The True Cost of Speeding for Commercial Fleets

Key Takeaways on Cost of Speeding for Fleets

  • Fleets should be focused on minimizing the impact of excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, which negatively impacts fuel efficiency as well as driving risk and accidents, and ultimately, the availability and cost of fleet insurance
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle will negatively impact both the frequency of accidents as well as the severity of a given accident.
  • Speeding-related safety issues also correlate directly with other risky behaviors. Speeding drivers also tend to show risky behaviors around aggressive acceleration, hard cornering, and harsh braking. Speeding, when combined with tailgating or distraction, greatly increases the probability of an accident.

With recent challenges around the rapidly rising costs of fuel, fleets are becoming increasingly aware of the true cost of speeding beyond the aspects of safety.  Wise fleet owners should be focused on minimizing the impact of excessive speeding not just for safety and preferable insurance rates, but for the cost savings it yields daily with regard to fuel efficiency and other operational benefits.  


cost of speeding


Technologies that help with fleet speed management

Most safety technologies have the ability to identify how fast a vehicle is traveling with fleet speed monitoring.  Typically, fleet safety managers will be concerned with 2 types of speeding events, maximum speed violations (very relevant for long haul driving) and posted speed violations (very relevant for regional, service fleets, last mile delivery).  Maximum speed violations can basically tell you when drivers exceed maximum fixed commercial vehicle speed limits established by the employer.  Speed governors can limit the vehicle to a certain maximum speed to help avoid commercial vehicle speeding tickets.  Posted speed violations tell you when a driver exceeds the posted speed limit on the road segment being driven on at that time. 

Not only are there 2 types of speeding events, but speeding notifications can be delivered to the manager, to the driver or both. 

  • Notifications to the manager are typically going to be after the drive and form the basis for coaching of drivers.  Dash cam solutions, GPS-oriented telematic solutions, and phone apps will all be effective at reporting speed violations to the managers. 
  • The main difference that fleet managers should consider when choosing a fleet speed management system is whether and how they would like the speed violations to be notified to the driver.  To lessen the coaching responsibility of managers, fleet speed management systems can deliver near real-time audible warnings and notifications directly to the driver, giving the driver time to self-correct the behavior.  In addition daily reporting can be delivered to the driver, again giving the driver time to self-correct the risky behavior.
  • Audible warnings and notifications to the driver will occur as either beeps or verbal messages.  Most telematics systems will provide their audible warnings and notifications as beeps, which can be ambiguous to the driver in terms of what behavior they should be correcting (given that the beep could represent any number of violation types). Some fleet safety solutions deliver their audible warning and notifications as verbal messages, which can even be customized by the fleet manager to deliver a more powerful deterrent when the driver hears the customized verbal message. Imagine that a speeding driver hears a message that says “Please slow down and help save fuel costs for [COMPANY NAME].” Now imagine if that same message was an audio recording from the company’s President! That’s so much more powerful than just a beep

The top three reasons that fleet speeding is so detrimental to all fleets:

1.  Increased fuel spend Fleet speeding will directly affect gas, diesel, and electric mileage, raising operational costs.  According to a recent blog from GPS Insight, How Speed Impacts Mileage, drivers lose 1-2% of their fuel efficiency for every mile per hour they drive over 55mph.  A pickup averaging 25mpg at 55mph will see its mileage decrease to 19.3 mph by driving 75mph. The behaviors that impact fuel efficiency are nicely summarized in a US News article Driving behaviors impacting fuel efficiency.  In addition to speeding, aggressive acceleration as well as harsh braking and excessive idling are both related directly to lessened fuel efficiency. Using this Fuel Economy Calculator, a light-duty truck that drives 60 mph vs. 80mph and averages 100 miles/day could save approximately $3000 per year in fuel costs!

2. Higher damages from collisions – Commercial vehicle driver response times become more critical when speeding, as the driver has a shortened time to respond to any    risky situation, thus increasing the probability of an accident.  A vehicle going at a higher speed will simply take a longer distance to stop. When combined with an unsafe following distance, speeding in a commercial vehicle becomes especially dangerous.  Speeding will add to the severity of any crash. There is more kinetic energy in a similar vehicle moving faster and the dissipation of that energy upon contact is more dramatic at higher speeds.  Any crash at higher speed will have a worse outcome. In a worst case scenario, excessive speeding and the claims you make over time for your fleet can result in a complete loss of insurance, frequently making it difficult for you to find a replacement provider.

3. More likely to be riskiest drivers – Fleet speeding elevates overall driving risk as it is a sign of overly aggressive driving and will correlate with other risky behaviors like aggressive acceleration, hard cornering and harsh braking.  If a driver has the propensity to speed, that driver is more likely to engage in other aggressive driving behaviors and should be the focus of your driver coaching efforts.

You can control the cost of speeding using both a carrot and a stick

With all of these potential risks associated with fleet speeding, there are many driver safety solutions that can mitigate speeding and in effect the cost of speeding. Driver safety solutions can be effective by stopping, warning or coaching drivers from committing risky behavior.  For speeding, you can stop it through speed governors or limiters but are limited to one maximum speed level.  You can also warn drivers as they are crossing posted speed limits through beeps and/or verbal notifications.  As managers, you can coach drivers after the drive once you get the report with speeding violations.

An effective solution to speeding is to first let the driver know (through beeps or verbal messages) when an unsafe speed has been recorded, giving the driver the chance to self-correct behavior in near real time. Some fleets also find success by gamifying safe driving and posting a fuel efficiency score which rewards the safer drivers (the carrot). Unfortunately, the carrot approach may not be effective for all drivers. Putting a system in place which penalizes your habitual speeders can show the driver you are serious about having them slow down (the stick).

About Alan Mann

Driver risk scoring/coaching/cell phone distraction avoidance/driver behavior expert.
This entry was posted in Fleet Management, Speeding and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.