A fleet safety program establishes the policies and procedures that are needed to help ensure a safe work environment for employees. It can also help protect against liability from vehicle accidents.
An effective fleet safety program must be comprehensive, up-to-date and instituted as a part of your company’s safety culture. It should be thorough, reaching each employee who gets behind the wheel, and the commitment to a fleet safety program starting at the top.
Creation of a consistent, sustainable culture of safety throughout an organization – CEO to driver. It is critical to get management commitment and leadership support of the program to help assure that the program is used.
A key component to a corporate safety program is an ongoing driver training system. However, driver training is difficult for fleet managers to get management approval.
“Management doesn’t want guys off the roads for any length of time, online training is time-consuming and, frankly, boring, but we need to provide meaningful training especially post-incident,” said one anonymous fleet manager.
Driver training helps prevent accidents. Through driver training a company is able to standardize processes for communicating safety regulations, effective driving habits and general rules of the road specific to your fleet’s vehicle types.
“Driver and fleet safety is our main challenge. This includes driver training on vehicle, on the road safety program implementation, and vehicle preventive maintenance,” said Joshua Chamuler, director of transportation for ThriftBooks in Seattle.
This challenge was echoed by Wessel of AGCO Corp. “Our challenge with driver safety training is determining the best ways of how to continue to improve driver behavior and ensure safe driving techniques.”
When looking to manage fleet safety and risk, it is important to focus on the fundamentals of safety management. “There is a need for all fleets to spend more time here – to ensure annual (if not semi-annual) MVR runs and associated driver safety training – this is essential to understand what is going on within your fleet and to mitigate risk accordingly,” said Chengary of Merchants Fleet Management.
It is important for HR to carefully screen and select prospective employees who will drive company vehicles. Without safe drivers, no organization is likely to have a good long-term safety record. Establish clear hiring standards and a thorough screening process for anyone who drives on company business.
In addition, there are sophisticated driver assessment programs in the market that can assist in identifying high-risk drivers before an incident occurs.
“Companies can also use technology to help pinpoint at-risk drivers before costly collisions can occur. By continually monitoring MVR infractions, driver risk levels, critical behavior data points from telematics and fuel usage, companies can take immediate action to improve high-risk drivers before incidents ever happen,” said Foursha of ARI.
The use of driver safety measurement tools was cited by other fleet professionals. “Connected car devices allow fleets to measure the driving skills of their drivers. Fleets need to access these tools and eliminate fleet availability for drivers that do not drive safely. Eventually, unsafe driver’s will create larger legal issues for companies and the question will come up in the courts about whether a company should have eliminated a recurring unsafe driver from their fleet when there were tools to weed them out,” said Gold of CARFAX.