Fleet management involves multiple duties, from vehicle financing and maintenance to speed and fuel management. But the most important duty by far of a fleet manager is safety. Fleet vehicle accidents are extremely costly to a business—not only does it potentially involve human injuries and mechanical repairs, but also vehicle and driver downtime. Altogether, these things can become a massive financial and legal burden for the company. So how can fleet managers help keep their drivers safe on the road? The following six tips will help:
Tip #1: Create a robust written safety policy
As with many other business practices, having a written policy regarding driver safety and routine behaviors is a must. Your written policy needs to include (but not be limited to) the following:
Responsibilities of drivers and managers
Driver selection and review
What driver training will cover and how it will be carried out
Accident reporting, investigation, and analysis
Required drug and alcohol testing
Vehicle safety inspection, equipment, and use
Having a written policy allows everyone to know what to expect and who is responsible for which tasks. Written policies remind drivers of best practices, meet regulatory policies, and can prevent legal issues that may trip you up later.
Tip #2: Tighten your driver screening processes
Every driver screening process should include four basic elements: pre-screening, core screening, conditional screening, and ongoing screening.
Pre-screening is when you check a potential driver's employment history and other relevant details.
Core screening involves motor vehicle reports, drug and alcohol history, and of course criminal background checks.
Conditional screening includes physical exams and pre-employment drug testing.
Ongoing screenings should involve random drug tests, monthly motor vehicle report monitoring, systematic driving record reviews and regular physical examinations.
A robust, clear, and well-established screening process allows you to track and establish long-term safety, so make sure that your screening processes are absolutely watertight.
Tip #3: Provide thorough driver training
Determine what type of driver training is required for safety and efficiency and ensure that training recurs and includes refresher courses. People learn in different ways and at different rates, and for most learners, refresher courses are necessary to ensure remembrance, compliance, and safety. Don't provide only the most basic trainings for drivers. Besides general driving standards, rules of the road, and typical safety regulations, do your best to anticipate potential issues that your particular fleet might face, based on previous history and safety records, and address those in the training before they come up in real life. Use a mixture of theoretical and practical training, mentoring, and utilization of different teaching styles, as each individual tends to have different strengths in learning styles.
Tip #4: Insist on transparent reporting and investigations
No matter how clear your policy and how rigorous the training, there is still the possibility that accidents and near-misses will occur. When they do, you need to have a system in place for reporting and investigating the incidents so that you may learn from the situation and prevent future, more serious occurrences.
Accident reporting and investigation is the cornerstone of a solid safety program and a thorough, well-thought-out investigation and reporting policy will enable you to enhance your safety program. Make sure your drivers are educated in what to say and do, and how to collect information after an accident or a near-miss. Consider elements such as the type of event, time, location, root cause (for example, mechanical failure or driver exhaustion).
Tip #5: Encourage thorough vehicle maintenance and inspection
Hiring and training strong drivers is only half of the safety equation. The other half is having well-maintained, fully-functional vehicles. Regular vehicle maintenance and inspection is critical to the success and safety of a fleet. Vehicle maintenance and inspections must be part of the daily routine, and include comprehensive and accurate record keeping. Vehicles should be inspected before and after each trip by qualified inspectors who document any repairs needed and completed, and the records must be well organized and maintained for a specific period of time.
Protecting fleet safety is hands down the number one job of a good fleet manager.
Tip #6: Sign up for Ready Fleet
Fleet managers interested in improving fleet safety will be blown away by our solution, Ready Fleet. Ready Fleet offers a variety of helpful services, from fleet management to asset tracking to distracted driving prevention. For example, we offer:
Real time location tracking to help managers monitor and route vehicles in real time and with traffic and location awareness.
Custom alerts and notifications which you can set up for you and your fleet to stay up to date with one another in real time.
Reporting capabilities to help you keep track of fuel usage, fill ups, and idle time. This will allow you to more easily keep vehicle costs under control.
Vehicle health checks will allow you to track battery health, maintenance, fuel levels, engine temperature alerts, and DTCs for all of the vehicles in your fleet.
Driver behavior tracking allows you to identify and proactively correct risky driver behavior patterns, thereby reducing the potential for accidents.
Web and app interfaces allow managers and drivers to use Ready Fleet more efficiently, with access from your iPhone or Android, and on the web.
Through these above tools, fleet managers will be able to keep tabs on all of their drivers, monitoring their safety, driving behavior and habits, and giving relevant feedback in real time. The best way to promote safety is through careful monitoring and communicating, and Ready Fleet makes both monitoring and communication – and thus, safety – easy, efficient, and instantaneous.
Protecting fleet safety is hands down the number one job of a good fleet manager, and involves multiple components and abilities, from people management abilities, to attention to detail; thorough record-keeping habits to strong communication skills. Powerful tools like Ready Fleet can make fleet managers’ lives a lot easier and make their ability to promote fleet safety far more efficient and effective.