Fleet Forum came into being to help address the issue of road safety and security, particularly for humanitarian aid organisations. It was recognized that organisations dedicated to providing help and care could not ignore the negative impact of the delivery process—that injuries and deaths caused by humanitarian aid vehicles only added to the problems faced by communities.
The challenge is to address the horrendous statistics. Fleet Forum has prioritised the reduction in the 1.3 million deaths that occur annually on the roads. The number is set to rise to 2.1 million by 2030 unless drastic steps are taken to address these life-or-death issues of road safety. Thankfully there are many solutions that can be adopted to help reduce these statistics, for many accidents are preventable. Through education and training, through proper fleet maintenance and organisational policy and practice, potentially dangerous situations can be minimised.
The good news is that Fleet Forum has already demonstrated through practical projects that simple actions such as better maintenance of vehicles, improved driver training, and staff education on road safety, do produce a significant result in reducing deaths and injuries on the roads. For example, if a vehicle has adequate tyre tread, usable brakes, proper steering abilities, and good general maintenance, it will be less likely to cause an accident. Similarly, if management do not ask for unrealistic assignments, such as too strict timelines of driving during night, then the drivers will not be forced into dangerous situations. Or if a driver is not driving while impaired—whether it is because of tiredness, alcohol, or drug use, etc.—then clearly response times will be better and the capacity to cause an accident will be reduced. Additionally, if local road users are educated in safety issues, then unwise actions that could lead to accidents can also be reduced.
Fleet Forum works in collaboration with many different organisations to help ensure such intervention action does happen. Fleet Forum recognises that no one single methodology is sufficient, and the primary road safety solution is a composite of many aspects of awareness, training, and education together with practical implementation in the real world. However, this is a vital humanitarian issue that needs to be tackled vigorously and effectively.
Experience with organizations that implemented fleet safety management showed that not only did the number of accidents go down (on average 45%) but the costs of maintenance and repair were reduced by 50% as well.