As a Safety Consultant, I often ask “Have you Measured Your Collision Rate?”


There’s an old saying, “you can’t control what is not measured”.  Or how about, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. 


A much wiser man than I said that and I believe this statement to be true. If you also believe it to be true and I think that most of you do, then why is it that the majority of safety departments do not measure their statistics?   Last month I wrote about a friend who ended up closing his trucking company. I believe one of the reasons was that he was not measuring enough things in the safety department. I suggested to him that at the least, he needed to measure “severity”. He really needed to Measure Collision RateThis month I would like to offer some other suggestions for measurements in some other “key performance indicators (KPI’s)” that will help you manage your safety department. I believe all fleets should be measuring “KPI’s”.  Even if you are only ten trucks, you need to be measuring driver’s performance as it relates to safety.



So I say it again Measure Collision Rate, Safety Consultant says?



If a ten truck fleet was measuring the types of things that should be measured, I assure you that your insurance provider would be impressed.  First on that list should be driver turnover. Second could be collision frequency. But most importantly, besides severity, would be the collision rate per million miles.


Recently the “American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)” released a research paper that indicates the average number of collisions per “vehicle miles traveled (VMT)” in the United States is 0.26 collisions per million miles. Is your company above this average, at the average or better than average? By far the majority of you reading this really don’t know because you are not measuring it. Your attention may only be drawn to this measurement plan on the SMS basic when you go into the “alert” state. However, you don’t enter the alert for the collision basic until you hit 1.5 collisions per million miles. By this time you may already be in trouble with your insurance company. In many respects I believe the insurance industry puts more carriers out of the trucking business than either your Provincial government or the FMCSA.


So how do you calculate your collision rate per million miles? It may seem like a simple question but you need to know the three ways that the FMCSA’s define a collision.

  1. If the collision results in a fatality
  2. If the collision causes an injury to a person who receives immediate medical attention
  3. And if the collision results in any of the vehicles receiving enough disabling damage that one of the vehicles need to be towed. So any of these three events is classified as a collision.


Here is how to Measure Collision Rate. You quickly calculate your collision rate per million miles. You take the number of collisions that meet the above definition and multiply them by one million, and then divide them by how many miles you travel in the last twelve months. This calculation will give you your collision ratio or your accidents per million miles. By way of a quick example, if you had four collisions and traveled 10,000,000 miles in the last twelve months, the calculation would look like this: 4 X 1,000,000 divided by 10,000,000 miles. This would equal 0.4 collisions per million miles.


This would be above the national average for collisions but below the collision alert thresholds.  So while you are not yet on the FMCSA’s radar, you may be drawing the attention of your insurance provider.  If you want to impress the safety professionals working for your insurance provider, take control of the safety department of your fleet and start to measure your KPI’s.    If you measure it then you can control it.


Do you want to calculate your own Crash Rate?



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