For many years, there have been concerns raised stating that the current lease accounting model is inadequate, as it allows lessees to structure lease transactions to achieve off-balance sheet financing. Under current Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), operating leases have effectively received off-balance sheet treatment, but the Financial Accounting Standards Board lease accounting standard that was issued in early 2016 has changed that.

The FASB’s Accounting Standards Update (ASU) will require lessees to recognize most leases on their balance sheets as leased liabilities with corresponding right-of-use assets. This change will affect a large number of companies, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimating that companies have approximately $2.3 trillion in operating lease commitments.

The primary standard for lease accounting is Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 13 (FAS 13, ASC 842 under FASB’s new coding structure). As part of the new lease accounting standard, FASB retained the FAS 13 (ASC 842) framework for lease classification.

The lessee’s expense accounting is identical to their historical accounting for a Penske operating lease on the income statement. The balance sheet will now include a right-of-use asset and a lease liability, and Penske will provide customers with a right-of-use calculation.

Additionally, although companies will record an operating lease liability on the balance sheet, it will not be classified as debt, which is great news for U.S. companies because debt metrics remain unaffected.

Financial Accounting Standards Facts at a Glance
  • Originally issued in November 1976
  • They are one of approximately 168 accounting standards issued by FASB
  • They establish standards of financial accounting and reporting for leases by lessees and lessors
  • For lessees, a lease is a financing transaction called a capital lease if it meets any one of four specified criteria; if not, it is an operating lease which is treated as a current operating expense (such as rental property)
  • The new changes announced in February 2016 mean operating leases will no longer be offbalance sheet for Penske’s customers
  • The new standards are effective beginning with 2019 financial statements for public companies and 2020 financial statements for private companies
  • Early adoption is allowed

The Benefits of Leases

Operating lease benefits are still in play. Penske believes customers will benefit from an operating lease for all of the traditional reasons, including no residual risk, no obsolescence risk, improved cash flow, budget certainty, and the reduction of risk and volatility.

For GAAP purposes, the lease liability is not considered debt. There will be no impact on debt ratios or loan covenants, and feedback from bankers and rating agencies will not impact a company’s credit or rating.

Increased Transparency

The FASB said the new guidance is intended to improve the financial reporting of leasing transactions and will provide better alignment with international accounting standards.

"The new standard ends one of the largest forms of off-balance sheet accounting and requires more disclosures related to leasing transactions," said FASB Chair Russell Golden.

FASB said the changes were in response to requests from investors and other financial statement users for a more accurate representation of an organization’s leasing activities. They should provide better visibility of operating leases that are not currently on the balance sheet and provide investors across the globe with more transparent, comparable information about lease obligations held by companies.

Compliance Deadlines

The FASB’s ASU 2016-02, Leases, said that for public companies, the new guidance will take effect with their 2019 financial statements; for private companies, with their 2020 financial statements. Early adoption will be permitted for all entities.

In preparation for the new lease accounting standard, companies should begin reviewing their current processes and seek guidance on the application of the FASB rules from their accounting professionals. The experts at Penske Truck Leasing are here to help.

Right of Use Determination

The balance sheet will now include a right-of-use asset and a lease liability, and Penske will provide customers with a right-of-use calculation. For a full-service lease, the ROU amount is calculated as:

  • The Present Value (PV) of Penske’s net fixed lease charge for each vehicle during the lease term
  • PV is calculated using the customer’s borrowing rate
  • If not available, estimated borrowing cost is substituted
  • The net fixed-lease charge equals Penske’s Schedule ‘A’ Fixed-Lease Charge, minus prepaid and service-related costs (maintenance, licenses, personal property taxes, subs, overheads, washes, etc.)
  • The remaining amount is approximately equal to the depreciation and interest portions of the fixed-lease payment
  • This is the same value (i.e., minimum lease payment) used for the FASB 13 90 percent test
  • ROU asset and ROU liability are reduced each month on the customer’s balance sheet

November 2018

Reduce Risk

Operating a vehicle maintenance facility is complex. Truck technology and compliance regulations change rapidly. Qualified maintenance technicians are hard to find and keep. And diagnostics equipment, tooling and inventory are expensive and time-consuming to manage.

To overcome these challenges, a growing number of businesses are turning to a qualified outside maintenance provider. By outsourcing their on-site maintenance facilities to Penske, they reap the benefits of a cost-efficient, in-house maintenance program while mitigating risk.

"We staff with a blend of existing customer associates and Penske personnel. In addition, we bring our culture, processes, technology and training," said Russ Scaramastra, vice president of special equipment services for Penske Truck Leasing.

Effectively Manage Shop Workflow, Inventory and Technology

To better manage fleet expenses, you need greater insight into costs at the vehicle level. Penske provides online tools that aid in the management and analysis of your overall fleet costs.

"With Penske, you get a state-of-the-art fleet maintenance system that captures and stores all repair data for easy reporting," said Scaramastra. "This allows for more informed day-to-day and longer term vehicle lifecycle decisions, such as when to repair or replace vehicles."

Penske's investment in your vehicle maintenance facility also includes upgrades to systems, diagnostic tools and tooling. Diagnostic tools alone can cost an additional $10,000 to $20,000 a year or more. "We ensure technology is brought up to date and remains current," Scaramastra said. "These system updates happen seamlessly, behind the scenes, avoiding any downtime."We also take on the expense of managing inventory. "Penske will purchase your existing usable inventory and by transferring these costs to us, customers can free up capital to fund key strategic initiatives," said Scaramastra.

Maintain Quality Technicians and Training

No fleet can succeed without high-quality, properly trained technicians. But navigating rising labor costs, benefits and training can be a challenge to any business.

Reduce Cost

"When we come into a vehicle maintenance facility to manage it on-site, we'll partner with you on retention and staffing goals. Whether your needs center around improving the skill set of your current team or upgrading your talent pool, Penske will take on the responsibility of HR management," Scaramastra said. "Both current technicians or pending candidates will appreciate Penske's pay scale, benefits program, ongoing training and career advancement opportunities."

All Penske technicians undergo approximately 40 hours of training a year. That training is even more important as onboard diagnostics, autonomous technologies and engine technologies advance. For example, a year from now, Freightliner will have pedestrian detection that will be controlled by sophisticated Doppler radar systems – technology that will be costly and time-consuming for a shop to harness and implement on its own.

Improve Cost-Efficiency and Reduce Risk

Organizations that contract with Penske also save money by conducting repairs on-site reducing the need to send equipment to local vendors. This leads to increased vehicle uptime and reduced costs.

"If you're running your own vehicle maintenance facility, you need to have an inventory of parts, tires and lubricants," Scaramastra said. "As an outsource provider, we manage all of that. We take on the risk of inventory, control and obsolescence."

With greater productivity and an increased emphasis on training, more repairs can take place in-house. This reduces reliance on third parties and dealers, allowing technicians to better prioritize repairs and provide better scheduling control.

Ultimately, private fleets that outsource to Penske experience better maintenance, making their fleet more productive. For example, Scaramastra said he saw one customer reduce its fleet by 15 percent because of greater uptime. "They took trucks out of their fleet because they didn't need them for backup anymore," he said.

August 2017/Updated July 2018

Understanding FSMA compliance is essential if you operate a private fleet in the food transportation industry.

If you operate a private fleet in the food transportation industry, it's time to get more familiar with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FSMA aims to improve safety and prevent spoilage.

Your amount of annual receipts determines how soon you will need to be compliant:

  • More than $27.5 million in annual receipts must comply by April 2017.
  • Less than $27.5 million in annual receipts must comply by April 2018.
  • Less than $500,000 in average annual revenue is exempt.

Benefits of Compliance

Complying with the FSMA protects your private fleet’s brand, reduces reputational risk and limits liability. Private fleets must use equipment that meets the FDA’s standards and show that food products are handled correctly during transit.

Failure to comply can have huge financial costs. If anyone in the supply chain becomes aware of possible temperature control failure or other conditions that may render the food unsafe during transportation, the food cannot be sold or distributed. The costs can add up quickly and in addition, failure to comply with the FSMA is prohibited, subject to injunction and criminal prosecution.

Understand the Rule

While broad, the FSMA includes specific elements devoted strictly to transportation. Under the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule within FSMA, shippers and carriers involved in transporting human and animal food must follow recognized best practices, such as protecting food during transportation, properly refrigerating it and cleaning vehicles between loads. The rule applies to:

  • Foods transported in bulk (such as juice)
  • Packaged foods not fully enclosed by a container (such as fresh produce)
  • Foods that require temperature control for safety

FSMA Includes these Requirements

Vehicles and Transportation Equipment: The design of vehicles and equipment used in transportation operations and the materials used in their manufacture and their workmanship must be “suitable.” Equipment must be “adequately cleanable” to allow the sanitary transport of food. In addition, the rule specifies “vehicles and transportation equipment must be stored in a manner that prevents harborage of pests or becoming contaminated in any other manner that could result in food becoming adulterated.”

Transportation Operations: FSMA defines this as “all activities associated with food transportation that may affect the sanitary condition of food,” subject to certain exceptions. Transportation operations must be conducted “under such conditions and controls necessary” to prevent the food from becoming filthy, putrid, decomposed, or otherwise unfit for food or rendered injurious to health.

Temperature Controls: For food requiring specific temperatures, vehicles and transportation equipment must be equipped, as necessary, to provide adequate temperature control. The FSMA requires shippers and carriers to agree to procedures for monitoring temperatures within the trailer or truck body, when applicable, and private fleets must provide temperature-related documentation.

Written Procedures: Under the rule, carriers must develop and implement written procedures subject to recordkeeping that describe practices for cleaning, sanitizing, and inspecting vehicles and transportation equipment used to transport food. In addition, carriers and shippers must maintain written procedures and records related to equipment cleaning, prior cargoes and temperature control for 12 months.

Information Exchange: The act establishes procedures for exchange of information about prior cargoes, cleaning of transportation equipment, and temperature control between the shipper, carrier and receiver, as appropriate. For example, a carrier transporting bulk nondairy food must ensure vehicles that have previously hauled milk will not introduce allergens into nondairy food.

Training: Under the final rule, private fleets must provide training about potential food safety problems, basic sanitary transportation practices and the responsibilities of the carrier.

Additional Specific Requirements: The FSMA further dictates a number of specific requirements, ranging from pallets to hand washing.

Spec the Right Equipment

Both refrigerated trucks and trailers must be FSMA compliant. Newer, late-model equipment can make this easier. For example, the right trailers, such as those with multi-temp trailer compartments, may help maintain product temperatures.

Staying FSMA compliant also means embracing a proactive preventive maintenance process (PM). It minimizes the risk of breakdowns, which could leave loads sitting and compromise load safety. PM also helps private fleets detect risks that must be addressed before they become a larger problem.

Although the rule provides some flexibility regarding how to track temperatures, private fleets still need to show proper product handling during transit. This can be accomplished using reefer units on trailers that record temperatures, which can be checked manually or by installing on-board, real-time, GPS-enabled temperature tracking devices.

Embrace Track-And-Trace Technology

As part of the FSMA, those within the supply chain must be able to track and trace products in the event of a recall. Utilizing transportation management systems and GPS monitoring can help private fleets pinpoint the exact location of a load if a shipper needs to halt the delivery. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology on pallets also can ensure quick and easy traceability in the event of a food safety crisis.

Educate Employees

If the carrier is responsible for the sanitary conditions during transport operations, then carrier personnel must receive adequate and documented training on sanitary transportation practices. They also need training on awareness of potential food safety problems that may occur during food transportation.

Plan Ahead

No matter the size or compliance date of your private fleet, now is the time to know the FSMA and move toward compliance. Build a game plan. Proactively spec the right equipment. Prepare your employees. Document your procedures. These steps will help you ensure compliance, mitigate your risk and protect your brand reputation that you’ve worked so hard to build in your marketplace.

February 2018 / Updated May 2018

The business world is full of unknowns, but there are several ways leasing can help managers minimize transportation-related risks so they can focus on their core competencies.

Penske Truck Leasing provides a range of services, including helping customers spec the right vehicles and maintaining them throughout the life of the lease. Here are a few of the ways a full-service lease helps companies minimize risk.

Control Costs

Leasing provides a lower upfront capital investment and predictable monthly payments, which ensures there are no surprises that negatively impact your budget. "We've established what the financing costs are so there is no concern on what the long-term costs are going to be," said John Gorey, chief financial officer of Foundation Building Materials and a long-time Penske customer.

Along with greater predictability, leasing provides increased visibility into overall life cycle cost, allowing you to make more informed decisions regarding your future equipment needs. "It is the hidden costs that are hard to measure, but they make a difference," Gorey said. "It is one less thing you have to budget for." Leasing also frees up capital for use in a company's core business.

Improve Safety

As part of an overall transportation solution, Penske provides a comprehensive maintenance approach throughout the term of the lease. A rigorous preventive maintenance program ensures that the equipment is reliable and doing the job it is intended to perform, from the vehicle's in-service date until the end of the lease. That, in turn, helps you attract qualified drivers, promotes your brand, increases customer satisfaction and improves safety.

"The one thing I can feel fairly comfortable with is I'm not having accidents because I have improperly maintained equipment," said Doug Hanby, chief operating officer of United Furniture Industries.

Safety also protects the brand, reduces reputational risk and can limit liability. If you don't have a full-service maintenance operation covering your equipment, you're exposing yourself to potential litigation liabilities. When you have a reputable thirdparty provider maintaining the equipment and documenting every repair, you have something of substance to fall back on.

To ensure your entire fleet is optimized and running safely and efficiently, Penske offers comprehensive maintenance programs for customer-owned vehicles that still have a remaining useful life.

Increase Uptime

If today's high-tech vehicles are not properly maintained, a carrier or private fleet operator runs a higher risk of vehicle breakdowns, incidents or accidents. At a minimum, improper maintenance can result in missed customer deliveries and may tarnish your reputation. If left uncorrected, the consequences can be significant, including reductions in customer loyalty and associated economic drains on cash flow and growth revenue.

Numbers to Know, 2015

2,318,264

Total number of vehicle inspections

3,803,517

Total number of vehicle violations

653,479

Total number of vehicle OOS violations


Source: FMCSA, Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), data snapshot as of January 29, 2016.

In reality, even the best-maintained vehicle may need service or repair while on the road. Penske, through its dedicated, company-owned 24/7 roadside assistance group, provides hands-on experts to communicate with your driver as well as update your management team throughout the process until your driver and equipment are rolling again. In instances where the vehicle is temporarily inoperable, Penske provides a comparable substitute vehicle from its fleet of late-model units to minimize any disruptions to service.

If a replacement vehicle is necessary, the speed of delivery is crucial. "They are always responsive to get us a new substitute tractor," Gorey said, adding that the response time ensures the company is not late for deliveries.

What's more, Gorey pointed out, without the lease, the company would have to maintain backup equipment, which would add cost.

Protect CSA Scores

Over 2 million commercial motor vehicle inspections are conducted every year throughout North America, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported. A well-maintained vehicle minimizes the risk of a violation at a roadside inspection, which helps companies maintain their scores as part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, which calculates fleets' safety ratings and determines which fleets warrant intervention.

Not only is an intervention timeconsuming and potentially costly, a portion of CSA data is public and can be viewed by customers, shippers and potential employees.

CSA scores are becoming more important to drivers as inspections now follow drivers for three years as part of the FMCSA's PreEmployment Screening Program. While a number of violations ultimately come down to the driver's responsibility, some are dependent on the carriers and private fleet operators, which is making some drivers more selective about who they will work for. Private fleet operators with the best maintenance ratings are more likely to attract qualified drivers while simultaneously improving their CSA scores.

Obtain the Correct Equipment

To optimize operations and efficiency, it is important to spec the right vehicle for the application.

Penske Truck Leasing will sit down with you to examine historical data and understand routes, capacity, drivers and freight, ensuring everything is covered. With the facts in hand, Penske works with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to build vehicles for optimal performance and fuel efficiency that meet your exact needs. Penske has the experience and expertise in multiple industries to find the right equipment for the job.

Full-service leasing also provides flexibility in the number of vehicles a company keeps. Whether it's new customers and unexpected growth, or just your busy season, you can easily and cost-effectively supplement your fleet with our rental trucks. Penske lease and contract maintenance customers enjoy discounted rates on Penske truck rentals.

Penske proactively supports you when you experience changes in your operations or increased customer demand.

Stay Compliant

Penske also monitors regulations, which helps ensure the equipment you are running is in compliance with state and federal regulations. "Smog requirements for our older vehicles change every year. They're pretty good at keeping us in the loop if we have to get rid of equipment or transfer it to another state. It helps us keep up with our fleet," Gorey said.

Focus on your Core Competency

If your business is like many others, transportation is not your core focus. Utilizing a lease helps you minimize the amount of time you spend managing and monitoring the transportation side of the business. Let Penske Truck Leasing do what it does best: take care of your fleet.

July 2016 / Updated May 2018

Oil prices are known for their volatility.

Global uncertainty, decisions by OPEC and natural disasters can send prices higher, resulting in spikes at the fuel pump. Even when oil prices are stable, fuel costs vary from week to week and location to location. Fuel can also vary in quality. Purchasing off-spec fuel can result in costly maintenance issues and downtime. What's more, fuel theft can cost carriers thousands of dollars annually.

Penske Truck Leasing's managed fuel services take a multipronged approach that helps fleets ensure the quality and price of the fuel they purchase, optimizes every aspect of their fuel expenses, and reduces the risk of theft. In addition to Penske-owned secure fueling locations, Penske Truck Leasing offers an over-the-road fuel card, bulk and mobile solutions, an alternative fuel card, route optimization and consolidated billing.

Secure Fueling Locations

Penske Truck Leasing offers fuel at 370 Penske locations and provides competitive pricing based on customers' use. Each location features full-service islands and guaranteed year-round consistent fuel quality, and the vast majority offer on-island diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).

Relying on the wrong fuel supplier can be costly. "The cost of repair can be a minimum of $500 if you have to get it towed, spin the filters off and drain the tanks," said Ed Touma, director of energy and fuel supply for Penske Truck Leasing. "It can be the next day before you get on the road, and the driver could run out of hours."

Fuel must meet all industry standards, including pipeline shippers' product specifications for quality control, American Standards of Testing Materials specifications, and state and local special blending or clean air requirements.

Penske regularly monitors diesel fuel and DEF quality at all its locations. Diesel fuel testing occurs monthly. "We test our tanks annually for bacteria, and we put a microbacteria fighter in our underground storage tanks four times a year," Touma said.

We have mitigated many of the risks associated with fueling your fleet by establishing:

  • DEF on 350 fuel islands nationwide — batch tested and highly controlled for quality
  • Refiner-level supply relationships — established relationships in each market ensures supply security
  • Priority customer status — Penske can obtain product in the event of a tight market caused by weather events or other disruptors
  • Theft prevention strategies — only Penske Truck Leasing customers have access to Penske fueling stations, and our full service stations manage all fueling by truck number

Over-the-Road Fuel Card

For on-the-road customers, Penske Truck Leasing offers a proprietary fuel card that's good at more than 100,000 fuel merchant locations nationwide. With the card, fuel pricing ranges from the cash price listed at the pump to a tiered discount based on the size of the fleet. Rebates average about $0.02 per gallon from over 40,000 U.S. merchants.

The card also allows fleets to set up security parameters, such as authorization controls, restrictions on specific fueling times and locations, and spending limits to minimize the risk of fraud.

Route Optimization

To help customers make the most of their fuel spend, Penske Truck Leasing's team will analyze a customer's volume, compare it to posted retail prices and Penske prices on and near the route, estimate the time spent offroute if a driver deviates to find savings, and calculate the total net savings. "We'll take their data from the previous month to say, ‘You could have saved $3,000 if your driver had done this route,'" Touma said.

Bulk and Mobile Fuel Deliveries

Penske Truck Leasing also offers bulk deliveries. For customers with bulk tanks, Penske monitors tank levels, negotiates a competitive fuel price and dispatches deliveries as needed.

Private fleets that prefer to fuel their trucks when they are parked on-site can use Penske Truck Leasing's network of mobile fueling providers.

Penske partners with 4Refuel, a Canada-based provider to serve customers in the Texas market.

In markets where Penske Truck Leasing doesn't have a direct mobile fueling relationship, it has established indirect relationships with mobile fuelers and assists customers in coordinating mobile solutions.

Equipment Specification

Improving fuel economy starts with obtaining the right equipment for the application. By understanding the day-to-day application of the truck, matching the drive train, tires, engine and aerodynamics of the vehicle, and spec'ing the right size truck, fleet managers can improve miles per gallon. Penske has experts who can help managers optimize their fleet and ensure it is comprised of the right trucks.

Price Hedging

To mitigate fuel price risk, Penske Truck Leasing works with customers to hedge fuel prices, thus reducing customers' exposure to volatility and rising fuel costs. "There are ways to buy a financial instrument to protect against the price going up," Touma said, adding that there is a cost associated with hedging. "You have to put money in to get that protection."

Consolidated Billing

With the Penske Truck Leasing fuel network, all billing information is consolidated into one statement and broken down by truck, location and transaction. "If they're buying over the road or at a Penske location, all of that comes on a weekly bill the customer can see," Touma said, adding that alternative fuel comes on a separate bill.

February 2018

If you could invest in something that would save lives and save your company money, would you? Of course you would, and with the continuous evolution of new active safety technologies available on newer trucks, you can.

Multiple studies recently found that active safety systems, which are comprised of video-based technologies and radar systems, can have a significant impact on the health and safety of today’s truck drivers and those sharing the road with them. Specifically, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that furnishing large commercial vehicles with crash-avoidance technology has the potential to prevent up to 63,000 truck-related accidents each year.

Crash Repercussions Go Beyond Immediate Financial Damage

Vehicles involved in accidents create quantifiable costs, such as cargo and vehicle damage, injury expenses, revenue loss due to vehicle downtime, administrative costs, potential for rising insurance premiums and towing costs. But there are significant hidden expenses as well. The less obvious costs may include the potential for lost customers who are impacted by the crash, employee disability costs, legal expenses and reputational risk.

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average costs associated with a commercial truck accident is roughly $59,150. In addition, a 2016 CDC report highlighted that work-related collisions cost U.S. employers $25 billion dollars, which is broken down as $671,000 per death and $65,000 for a non-fatal injury.

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."
—Warren Buffett

With each accident, your brand reputation is on public display. Whether the accident makes the 6 o’clock news or becomes a social media sensation, the opportunity for negative publicity due to a crash increases with each accident. And while the overall ROI of safety technology may be difficult to quantify, comparing the cost of a system to the costs associated with a potential accident may be the best indicator. When you add up the costs, you can see how the reduction of downtime, increase in employee and public safety, reduction of property damage, and reducing the total cost of ownership are more cost-effective approaches to a safety program than hoping an accident doesn’t occur. All of this provides a very clear ROI when investing in safety technology.

Make Safety a Priority

As more and more commercial truck drivers experience technology in their family vehicles, the expectation will be that safety technology crosses over into all vehicles they operate. Failing to adapt your fleet to the latest safety technology may send the wrong message — that safety isn’t a priority at your organization.

Over-the-road vehicles continue to deliver products and services all over the world. Fortunately, with today’s vehicles becoming smarter and safer with the help of advanced technology, the tools to improve driver safety continue to expand as well. Some private fleet operators might hesitate to invest in new technology — but it may be more expensive not to in the long run.

With so much at stake, Penske’s latest trucks and tractors can be equipped with active safety systems. These technologies help to mitigate accident expense and any liability associated with it.

Active Safety Systems in Detail

Active safety systems are comprised of technologies such as lane departure warning systems, electronic stability control, video monitoring systems, automatic braking and air disc brakes. A definition of each function, as well as the potential impact each could have, is detailed below.

Lane Departure Warning System – A lane departure warning system is a mechanism designed to warn the driver when the vehicle begins to move out of its lane (unless a turn signal is on in that direction). According to the AAA study, lane departure warning systems could potentially avert up to 6,372 crashes, prevent 1,342 injuries and eliminate 115 deaths per year.

Electronic Stability Control – Works to minimize rollovers and crashes involving loss of control, which NHTSA said are responsible for 304 fatalities and 2,738 injuries on average each year. If the systems detect a vehicle is reaching its critical stability threshold, the technology kicks in and automatically reduces engine torque, applies the engine brake and activates the necessary wheel-end brakes, which reduces the likelihood of a rollover, jackknife or loss of control.

Video-Based Onboard Safety Systems – Designed to both monitor and improve the driving behavior of truck drivers, video monitoring systems can prevent as many as 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths each year, according to the AAA report.

Automatic Braking – Automatic braking is safety technology that spontaneously activates the vehicle’s brake system when sensors monitor the presence of vehicles ahead and around the vehicle or detect any situation where there’s an impending collision. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, automatic braking, or brake assist, is an integral component of crash avoidance technology. AAA states that automatic braking can prevent up to 5,294 crashes, 2,753 injuries and 55 deaths per year.

Air Disc Brakes – Designed to improve the stopping distance of a vehicle, air disc brakes can prevent up to 2,411 crashes, 1,447 injuries and 37 deaths each year, according to the AAA study.

Penske is, and will continue to be, at the forefront of safety technology, enabling fleets and carriers to operate more efficiently, improving customer service and safeguarding your organization’s reputation and bottom line.

October 2017

Improving safety has many tangible and intangible benefits for a fleet, including decreased costs related to accidents, minimizing losses resulting from fines for safety violations, increased insurance premiums and damage to corporate reputation.

To improve truck safety, managers can take a multipronged approach that starts with spec'ing the right equipment for the job. It continues by ensuring drivers are operating the equipment correctly and fleet managers are properly maintaining the vehicle throughout its life cycle.

Calculating the Cost of Safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that accidents related to trucks and buses cost the economy about $99 billion a year. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average cost of a commercial truck accident is about $59,150. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that costs from a single catastrophic crash can exceed $1 million.

The visible costs of an accident, such as damaged equipment and cargo, are the most obvious. Yet the true costs can run much deeper. "The cost of negative publicity surrounding a crash can be devastating to a company's bottom line and reputation," says Chuck Pagesy, director of safety for Penske Truck Leasing.

Start with Safety in Mind

Penske can work with you to understand your challenges and specify the safety devices to assist in meeting your safety needs, including passive cruise control, collision avoidance systems, rollover protection and disc brakes.

"These are all technologies the customers can opt into, and they provide opportunities to reduce their accident expense and any liability associated with it," Pagesy says. In addition, on-board safety technology continues to improve at a lower cost, which can increase Return on Investment (ROI).

Invest in Drivers

While advanced technology is one tool to help improve safety performance, it can't do it all. The driver is still in control of the vehicle and needs to be executing his or her responsibilities properly.

Penske offers driver training to all full-service lease and contract maintenance customers, with classes at customer locations, Penske Truck Leasing locations and online. Penske Truck Leasing also offers peer management seminars where groups of customers can join together with Penske to discuss emerging regulations and safety issues.

Because there are so many hard and soft costs related to a safety event, the ROI for safety sometimes can be difficult to quantify.

Visible Costs

  • Cargo damage
  • Vehicle damage
  • Injury/medical expenses
  • Loss of revenue
  • Administrative costs
  • Rising insurance premiums
  • Towing and storage costs
  • Loss of vehicle productivity

Hidden Costs

  • Lost customers and sales
  • Employee disability costs
  • Cost to hire and train replacement workers
  • Risk to reputation
  • Public relations costs
  • Legal expenses

Maintain Vehicles

Properly maintaining vehicles through rigorous preventative maintenance (PM) ensures performance, which directly relates to safety. "Every time we do a PM, all safety items are checked," says Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance support at Penske Truck Leasing. "Safety is just as important to us as it is to our customers."

Penske maintains vehicles at and above FMCSA regulations and provides fleet performance metrics to identify and assess risk. Penske also handles licensing and vehicle tax reporting to ensure fleets are compliant, and tracks all aspects of maintenance and repairs.

Safety is Serious Business

Penske takes safety seriously. Implementation of safety recommendations can help reduce costs related to crashes. It also can lead to lower insurance rates, fewer claims and improved reputation. That's why Penske offers important safety programs as part of our core services, with no additional cost to customers.

July 2016