets is the lack of skilled drivers. In the United States alone,
the American Trucking Association has found the industry understaffed by more than 50,000 drivers. And, if current
trends continue, this number could increase more than threefold within eight years.
As a fleet owner, you may be finding it difficult to recruit and retain experienced drivers. Implementing preemployment
screening can help determine a driver’s inspection and accident reports. In addition, partnering with
accredited driver’s license training schools or developing an in-house driver training program will improve skill sets.
Many internal programs are geared toward recruiting young drivers. Insurers may be willing to waive certain
minimum age and experience requirements for large fleets with sophisticated risk management programs. Small and
midsize fleets, however, may need to trade their desire to hire inexperienced drivers for higher insurance rates or
Whether a lack of skilled operators, weather events or distracted driving, the best protection against fleet exposure is
often an open, continuous conversation with your broker who is well versed in industry trends, legislation and ways
to help mitigate risk and rate increases.