Roche Products Pty Limited of Australia (Roche) is a pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor. Employee safety on the road is of great importance and we are dedicated to creating a safe fleet driving culture for our 650 staff. Roche is committed to promoting a heightened awareness and responsible driving behaviour for all employees to prevent vehicle accidents and reduce personal injury and property loss claims.

This case study describes four key initiatives Roche has undertaken with support from its insurer Zurich Australia and Interactive Driving Systems®.

1. Implemented Virtual Risk Manager® for all existing staff and new employees.
2. Policy improvement.
3. Communications program.
4. Virtual Risk Manager® program development.

Since starting the program in January 2005, Roche has successfully implemented Virtual Risk Manager® Driver Profile, RoadRISK™, One More Second® and RoadSKILLS™ modules and the Manager Information System that supports these tools. This approach enabled Roche to carry out risk assessments, and to monitor and improve the safety of its employees. Roche also took the opportunity to roll out its Vehicle Safety Policy and Driver Licence Checks as part of Virtual Risk Manager®, allowing a seamless process for driver risk assessment, monitoring and improvement – achieving almost 100% compliance on each of the four modules for existing staff. New recruits undertake the program soon after joining the organisation as part of their extended induction.

The program was effective immediately – generating discussion in corridors, over morning teas and at question times. Roche analysed and targeted high, medium and low risk areas, for the company as a whole and at an individual employee level. The outcomes provided both short term and long term objectives, which were addressed by working closely with Interactive Driving Systems® and internal teams such as HR and OSH.

For example, one of the RoadRISK™ questions is ‘Have you had an eyesight test within the last 12 months?’ Over 25% of employees answered ‘NO’. This was drawn to the attention of the HR department, who subsequently offered free eyesight tests to all employees – whether entitled to a company vehicle or not. In total, 138 employees took the opportunity to have their eyes tested, 64 required further examination and 28 required glasses. This is now an annual assessment process for all employees.

As part of the program, Roche has also developed, implemented, monitored and improved its policies, procedures, processes, driver manual and on-going communications including initiatives on collision reporting and investigation, anti-lock brakes, speed, seatbelts, alcohol, fatigue, holiday driving, back pain, journey management to minimise employee kilometres, vehicle checks and driving whilst pregnant.


The program has improved safety based on both proactive and reactive indicators.

One of the key reasons for adopting Virtual Risk Manager® was the availability of extensive university and industry-based proactive evaluation data. Based on the first 422 Roche drivers to complete RoadRISK™ a clear correlation between the assessment outcomes and driver crash history was identified.

The ultimate reactive measure of the success of a program is in relation to ROAD SAFETY OUTCOMES. Based on data provided by Zurich insurance underwriters, Roche has reduced all its major collision types (table below), reduced its claims ratio from 36% to 28% and cut its collision costs by 55%.

Description                                  2004                   2009                   Change 2004 – 2009
Average number of vehicles           259                        149                           – 42%
Insurance Claims                             94                           41                             – 56%
Overall Claims Ratio                       36%                       28%                         – 24%
Failed to Yield                                  11%                         7%                           – 31%
Damaged while Parked                  12%                        5%                           – 58%
Hit Stationary Object                     16%                       22%                            38%
Hit in Rear by Third Party            15%                       24%                           64%
Hit Third Party in Rear                  11%                       7%                           – 31%
Reversing                                          21%                       7%                          – 66%
Other                                                  15%                      27%                           80%

Summary and future steps:

As well as showing s a major commitment to road safety, the program is also innovative in many ways:

  • Application of sophisticated internet-based technology to fleet safety in Australia.
  • Research-led approach initially based on independent evaluations by Napier University, and latterly Roche’s own internal data.
  • Extensive MIS allowing data visibility, with results easily centralised, analysed and actioned.
  • MIS developed to include own policies, licence checks and methodology to effectively risk manage starters and leavers.
  • Highly cost effective – by targeting most risky areas in a standardised way, allowing employees to receive a large element of their recruitment, induction, risk assessment and corrective training before they and their trainers are exposed to the risks of the road.
  • Not tied to expensive and poorly targeted in-vehicle driver skills based interventions.

Despite the successes to date, Roche is not standing still and is working on steps to:

  • Sustain and maximise the use of Virtual Risk Manager® for all existing employees and new starters.
  • Develop new initiatives to reinforce Corporate Policy.
  • Design and implement new Virtual Risk Manager® modules, including the Safe Driving Pledge, Risk Foundation™ policy assessment, version 2 of the RoadRISK™ Profile, RiskCOACH, bespoke KPIs and CrashCOUNT.
  • Engage in external programs such as benchmarking and road safety outreach through best practice case studies to help other organisations learn from its initiatives.