The key characteristics that distinguish strong transport safety performers – and low insurance claimers – have been identified.

New Australian research highlights a list of safety management practices proven to improve safety performance in the heavy vehicle transport industry. The characteristics also improve business’ bottom line, particularly by reducing insured AND (more importantly) UNINSURED costs associated with a crash.

The research found strong safety performers, for example:

  • Have a strong safety culture, where driver input to health and safety decisions is encouraged, and systematic fatigue monitoring and documenting of fatigue risk management practices
  • Complete risk assessments in consultation between managers and drivers, so drivers can anticipate and avoid risks
  • Perform maintenance and pre-trip vehicle checks to ensure trucks are in a safe condition for all trips
  • Assess driver fitness and include safe driving records in recruitment criteria
  • Base driver training on individual tuition by experienced drivers, and
  • Have managers who show leadership in making safety a clear priority.

The research also came up with some surprising findings. For example, companies accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme for fatigue management had higher insurance claims and more fatigue policies and training than better performers.

Companies with in-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS) also tended to be higher insurance claimers, perhaps because IVMS-generated data was used for business purposes rather than safety.

The research was in response to the heavy vehicle transport sector being over-represented in vehicle crashes. Its findings can be implemented by transport companies – and their insurers – to improve risk assessment and risk management processes.

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