Fleet safety

A landmark study, 'Fleetsafe', conducted by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) is set to change the culture of vehicle management in the region. The Study, funded by the Road Traffic Authority, compared performance across the 12 Councils in the Southern Sydney region, as well as against national and international benchmarks.

Some surprising findings indicated major discrepancies in fleet management policy between Councils and a tendency to treat accidents as a fact of life, and often in an ad hoc manner, rather than as an issue for risk management.

Across the region, Councils are accountable for 2,720 vehicles, a major item of Council expenditure, and potentially a significant factor for reducing accidents, saving lives and reducing road costs in the broader community.

The Study focused on five key 'C' concepts, costs including crash history data collection and insurance, commitment to policy and standards, control of procedures and accountability, car safety and the culture of driving practice.

Broad findings included a considerable variation in the number of accidents as a percentage of fleet size. Accident rates were observed to be much higher for light than heavy fleet, and insurance costs averaged at $900,000, with little incentive being offered by insurance companies to reduce accidents.

Few Councils had formal policies covering safe driving, and there were few incentive schemes to encourage better driving. Although human factors contribute to 90 percent of accidents, driver training alone is not seen to be the answer.

Safety and safety features did not figure heavily in the selection of vehicles for fleets, and Councils tended to rely on routine maintenance for safety checks on vehicles. Following the release of its findings, SSROC has successfully negotiated further funding to implement the recommendations of Fleetsafe.

Melissa Gibbs, Executive Director of SSROC, said that this funding will be used to develop policy initiatives and evaluate the effectiveness of reforms introduced.

"We are keen to see that changes bring about effective improvement in reducing accidents, improving safety standards and reducing costs," she said.

For further information contact Melissa Gibbs, telephone (02) 9317 2811.