Safety has two goals when it comes to a fleet company: save lives and money. A large crash with a fatality costs $3.6 million and one with injuries costs $200,000, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). What exactly is a fleet accident? This includes all truck crashes that lead to death or injury.
These statistics and realities emphasize the importance of a fleet safety program. It also keeps any driver policy for company vehicles in line. This system establishes a fleet safety program policy your drivers can follow to “prevent loss of life, injury, or property damage to all employees and members of the general public,” according to the SafetyInfo Online Safety Library.
It shows how to improve driver safety. What does it take to build an effective and efficient vehicle fleet safety program?
Here are 7 elements that will help define an effective safety program.
1. Management commitment
Your drivers will look to fleet managers and team leaders as examples of driver safety programs for employees. A fleet driver’s definition still rests on what they learn from leadership. They need to see that the company’s leadership is committed to vehicle and driver safety.
Leading by example is a consistent habit seen in effective leadership guides. Leading by example earns the respect of your team and influences them to do the same.
2. Driver selection
Vet and hire drivers who have a good track record. Ensure that their skills, experiences, and principles align with the vision of your company. Screen them thoroughly through the full interview process.
Study their employment history, talk to any references, and investigate drug or alcohol violations. Ask previous employers or check for any motor vehicle reports. Require a pre-employment drug test.
3. Include a driver training program
Run driver safety programs as part of your staff’s training. These establish the policies they need to follow, communicate the guidelines around them, and the system in place to ensure that the fleet safety training program is enforced.
Coaching is also an integral part of your driver training program. You can have this in-person at the beginning and then transition to technology-based feedback from dash cams. You can review the footage with drivers and give constructive tips on how they can improve. This will enhance your fleet safety management program.
4. Understand driver behavior
Your fleet staff’s behavior provides a solid basis for your driver safety programs. The behavior monitoring also accounts for their CSA score, which can be used to constructively review, reward, or criticize the current performance. It provides safety program help that improves their performance. You can individualize the training, noting the specific fleet safety protocols that each driver must keep in mind.
5. Emphasize safe driving practices
Your ongoing safety training can emphasize driving defensively and productively. Remind drivers of the elements of defensive driving such as strong attentiveness to one’s surroundings, maintaining the speed limit, and removing any distractions. Have them continuously review what are the components of driving safely after every trip.
Build your driver safety management system with a scoring program like GreenZone®. It is the industry’s first driver score based on positive behavior, highlighting defensive driving. Fleet safety analytics are the basis for a positive or higher score in the GreenZone®.
Use rewards such as a gift card or extra cash to credit good driver behavior. Your staff is motivated and engaged to perform safer over time.
6. Maintain vehicle maintenance
Establish vehicle maintenance as an integral part of your fleet safety program elements. It’s a key component of driver fleet safety. List clear guidelines drivers can follow to ensure regular vehicle inspection and repair. This will also reinforce the answer to “how does understanding your vehicle components lead to safe driving?” Fleet maintenance policies and procedures also prevent accidents and insurance claims.
7. Focus on fleet safety
There are different ways to implement the types of safety programs. It will all depend on a fleet’s needs, the drivers’ performance, and the long-term goals your company has in mind. A continuous focus on fleet safety keeps your knowledge and practice up to date.
Enroll your staff in webinars or classes to expand on what they know. Fleet managers can join fleet safety organizations to update themselves on the best practices. Continued and sustained interest enables you to prioritize fleet health and safety.
Vehicle safety management begins with a well-established fleet safety program. The elements of a safety program will still depend on your drivers’ and companies’ needs. See how you can implement the practices and applications above with your drivers in mind. The clarity and execution of your fleet safety policy will prevent accidents, save lives, and protect your company.