In the last 25 years, June has been the month for national safety awareness of the National Safety Council. The month is observed to emphasize the importance of safety in the workplace. Safety concerns have become especially crucial since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from the alarming number of 5,333 fatal workplace injuries in 2019, companies need to prevent deaths and accidents as remote workers return to the field.
The year 2019 also had 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses from private industry employers. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that the total number of injuries per 100 full-time workers hasn’t changed, according to their November 4, 2020 report. The numbers need to significantly improve to assure returning remote workers and field staff such as fleet drivers their safety.
National Safety Month brings awareness and action into the importance of maintaining safety in the workplace. For fleet companies, safety matters both inside and outside their vehicles as proper driving will protect lives. This article hopes to inspire and support our community in maintaining and creating safer roads, especially with more vehicles coming in as the economy reopens. For more information on National Safety Month, check out the NSC’s page on the celebration. This includes the weekly topics your company can cover among staff to get the conversation going.
Here are our tips on maintaining safety on the road.
How to Maintain Safety
Build trust through transparency
Trust sets a solid foundation for your fleet company, the managers’ relationship with drivers, and your fleet safety program. Without trust, you won’t be able to maintain a strong safety culture among your drivers. And trust is more important now than ever as workers return from the pandemic. They are aware that their health and well-being are at stake as we all enter the new normal. Thankfully, you can gain and build their trust by emphasizing how you are ensuring the fleet driver’s safety.
For example, dash cam technology is both the fleet and drivers’ partner in ensuring road safety. It records footage and captures data that can prevent fatal accidents. However, many of your drivers may be hesitant. Starting the conversation on how you will use the dash cam will help set the foundations for your fleet vehicle’s trust and safety:
- Be transparent about using the dash cams. Your drivers need to know why these are being used to gain their trust. Set the why in context according to the fleet company’s goals and guidelines. This way, they get a detailed explanation behind the purpose of using dash cams, such as to reduce unsafe events, help exonerate them during accidents, and improve their CSA scores.
- Be clear about how it works. The fear around dash cams primarily comes from not knowing how the technology works. Show your drivers how the cameras will help predict events and protect them from accidents. Guide them through the process of how the videos are stored and who will view them.
- Ask for feedback. Trust is a two-way conversation. Gather your staff’s thoughts on dash cam use and see how you can adjust its rollout accordingly.
- Answer the question, “what’s in it for them?” Safety is a top concern, and you can emphasize how much accidents will decrease using the predictive ability of dashcam technology. You can also show how captured footage will protect them in case of a non-fault accident.
All these conversational tips lead your fleet drivers to trust the use of forward-facing and in-cab camera systems. The foundation built on transparency, communication, listening, and feedback assures your drivers that they are valued members of the company. Dash cam technologies like Netradyne are your partner in giving company stakeholders and staff the peace of mind of everyone’s safety.
If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s that prevention is better than cure. The same can be said about road safety. With a preventive system in place, your fleet drivers also save thousands of lives while they’re on the road. In 2019 alone, the US had 33,244 fatal motor vehicle crashes. There were also 36,096 deaths that resulted in 11 deaths per 100,000 people. Preventing acts such as distracted driving, speeding, and rolling stops will help in reducing the chances of vehicle deaths and accidents.
Distracted driving acts such as texting, eating, or glancing at your GPS while driving may seem harmless. But the CDC reports that 8 people in the US are killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. Rolling stops are another dangerous act that drivers fall into. According to the Federal Highway Administration, “more than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.” If a commercial vehicle ends up doing a rolling stop at an intersection, they are likely to injure other drivers on the road.
Netradyne’s technology can prevent these incidents. The data gathering system from inside and outside the vehicle informs in-cab alerts on what the driver needs to do or must avoid. The alerts also inform drivers of their mistakes in real-time so that they don’t repeat common mistakes like distracted driving or rolling stops in the future.
Both drivers and fleet managers are informed of safety events such as harsh braking or swerving, incorporating more accountability and transparency between the two parties. Should a major incident occur, the dash cams capture the complete sequence of events and provide an objective basis for the feedback given to improve the drivers’ performance.
All this evidence helps train your drivers and provides them concrete ways to proactively prevent bad habits based on their performance.
Recognize positive driving behavior
Your fleet safety program rests on the happiness of your drivers. When they feel secure and affirmed in their jobs, they are more likely to initiate and continue good driving habits. As a result, your commercial vehicle and other drivers on the road stay safe. Use positive reinforcement and rewards to sustain your fleet drivers’ happiness at work. According to this Harvard Business Review article, positive acknowledgment “may be more effective at motivating action than threatening poor performance with a demotion or pay cut.”
Netradyne’s Driveri is the only technology solution that uses positive behavior. Unlike other dashcam solutions, the focus is on safe behavior such as compliant driving, correct following distance, and stop sign compliance. By seeing their good points listed and recognized, you’ll boost driver morale, and assure them that dash cams are a safety tool that benefits them too. The positive behavior also adds up to a GreenZone Score you can use as a basis for recognition and rewards. With objective, positive-based feedback, your drivers are likely to stay longer.
Apart from commending and rewarding positive behavior, it is also important to show your drivers they are valued. Announce the top performing staff in company emails. Create special messages from management that inspire and point out the positive behavior of your employees. Having managers who use positive reinforcement, recognition, and reward will influence drivers to consistently drive defensively.
As Karen Smerchek, president of Veriha Trucking advises, “It’s important to stay disciplined with coaching, build relationships with drivers, and provide positive recognition. It’s like a bank account—you can’t make a withdrawal unless you have sufficient deposits.”
National safety awareness month reminds us how important it is for commercial drivers and fleet companies to prevent accidents on the road. With complete transparency and trust, prevention-based strategies, and positive reinforcement, your business can do its part in reducing fatal injuries and deaths. These are just some of the ways to maintain safety. Feel free to incorporate your methods and see what your drivers can suggest.
Netradyne is here to help you communicate positively, prevent bad driving habits, and improve driver performance using our technology. Contact us today to learn more about our proactive ways of maintaining safety.
Your company can also take part in the NSC’s 25th-anniversary celebration of national safety month. Nominate your best driver as a safety hero or someone who inspires others to be safe with a donation to the NSC. This donation recognizes your staff’s efforts while also contributing to NSC’s mission to save more lives in the workplace.
Learn more about safety driving strategies on our blog.