Safe Fleets ? Investing in Sustainable Transport, Stronger Business and a Healthier Society
J Giemza, Polish Road Safety Partnership, PL; E Leszko, Total Polska, PL; K Elsig, Global Road Safety Partnership, PL
Many nations are experiencing that the benefits of more work-related travel can be off set by the harrowing consequences of road crashes. In Poland, a group of companies have joined together in Poland?s first coordinated fleet safety programme.
Work related travel by motor vehicle has become commonplace in the developed and in the developing world. Today, people are travelling by vehicle for a variety of work purposes: delivering goods, visiting clients, selling services, on their way to meetings or even to the office. In a rapidly developing economy such as Poland, the number of total registered motor vehicles has increased by almost 90% since 1990 and there were 140% more passenger cars on the road in 2005 than in 1990.
Increased motorization can be an indicator of and indeed contribute to economic development. Yet many developing nations are also experiencing that the benefits of more work-related travel can be off set by the harrowing economic and social consequences of an increase in road crashes. Studies from countries that collect data on ?journey purpose?, including the UK, USA, and Australia, indicate that road crashes are the single most deadly work-related hazard in these countries.
According to the World report on road traffic injury prevention (WHO/World Bank 200ç) 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes every year, with the majority of fatalities occurring in low and middle income countries, and between 23 and 34 million people are injured. For a country like Poland, road crashes cost the country roughly 1% of its GDP. According to the Polish National Road Safety Council more than 100,000 people have lost their lives and a million have been injured on the country?s roads since 1990.
The public health system, individuals and families carry the largest burden of these costs. However, studies on the costs of road crashes to individual companies reveal that businesses operating vehicle fleets suffer huge losses due to road crashes, the majority of which are preventable. Collective fleet operating costs represent a growing proportion of overhead expenditure, yet few organisations really know what road crashes actually cost them. According to the UK based Occupational Road Safety Alliance, for every £1 recovered from insurers, between £ 8 ? £36 are lost.
Fortunately, more and more companies are realizing that investing in road safety brings far greater benefits than suffering the costs and losses resulting from crashes involving company vehicles and staff and they are implementing dedicated measures to improve their company?s road safety performance.
In Poland, a group of dedicated companies and organisations including Mercedes Benz Polska, Daimler Fleet Management, GM, Renault, Michelin, Total, BP, 3M, EvoBus, Solaris Bus & Coach, ABB, DHL, PKN Orlen and Shell as well as the Polish Red Cross and ZMPD (local chapter of the International Road Transport Union) have joined together in a not for profit public-private partnership, the Road Safety Partnership, to design and implement Poland?s first coordinated programme on managing vehicle fleets from a safety perspective.
For participating companies the programme begins with a gap analysis and risk assessment, including a review of the company?s policies and procedures related to road safety management; the frequence, type and impact of traffic incidents on the company in terms of direct and indirect costs; vehicle suitibility and maintence procedures; and other areas. All participating companies are assigned a ?letter? to ensure that data collected remains anonomus. The analysis is followed by a consultation with the company CEO and senior management to discuss the outcome and identify corrective measures. Participating companies can choose from a range of services offered via the Partnership, including seminars on a variety of fleet safety topics; assistance in strengthing data collection and reporting systems to assist in understanding and tracking costs resulting from road traffic incidents; support developimg and implement fleet safety policies. These services are included in the membership fee of the Partnership or at a discounted rate to partners.. Non members can participate and pay a fee for the seminars and services. Any extra earnings help finance other community road crash injury prevention programmes undertaken by the Partnership.
In taking such steps, these companies have made a conscious choice to become a part of their country?s road safety solution, not its problem, and they are preventing tragic and avoidable losses to society and their business as well.
Association for European Transport