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Leading the Way – Safely

Despite vast improvements in vehicle safety technology, easier access to online training and the enhanced ability to monitor driver behavior, the fatality rate on our roadways remains stubbornly high, actually increasing over the last two years. Auto accidents continue to be a leading cause of fatalities, injuries, property damage, liability and lost productivity.

You might wonder why we continue to see these grim statistics. I believe the primary reason is cultural. Safety is a message that needs to be delivered – and reinforced –from the highest level of the organization.

As a manager of over 300,000 corporate vehicles, Wheels is committed to taking a leadership role in helping our clients promote safety throughout their organizations.  Not only do we offer best-in-class safety and collision programs, we also lead by example.  Personally, I have taken steps to demonstrate our commitment to safety. I sit on the Board of Directors at the National Safety Council, an organization that leads the nation on safety research, policy advocacy and training in the areas of workplace and traffic safety. I’ve also worked directly with heads of NHTSA and the DOT to help them better understand the challenges facing fleets. But our commitment doesn’t stop there.

As an organization, I am particularly proud of actions we’ve taken to promote safety within Wheels and in the industry by:

  • Instituting one of the first company-wide mobile device bans, not only to demonstrate our commitment and leadership on this issue, but to understand the objections and challenges of implementing this type of policy so that we can share those experiences directly with our clients.
  • Developing a safety product that goes beyond MVR records and training – incorporating vehicle selection, proper up-fitting, preventive maintenance, used vehicle inspections for unreported damage, camera based violations that don’t show up on an MVR and telematics data into a comprehensive driver risk assessment and safety program.
  • Developing the industry’s first gamification program, ChangeDriver, to help reinforce safer driving habits. We’ve learned that by competing against peers, participants are more motivated to make a change in their behavior.
  • Working with Bobit Media and American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA) to found the Fleet Safety Conference and Fleet Safety Award recognizing leadership, innovation, and measurable results in enhancing the safety of their employees.
  • Participating in the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).
  • Aggregating our fleet data in combination with other sources like IIHS to determine the effectiveness of new safety technologies.
  • Engaging the auto manufacturers to provide affordable safety packages for fleet.

Some companies may feel that enforcing safety policies is burdensome to drivers or feels like “big brother”, but when done correctly, we’ve found that caring about their safety makes drivers feel valued and appreciated. In addition, drivers who act professionally when it comes to safety are likely to act more professionally in all aspects of their jobs.

What is your company doing to promote a culture of safety? Join the conversation - Email me at dfrank@wheels.com.