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OR Ned Maniscalco, Enterprise Fleet Management
By Bryan St. Eve, Enterprise Fleet Management – Builders Exchange Allied Member
On playgrounds children know that “bells and whistles” are used by their teachers to ensure their safety. However, adults choosing safety features for a new car or truck need to be a little more discerning about which features may be more “bells and whistles” and which are really necessary. More importantly, for businesses with a fleet of vehicles, decisions about safety features and equipment can impact the safety of every driver, as well as the total cost of ownership for each vehicle.
Some of the safety features worth considering when ordering new vehicles include:
- Electronic Traction & Stability Control Systems – activate faster than a driver can react to help steer, slow down or brake a vehicle automatically in emergencies
- Rear vision cameras – provide a natural view of objects directly behind the vehicle when backing up, as well as during parking maneuvers
- Side blind zone alerts – utilize radar sensors to identify and indicate the location of other vehicles that might otherwise not be in the driver’s line of vision
- Lane departure warnings – camera-based system that activates at speeds above 35 miles per hour to alert the driver when vehicle is changing lanes with no advance signal
- Intelligent brake assist – utilizes radar and vision sensors to help driver avoid or lessen the damage caused by a front-end crash by automatically applying added brake force
While today’s safety features are more sophisticated and effective than ever before, choosing the right safety features and equipment has become a lot more complicated. A professional fleet management company that is familiar with all the latest safety features and equipment across a wide range of manufacturers can help a business determine which features are necessary for individual vehicles within the fleet. Factors such as how vehicles will be used, lease terms, insurance costs and anticipated residual values are all taken into consideration as part of calculating the total cost of ownership.
A recent poll by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers found that two-thirds of customers are interested in looking at the latest high-tech features aimed at helping drivers avoid crashes the next time they buy a car or truck. The alliance’s CEO, Mitch Bainwol, said in a statement, “More than 90 percent of crashes involve driver error of some kind, so automakers created a range of driver assist systems that aid the driver for brief periods of time to help avoid an accident.”
There is little question that safety features are effective. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that electronic stability control, which automatically detects the loss of traction, saved 2,202 lives between 2008 and 2010.
But the number of choices, features and options is extensive and growing. According to an article in Automotive News, “In many ways, the hardest part is choosing the features that help drivers and also are easy to use. It’s not easy to keep from overloading drivers with features.”
Ultimately, all the safety equipment in the world cannot take the place of a good driver who drives defensively and knows as much as possible about the operating systems in the vehicle that he or she is driving. However, businesses with a fleet of vehicles can easily become overwhelmed by the variety of options and choices in safety features and equipment and end up paying too much or not getting the features that offer the best protection. Working with a professional fleet management company that understands your business needs and objectives can help choose the features that will benefit your business while avoiding “bells and whistles.”
Bryan St. Eve is a Director for Enterprise Fleet Management in Louisville and can be reached at 502-458-3100 ext. 279. He is supported by an experienced team of veteran mechanics and accredited Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technicians to serve the fleet maintenance needs of businesses with mid-size fleets. In addition to maintenance management programs, Enterprise’s services include vehicle acquisition, fuel management and insurance programs, as well as vehicle registration, reporting and remarketing. Visit the company’s web site at www.efleets.com or call toll free 1-877-23-FLEET.