Why recording motor near misses could save you money

03 May 2016

By encouraging employees to flag-up motor near incidents, you could improve driver safety, and reduce losses and insurance costs.

For every motor accident there are approximately 90 near-misses, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Companies that capture data on ‘near misses’ are far better able to improve their motor safety guidelines, because they have a fuller picture of the type of incidents their drivers are at risk of.

As Andrew Wetters, HSE policy adviser, says: “Fleets should be encouraging employees to report all incidents and near-misses. So much can be learned by keeping a near-miss register.” 

Moreover, recording near-misses is a requisite for gaining accreditation to the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme, the industry-led accreditation scheme encompassing safety, fuel efficiency, vehicle emissions and improved operations.

Yet only 16 per cent of company employees record near-misses, according to a Fleet News online poll. 

Uphill struggle

In fact, some companies struggle just to capture data on ‘actual’ motor incidents involving employees, particularly with lease cars that are only checked every few weeks, months or even until the end of the contract.

Partly this is because employees can be reluctant to report motor incidents, let alone ‘near misses, for fear of punishment.

Another challenge is that employees’ perception is subjective – it will vary from other people’s, including anyone else involved in the incident – which can make it difficult to judge how to act on the information provided. 

Furthermore, some employees, such as HGV drivers, can be involved in an incident without even being aware of it due to the size of their vehicle.

So how can companies encourage quicker and more accurate incident reporting?

‘No-blame’ culture

Documented pre- and post-drive vehicle circle checks and end-of-shift driver debriefs will help you to identify vehicle damage and the driver involved more quickly.

Most vital, however, is creating an open, non-punitive culture. Employees will be far more likely to report incidents and near misses if they are confident that such information will not result in disciplinary action.

Employees will also be likely to report incidents/near misses more quickly and accurately – with less compulsion to ‘cover their own backs’. This enables you to engage with any third-parties involved a lot earlier in the process – thereby keeping down the cost of claims.

Long-term thinking

Greater reporting accuracy also results in more telling, useful data with which to identify trends and introduce further risk mitigation measures.

These changes must be made, however, as part of a wider long-term action plan. Data you possess on your motor incidents and near misses can be used against you in court, if an incident subsequently occurs that could have been prevented had you acted on that data.

The collection of more data on motor incidents and near misses therefore needs to be accompanied by regular feedback and training, and a continuous process of improvement.

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For more information, please contact Steve Vachre, Motor Specialist on +44 161 957 8034 or email steve_vachre@jltgroup.com