By Ed Pierce, Fleet Management Weekly Contributing Editor
September 11, 2022
NETS’ STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Fleet Safety Benchmark Conference Set for October 5th & 6th at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest or with Online Participation
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) annual STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Benchmark Conference brings together global, corporate, government, and non-profit employers’ fleet safety and risk attendees from across the world. Conference participants support more than half-a-million global fleet vehicles, including 80% passenger vehicles, that travel nearly 11 billion miles annually.
According to NETS Executive Director Susan Gillies-Hipp, anyone who is invested in fleet safety and trying to advance road safety will find this conference to be invaluable as the only event focused exclusively on road safety and road safety programs.
Fleet Safety: Today and Tomorrow
“NETS annual conference is the perfect time to learn from experts and road safety advocates about the state of road safety today and tomorrow,” says Susan. The conference is unique in that participants from a variety of industry sectors can share best practices, talk to others who have similar interests, and get the latest information about technology and success stories that can be applied to their own fleets. In addition, the conference is when NETS shares the results of our annual Benchmark report, providing exclusive insight into the comparison of leading road safety programs and the identification of best practices to put into place a cost-effective, integrated, and comprehensive plan to improve road safety performance.”
Because NETS has over 130 member companies, including global organizations, participants can get a broad perspective about real-world road safety issues and opportunities. Says Susan, “Our attendees get questions answered by others going through similar challenges. They also find out about innovative solutions that can impact their own operations. For the first time ever, this year’s conference is a hybrid event allowing both in-person and virtual attendance for those unable to travel. Either type of attendance allows participants to hear from presenters representing leading safety-focused organizations who bring different perspectives, and to ask them follow-up questions specific to their own organization.
Susan highlighted some of this year’s conference keynote speakers:
• “We have a fantastic lineup of speakers and presenters this year for the conference, as we normally do. Starting off the conference, we have Jean Todt, the United Nations Secretary General Special Envoy for Road Safety, who will welcome everyone with a road safety message on behalf of the United Nations.”
• “The Honorable Michael Graham who is a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, will be discussing the future of connected vehicle technology from the NTSB perspective and sharing some case studies with us.”
• “Steven Kiefer, who is the chairman of the Kiefer Foundation, and recently retired from General Motors, will talk with us about distracted driving and why stopping distracted driving matters. He will share his personal story of why he created the Kiefer Foundation and what happened to change his life to get him working in that direction.”
• “Lorraine Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council, will share information about the state of road safety in the US from NSC’s perspective and what the numbers are showing, and what those of us in the private sector can do to make a positive impact on road safety.”
• “Chris Mullen, the Senior Director of Organizational Safety at Aurora, will discuss managing safety for autonomous vehicle development and deployment. She will explain how fleets can begin to safely implement AV technology in their fleet.”
• And finally, closing the conference we’ll hear from Henry Liu, Director of MCity, where we’ll be taking conference attendees on a tour at the end of the week, along with a visit to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI.) The session will provide an overview of Mcity, a public-private research partnership led by the University of Michigan, and it’s one-of-a-kind test environment for leading-edge vehicles and technologies, and how it partners with industry and government to advance mobility innovations that will dramatically improve transportation safety, sustainability, equity and accessibility.
In addition to the expert keynote speakers, the conference will feature a number of NETS sponsor organizations who will be there as exhibitors. Susan notes that “This is a great time to talk with road safety suppliers in person or through our virtual conference platform and find out more about how they can help improve your fleet’s safety through their expertise and the products and services they offer. “We’ll have approximately 15 to 20 NETS sponsor companies available, many of whom will also be presenting and sharing best practice case studies during the conference general sessions.”
All about NETS
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety or NETS is an employer-led organization. All of its member companies are dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and the communities where they live and work. As an organization, members are dedicated to working to reduce traffic crashes both on and off the job. NETS is focused on advancing road safety for all drivers throughout the year.
NETS has products, information and services that can help fleet safety programs to reduce crashes and keep everyone safe. The organization has various websites where one can learn about distracted driving or impaired driving. NETS’ Drive Safely Work Week campaigns impart lots of information that can be shared with employees on different topics, such as backing and parking or impaired driving or other safety concerns.
While more employees are back on the road since COVID, drivers must keep in mind the safe driving imperative. NETS member employers want to remind everyone all the time about the basics, such as avoiding speeding or fatigue, or planning a journey to ensure a safe trip.
NETS works with employees as well as members in the communities to do that. One of the organization’s main deliverables is its STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Benchmark Report.
This exhaustive report comprising data from companies and organizations—large or small, local or global, public or private – permits a comparison of safety programs and resulting crash metrics. Member companies can then compare findings, share what they’ve learned, and reset plans and goals going forward.
Benchmark Program Survey questions and the resulting report look at topics such as “How often does a company conduct training? What types of cell phone policies are in place? How many crashes happen in a year? How do crash rates among similar fleets or in the same industry compare?”
As Susan points out, “If you’re not measuring key metrics in your program, how do you know how you’re performing? You don’t unless you measure it. With NETS benchmark, you can compare your fleet safety program with other leading road safety programs, and find out how your company compares in terms of crash, injury and fatality frequencies, taking into consideration road safety policies, driver training programs, crash review practices, the “greening” of fleets, and more.
Companies Must Measure Safety Progress
“I encourage every company to consider NETS membership. As the quality of our member roster will attest, the best socially-responsible and employee-committed organizations are measuring their road safety progress, and the NETS benchmark report provides the standards for measuring that success and working to improve their fleet safety.
Attending the annual ‘Strength in Numbers’ Fleet Safety Benchmark Conference on October 5th and 6th in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is only 20 minutes from the Detroit airport, is a great way to introduce yourself and your company to NETS!