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The importance of an accident prevention program

As the owner of a commercial vehicle, you know how costly traffic accidents can be for your company’s profitability and productivity.

The cost of an accident

On top of seeing your premiums increase, you have to absorb the following costs:

  • Insurance deductible
  • Removal of the vehicle from the fleet
  • Salary paid to the injured employee during the wait period for SAAQ and CSST benefits
  • Salary to hire a replacement

There are also indirect costs, such as:

  • Delivery delays
  • Reduced service
  • Dissatisfied customers

Bodily injury

In addition to the financial repercussions for you, there can be physical  repercussions for your staff.

The CSST (Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail) reports that about 2% of covered workers are currently receiving compensation for work-related traffic accidents. However, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death at work, representing 25% to 30% of all work-related accidental deaths.1

According to data from the IRSST (l’Institut de recherché Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail), work-related traffic accidents primarily involve the following professions:

  • Truck drivers or delivery drivers (close to 25%)
  • Police officers or detectives (10%)
  • Labourers or material handlers (6%)
  • Bus drivers (5%)
  • Workers specializing in nursing or therapeutic care (under 3%)

The sectors of activity most affected are:

  • Public administration (22%)
  • Transportation and warehousing (20%)
  • Trade (14%)
  • Other commercial/personal services (12%)
  • Health and welfare services (10%)

The best way to cut down on accidents involving your automobile fleet is to set up an accident prevention program. This is essential for the profitability of your business and the safety of your drivers.

What’s in an accident prevention program?

For good safety management, an accident prevention program should have:

  • Buy-in from management and staff
  • A written policy and documented procedures
  • Monitoring measures to minimize risks
  • An analysis of safety breaches and accidents along with corrective measures to prevent them from happening again
  • Follow-up to evaluate the program’s success

The program should also include:

  • Driver selection
  • Ongoing training
  • Periodic driver’s license checks
  • Drug and alcohol monitoring
  • Preventive vehicle maintenance (with a log book of mechanical inspections, oil changes, etc.)
  • Vehicle inspections before departure (e.g., fluid levels, booster cables, emergency kit)
  • Vehicle safety training for employees, along with a rewards program (e.g., for a clean driving record, no at-fault accidents)

Educating your drivers

Did you know that driver behaviour is responsible for 80% of all accidents? Even though your drivers are trained professionals, they have a higher risk of accidents than anyone else.

Examples of driver safety requirements:

  • Complying with the Highway Safety Code (speed limits, signalling, etc.)
  • Complying with maximum driving times and rest periods to prevent fatigue (especially for heavy vehicle drivers)
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Think about setting up a rewards program. It’s a good source of motivation and recognition that’s bound to have a positive impact on your fleet’s road safety record.

Remember: minimizing your losses is just as important as maximizing your profits. That’s why a good accident prevention program is an essential part of managing your fleet.

Learn more

Visit the Desjardins Business Insurance section for customized prevention tips, insurance solutions tailored to your business, and much more.

Content produced by Desjardins Business Insurance

The importance of an accident prevention program

There’s no better way to improve your road safety record than by setting up a program to address the root causes of past accidents and educate your drivers.

This information in this article is of a general nature and is provided for information purposes only. It is not exhaustive. Any action taken after reading it should be carried out safely and, if necessary, by an experienced person who is authorized to do so.

1. IRSST – Work-Related Road Collisions in Québec from 2000 à 2008 (PDF)