Fleet managers need to make sure company drivers report all crashes, regardless of severity, says Fleet News.

That, at least, is the conclusion of a “recent study” carried out by Interactive Driving Systems. Among its findings is the shocking news that one in every 1,800 “damage-only crashes” results in driver fatality ‚ and thereby starts to look at bit like “damage-plus.”

Fleet News quotes Interactive Driving Systems’ Will Murray, who apparently rejoices in the exotic job description “reserach director” and claims that crashes involving low-speed manoeuvring or reversing, and resulting in minimal asset damage and low repair costs, often go unreported ‚ financed, as they often are, under the heading of general maintenance costs or wear and tear.

But such incidents have a dark side Murray claims. “Such incidents,” he intones solemnly, “have the potential to be fatal and costly. The only difference between most near-hits (a dint, scrape or lost wing mirror) and injury is timing or a few centimetres.”

Dint or Dynt is an Old English word meaning a stroke or blow. In the common phrase by dint of’ it is roughly interchangeable with the word  means.’ Or perhaps Mr Murray is of South African extraction and Fleet News are giving their readers a hent of his distinctive pronunciation.

Meanwhile back at the story, Murray is waxing Old-Testament prophetic: “Sod’s law,” he propounds, “means that property damage begets more property damage. Therefore, fleet managers need to identify the causes of damage-only collisions and near hits in order to lower injury rates and costs.”

Following these dramatic revelations, Interactive Driving Systems provides a handy list of pointers for risk managers, which ‚ since lives may be at stake if the timings and centimetres go awry ‚ Bankstone News feel morally obliged to repeat in full:

• Encourage drivers to report crashes of all magnitudes
• Carry out documented pre- and post-drive vehicle circle checks
• Carry out better recording and monitoring of minor, low speed,  below the excess’ damage and near-hits.
• Introduce moratoriums on discipline to allow honest reporting
• Remove or change safety bonus schemes to focus on total vehicle costs rather than crashes
• Identify all non-scheduled maintenance by crosschecking maintenance records against reported crashes and ensuring that crash codes are allocated before repairs are undertaken
• Introduce more severe disciplinary action for drivers  found out’ after the event than honest self reporters’
• Stress the value to colleagues, as reporting can help prevent problems for workmates
• Carry out regular risk assessment of vehicles and locations as well as investigation of damage-only crashes

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