The Financial Impact of Bad Driving Habits

Poor driving habits aren’t just a safety issue, they can have a severe financial impact as well.


The hard truth is that your fleet’s drivers may have bad habits that are costing you thousands in operational costs every year.

For example, lazy driving habits like hard braking and fast acceleration dramatically increase the overall dollar amount spent on fuel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), smarter driving habits like gentle braking and acceleration can save fleets more than 30 percent in fuel costs.

But how do you pinpoint poor driving habits? Or more importantly, how do you correct bad driving from within your fleet?

In this post, we’ll take a look at some real-world costs of bad driving and what you can do to mitigate the financial impact on your fleet.


Accidents are prevalent and avoidable

A recent study by the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) revealed that 20 percent of fleet vehicles are involved in accidents every year. That means that your 1000-vehicle fleet will lose 200 vehicles or more to downtime this year due to risky driving behaviors like distracted driving.

Managing your fleet of distracted drivers

In the US, there are about 2.5 million accidents every year and 64 percent of those accidents are caused by distracted drivers. While distracted driving comes in many shapes and sizes (eating while driving, listening to the radio, etc.), no activity is more distracting than cell phone use.

Among the many cell phone use activities, texting is the most dangerous. Drivers who text while they are behind the wheel are 23 percent more likely to get into an accident. It is an immersive activity that takes your eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds at a time.

The financial impact of distracted driving can put your business at serious financial risk. The National Safety Council (NSC) reported a very specific example of this in 2015 when one company paid $21 million after a driver—acting in accordance with his company’s cell phone use policy—struck another driver.

You read that right. That’s $21 million for one risky driving event.

Bad driving habits and your largest, ongoing expense

You guessed it. We’re talking about fuel. Even with the significant drop in fuel costs over the past few years, fuel makes up roughly 34 percent of a fleet’s marginal costs. These big, ongoing costs to your fleet are often directly related to your fleet’s bad driving habits.


Fortunately, there are tools available to help you better manage your ongoing fuel costs.

Implement an ongoing driver education program

As a general rule, driving safety education should never end. It is tempting—especially with fleets made up of seasoned drivers—to forego some essential driving training because your older drivers should know better. This is just as risky as the bad driving behavior itself.

The truth is that we’re all human. We forget. We have the tendency to gloss over important safety details when we’re in a hurry. But at the end of the day, keeping a tight grip on your drivers’ on-the-road habits is critical to your business.

From preventing accidents to maintaining a positive public perception of your company, risky driving must be prevented, eliminated and ultimately controlled by your fleet management team.

Need a solution to help you track and improve driver performance and distracted behaviors like cell phone use? Get in touch!

Zeke Rudick

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