Whether you are a solo truck driver or managing a fleet of 1,000 vehicles, speeding poses a safety threat, argues Paul Miller, product manager for Fleetmatics, a Verizon Telematics company. But there are also many “hidden costs” that come from speeding that add up significantly for a business, too, as Miller explains in this guest column.
A report by AAA found that nearly half of all drivers (48%) reported going 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway in the past month. Although speeding may be common, it’s always bad for business. Beyond the glaringly obvious safety concerns, there can be hidden costs, such as an increase in insurance premiums due to poor driving records or even labelling a driver with a speeding ticket history as “uninsurable,” leading to an average cost of $8,612 for replacing a driver.
No matter the fleet size, business owners and fleet managers need to recognize that speeding is bad for business, and address misconceptions about the ultimate costs associated with speeding.
One of the biggest misconceptions is the notion that speeding is a victimless crime.
Many drivers have been up against a tight deadline to meet a service level agreement, or find themselves at the end of a long day with just a few deliveries to go, and consider going a few extra miles over the speed limit to compensate or move things along.
But according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2005.
Yet aside from the safety concerns, speeding isn’t the time saver people think it is. The reality is that most of the theoretical time gained from going a few extra miles over the speed limit tends to be lost in the time spent in traffic, particularly in urban areas.
The hidden costs of speeding can really add up. The financial risks and potential loss of earnings for drivers who get caught speeding can have long-term effects on a driver’s career and by effect, the business.
The penalties and disqualifications that come with traffic infringements can put drivers out of action, and create scheduling inefficiencies and headaches for managers.
There is the impact on fuel efficiency to consider as well; another potential consequence of speeding.
Every five miles per hour driven over 65 represents a 7% decrease in fuel efficiency. If you own a fleet of trucks that few extra miles per hour can quickly escalate into a significant expenditure on fuel.
Speeding also accelerates vehicle wear and tear, and increases maintenance costs. It can also be a risk to goods, tools and equipment in transit – potentially damaging items that would have been safely stowed without a vehicle’s unexpected, dramatic movements.
In addition, unsafe driving can have a negative impact on an organization’s reputation. Vehicles out in the field are essentially moving billboards – unsafe driving can send a poor message to the public, and create a negative perception of an organization’s brand, potentially impacting sales.
Ultimately, speeding hurts drivers and businesses. Clearing up the false assumptions surrounding speeding can help improve safe driving practices, while simultaneously improving a business’s bottom line.