The majority of accidents involving business lease drivers involve a head-to-tail collision, according to recent figures from a large leasing company. Damage is also often caused by not giving priority. This gives thought to the driving behavior of drivers and the way in which lease cars are used. What is being done about this?
According to Athlon Nederland, 6 percent of the number of business drivers in their cars this year were involved in an accident with damage. The damage amount is on average 1,415 euros. Although the percentage is small, compared to the number of lease drivers, the number of drivers involved in an accident is nevertheless large.
According to the Association of Dutch Car Leasing Companies, around one million lease vehicles were driving in the Netherlands at the end of last year, 68 percent of which are driven on business. If other leasing companies see a comparable percentage, it may be nearly 41,000 drivers who were involved in an accident up to and including September of this year.
6 percent of the number of Athlon lease drivers was involved in a damage accident this year. (Photo: Pro Shots)
'More attention to practical solutions'
Athlon attributes the number of accidents to, among other things, distraction in traffic, with the smartphone and the increased traffic as main causes. Partly as a result of distraction, 678 road deaths occurred last year, an increase of 11 percent compared to a year earlier and the highest number since 2010.
In a report presented by the Foundation for Scientific Research on Road Safety (SWOV) on Monday, commissioned by the Police and Science research program, this picture was once again confirmed. Twice as many accidents have occurred on the highway in the last five years, mostly head-to-tail collisions, mostly caused by carelessness.
In that sense, Athlon sees a social role for itself. "More attention needs to be paid to practical solutions to provide tools that result in different traffic behavior," said Alexander Heijkamp, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) director at the lease company.
Distraction by the smartphone is the main cause of inattention in traffic. (Photo: Getty Images)
"Everyone must see and notice behavioral change"
Among other things, the focus is on an interactive online training program that should increase the knowledge of safe driving behavior in traffic. "The Athlon e-Driver program consists of online training modules that appear every six weeks with videos, tips and information. For example, the correct use of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and how to deal with distraction in traffic", said Heijkamp.
"The repetitive nature of this is very important, because this makes the program proven more effective. This is reflected in our data, among other things. Drivers who regularly follow these training courses are 15 percent less involved in accidents and use up to 8.5 percent less fuel "
Drivers are not obliged to participate, because at Athlon they do not believe in coercion but, on the contrary, want to seduce directors and employers to participate. "We prefer to appeal to employers by means of such training courses to give substance to being a good employer. In addition, we also hope to encourage the directors themselves to participate. We do this by pointing out the experiences of others, but also through the direct There are also training modules for children from the family and the partner can also join in. It is our ambition that everyone will see and notice that behavioral change, for example the family, who will notice that father or mother has started to drive differently, or that the neighborhood notices that. It can spread like an oil slick that way. "
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That may not be sufficient according to Mark Maaskant of Prodrive Academy, a company that provides road safety and user training. "If, according to Athlon's analysis, head-to-tail collisions are the number one cause of accidents, then ADAS driver assistance systems and user training can prevent that immediately," says Maaskant.
"Make sure that the lease cars are equipped with a machine as standard, because then the driving assistance systems work best. Adaptive cruise control or file assistant automatically keep a distance when braking and accelerating, which can prevent head-tail collisions."
Things like a vending machine and reversing camera should be standard according to Mark Maaskant of Prodrive Academy. (Photo: BMW)
"Giving resources to help each other"
As far as Maaskant is concerned, leasing companies would be able to profile themselves much more as a knowledge partner in informing their customers about the operation of ADAS driver assistance systems and at least equipping the cars with at least parking sensors and a reversing camera. "With this combination you can prevent so much damage that it is a great business case".
According to Heijkamp, this is already happening. He also acknowledges that things like ADAS in combination with a vending machine can reduce the risk of accidents, but here too the company wants to pass on the knowledge and experiences about this rather than imposing it on employers. For companies that want it, there are practical tests that are offered together with the Road Safety Group of the Netherlands.
"We must not forget that certain traffic behavior may be due to personal reasons. Perhaps someone is not feeling well, resulting in speeding or accidents. Based on information about driving behavior, this may be a subject of become a conversation between employer and employee. We must give them the means to help each other. Our account managers also notice this in the discussions with employers. Safety and sustainability are important to our customers, "Heijkamp says.