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  May 2nd, 2022 | Written by

Preparing for Motor Vehicle Accidents in the Supply Chain: 7 Strategies

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Every supply chain needs to prepare for motor vehicle accidents. While large truck crashes are less common than those involving passenger cars, they still caused more than 4,000 deaths in 2019 alone. Even when they don’t cause death or injury, these incidents can lead to substantial delays and cause injuries to drivers.

Thankfully, supply chain managers can take many steps to prevent and mitigate road accidents.

Here are seven strategies for preparing for these incidents.

Preparing to Prevent Accidents

The most effective way to mitigate traffic accidents is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Supply chains can’t stop other drivers on the road from crashing, but they can minimize risks from their own vehicles and drivers. These steps are critical, as they simultaneously make roads safer and reduce delays.

These four strategies are among the most important and effective to prevent accidents from the beginning.

Perform Background Checks

The most common causes of traffic collisions are driver inattention, speeding and distractions, like fatigue and alcohol or drug impairment. All these factors share a common thread: driver behavior. Consequently, supply chain organizations can minimize their accident risk by hiring better drivers.

Businesses should perform thorough background checks on all driver candidates. Specific records to look for include prior accidents and traffic violations. Some of these, like speeding
tickets, may not be deal-breakers, but others, like intoxicated driving or multiple accidents, should disqualify applicants.

Supply chains can also use these records to inform retraining programs. If a driver has a few accidents in their history, managers can focus on the underlying causes during onboarding.

Keep up With Vehicle Maintenance

Driver behavior may be the most common cause of accidents, but supply chains should address others, too. Vehicle maintenance is another crucial consideration, as even seemingly insignificant maintenance factors can endanger drivers. Even windshield wipers can block people’s line of sight if not changed regularly.

Supply chains should adopt a proactive approach to maintenance, fixing common issues before they grow and endanger drivers. Operating on a set schedule is good, but using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to enable predictive maintenance is better. These sensors alert workers when something will need care so they can fix it before it becomes a significant problem.

Use Vehicle Safety Devices

Several technologies today can also keep vehicles safer by providing more information to drivers and automating some processes. Blindside sensors, camera systems and automatic emergency braking are included in some newer cars, but they’re also available as separate systems. Supply chains can modify their trucks with these add-ons if they don’t feature them already.

Safety devices like these are no substitute for proper driver training, but they help account for momentary lapses in judgment. Even experienced drivers may get distracted or make mistakes, but these systems will help ensure these errors don’t become fatal. Automatic braking alone has reduced front impact crashes by 27% in some studies.

Monitor Driving Behavior With Telematics

Supply chains can also use new technologies to monitor driver behavior. Telematics systems can record and share data like speeds, braking, lane changes and other driver choices. Collecting and analyzing this information can help reduce insurance rates and reveal how drivers act on the road.

Businesses can reward drivers with excellent driving records to encourage safe behavior. Conversely, they can penalize risky behavior and tailor retraining sessions according to emerging safety trends. These steps will ensure drivers remain safe throughout their careers.

Preparing for Accident Response

Supply chain organizations should do all they can to prevent motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, it’s unrealistic to believe that these measures will be 100% effective at stopping crashes. There are roughly 6 million car crashes in the U.S. every year, and many of these happen despite thorough safety steps.

Businesses can’t control how other drivers on the road might act or how the weather may develop. These indirect factors can cause accidents regardless of a company’s safety measures, so it’s also important to prepare to respond to them. Here are three ways how.

Equip Vehicles With Cameras

Insurance is one of the most important resources for mitigating crash costs, and cameras are one of the most helpful tools. Equipping all vehicles with dashboard and rear-view cameras provides evidence of what happened in an accident. Involved parties, police and claims adjusters can review these videos to inform their actions.

Camera feeds will help determine fault in an accident instead of pitting testimonies against one another. This reduces costs for companies when their drivers aren’t at fault and streamlines the
insurance claim process. Without that definitive evidence, claims could take months to settle.

Provide Resources for Drivers in Accidents

Supply chain companies must also have resources for their drivers involved in accidents. Most importantly, they must provide medical care. Keeping emergency kits in vehicles can help provide immediate care, and competitive health insurance can help drivers cover the costs of their ongoing needs.

Medical care should cover more than just tending to immediate injuries. It can take days or even weeks for some symptoms to present, and seemingly smaller factors can affect drivers’ daily
lives. Physical therapy resources can help them overcome these injuries, enabling quick, effective recovery.

Have a Reliable Communication System in Place

Studies show that longer response times show a strong correlation with mortality in motor vehicle accidents. Consequently, supply chain organizations must ensure reliable, efficient communication systems to report crashes.

IoT technologies can detect a crash and immediately contact emergency response services. If companies’ trucks don’t have these features built-in, they can find standalone versions to implement in their vehicles. They should also adjust these devices to alert supply chain management.

When an accident occurs, supply chain managers should contact the driver to see if they’re OK and learn what they need. It’s also important to inform other drivers to reroute them if necessary
and inform other parties about possible delays.

Minimize Vehicle Accident Risks

Motor vehicle accidents are dangerous, and even when they’re not, they can cause substantial damage and disruption. Preparing for these events will help supply chains mitigate this impact.

These seven strategies will help companies prevent and respond to crashes. Supply chains that do that can protect their drivers and others on the road and minimize delays and operating costs. This risk reduction is crucial to supply chain success.