NUCA Provides Valuable Fleet Safety Benefit

Sat January 24, 2004 - West Edition

The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) has partnered with SafetyFirst, a provider of fleet safety services and training, to offer its members an effective program for improving fleet safety and reducing insurance premiums and repair costs.

The program centers around stickers placed prominently on fleet vehicles. These stickers encourage motorists to call a toll-free number to report any driving behavior they might witness, either with complaints or commendations.

NUCA members can subscribe to the service at a reduced rate. Trailers can be added to the program for a small fee. This fee gets the subscriber a total fleet safety program, complete with monthly training materials.

The system works like this: A highly-visible decal is affixed to the rear of each commercial vehicle with a unique identification number. Motorists who witness exceptional behaviors, either positive or negative, call a toll-free number to report their observations. SafetyFirst’s call center staff screens for accuracy and validity by confirming vehicle ID and details about the incident.

The reports, along with pertinent safety bulletins, are sent to the fleet manager for investigation and followup with the affected driver. The report is discussed with the affected driver. SafetyFirst provides the fleet manager with safety tips that relate to the specific actions taken by the driver and how they can be corrected in the future.

Additional intervention may be scheduled by the fleet manager (for example, refresher training). The fleet manager is provided with trend reports monthly.

In addition, a monthly training package is delivered via e-mail to subscribers for use with their drivers. This program emphasizes proper driving techniques to avoid specific accident situations. It is intended to supplement other fleet safety training programs.

This program has been used by NUCA contractor L.D. Alexander, safety director for RMCI Inc. in Albuquerque, NM.

“We started with the SafetyFirst program two years ago,” he said. “We had between five to seven accidents on the books at any one time, out of a fleet of 77 rubber-tire vehicles. Six months into the program, we had zero accidents. A year later, we still had zero accidents. I couldn’t believe it. We haven’t had an accident since we started the program. There was a lot of opposition in the company to starting this program, but I’m a firm believer in its effectiveness. I estimate we’ve saved $25,000 to $40,000 per year in repair costs alone.”

Based in Arlington, VA, NUCA consists of 44 chapters of local underground utility construction contractors and suppliers throughout the United States.

For more information, call 703/358-9306 or visit