Fleet driver safety, reducing fuel consumption and lowering maintenance costs are the top priorities for fleet managers in the next 12-18 months, according to a recent PHH Arval survey.

While the survey addressed many areas, the results below summarize fleet managers' top concerns:

Driver Safety and Accidents

According to the survey, 86% of respondent companies have a documented fleet safety/accident policy as part of their safety program.

Additionally, the survey found that 31% have driver safety kits, 25% have a fleet safety committee and 16% use in-vehicle technology to monitor driver behavior.

Of those surveyed, 8% have no safety program at all.

Nearly one quarter of respondents have no safety training program. Others offer safety training programs on the Web (56%) or by video/CD/DVD (33%).

Fuel and Maintenance

During the past 12-18 months, fleet managers have used communications (58%) to increase driver awareness of fuel consumption behavior and decrease costs. Additionally, they are monitoring fuel purchases more closely (55%), have added more fuel-efficient vehicles (45%) and tightened fuel card controls or policies (22%).

Only 15% of survey respondents indicated no effort to manage fuel costs.

To control maintenance cost, 79% of fleet managers impose a driver's authorization limit on maintenance purchases.

Personal Use

Of the companies, 83% permit personal use of a portion of the vehicles in their fleet, while 17% do not permit personal use of any vehicles. According to the survey, most often it is the assigned driver (97%) and the driver's spouse or partner (63%) who is permitted to operate a fleet vehicle for personal use.

Of those companies permitting personal use, 51% impute the benefit as income. About a third (32%) apply a fixed-rate chargeback to drivers, and 10% apply a cents-per-mile chargeback. Fixed-rate chargebacks varied greatly among survey respondents, but a cluster fell in the range of $98 to $130 per month.

About the survey

The survey of more than 100 companies, which is conducted periodically by PHH Arval, took place in the Fall of 2011 and represents 25 industries. Respondents' fleets primarily operate sedans (35%), followed by pickups or cargo vans (29%) and SUVs or crossovers (18%). Additionally, 75 % of respondents indicated that their fleet is centrally managed.

PHH Arval shared the results last Friday to NAFA Fleet Management Association members during a presentation titled "Policy Survey Results from 100 Companies."