An accident waiting to happen?

Article date: 13 August 2007

A survey commissioned by RAC Services has revealed that 72% of fleet managers don't know the real cost that vehicle accidents have on their business.

Worryingly, it is the smaller fleets (up to 10 vehicles) that have the least awareness, with 81% admitting that they don't know how much a vehicle accident affects the bottom line.

"A vehicle down within a fleet of 10 can often be more detrimental than a vehicle down within a fleet of 100 or more," says John Lawrence, director of service delivery, RAC Services.

"Businesses need to understand how having a vehicle out of action affects working hours, which according to our survey is directly proportional to the amount of management information (MI) available to the fleet."

The survey, conducted among 100 fleet managers across the UK, showed that larger fleets, who have access to MI through outsourcing accident management, have 100% understanding of the impact of "vehicle downtime". In the 11-100 vehicle fleet category, just over three quarters (75%) claim to have a grasp of the issue, while less than half (45%) are up to speed among the up to 10 vehicle fleet category.

"Having sound MI relating to the timescale of repair means that, for example, a fleet manager can plan car hire for that amount of time only, so reducing unnecessary spend. A three-day repair job should take exactly that if managed properly," said Lawrence.

The survey also revealed that, regardless of having a lack of knowledge when it comes to cost, only a third (35%) of all fleet managers want to improve their control over accident costs. This approach was most prevalent among the 11-100-strong fleets (30%), with the keenest cost cutters featuring in the 100-plus fleets (50%).                                                                                               

"This demonstrates a distinct ‘knowledge gap' and shows that fleet managers, particularly those managing smaller fleets, are not aware of the techniques available to them which can help them manage costs.

"The best practices of the largest UK fleets are a lesson to their smaller relatives. By using an outsourced accident management service, they are able to access a buying power which translates to better control over problems such as downtime, car hire costs, the speed and quality of repairs, labour rates, parts prices, and the reduction of off-road time for their drivers," Lawrence concluded.


RAC Press office contact:

Adam Cracknell on 01603 684 916/07800 699 517

Staniforth contact:
Jo Rosenberg on 0161 919 8014/07973 143215 

Notes to editors:

Research conducted by NEMS, May 2007

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005.  The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15%.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

Back to top