Safety is one of the most important concerns for fleets of all sizes. In case of an accident, fleets have to deal with vehicle and driver downtime. Potential liabilities and a bad reputation are some of the other problems that spring up in case there is an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average cost for a fleet-related accident is $70,000, which is almost 2x the amount of the average workplace injury, i.e., $36,000 per injury.
As you can see, there are several reasons why fleets should invest in a fleet safety program. Here are 6 key elements that an effective fleet safety program should have.
1. Refining the driver recruitment process
An effective fleet safety program begins with the driver recruitment process. You need to screen and select drivers carefully.
The idea is to build a reliable and safe team of drivers who understand the importance of safety and prioritize it as much as possible.
You should look into the employment history, social security number check, drug/alcohol violation history, motor vehicle reports, and pre-employment drug testing when hiring drivers. An effective driver recruitment process can also help with improving the driver retention rate.
2. Driver training
After assembling a team of safe and reliable drivers, the next step is to train them.
Driver training not only reduces the possibility of road accidents, but it also standardizes processes that your fleet follows for smooth operations. From communication to certain driving habits, a comprehensive driver training program should cover everything.
3. Monitoring driver performance and behavior
Although driver training is essential, your job doesn’t end here. An effective fleet safety program also requires regular monitoring of driver performance and behavior to ensure that drivers are following the fleet safety guidelines and driving safely.
If you are a KeepTruckin ELD user, the easiest way to keep an eye on driver performance and behavior is by monitoring the driver safety scores section in the KeepTruckin Dashboard.
The KeepTruckin ELD automatically monitors drivers for hard braking, excessive acceleration, hard cornering, and speeding, and flags risky driving behavior. All the drivers are ranked according to their performance and safety scores, which makes it easier for fleet and safety managers to identify drivers who require coaching.
Recently, we also analyzed our data to identify the top 10 states with the highest incidents of hard braking, excessive acceleration, and hard cornering. For more information, read top 10 states with the most unsafe driving behaviors.
4. Encouraging safe driving practices
An effective, long-term, and sustainable fleet safety program requires participation from drivers. This is why it is important to encourage safe driving practices.
One of the most effective and motivating tools is to have a performance-based compensation or reward system. Through this system, you can incentivize good performance with a monetary reward (e.g., safety bonuses) or non-monetary reward (e.g., additional vacation time).
With the help of driver scorecards, you can track the performance of drivers overtime, identify drivers with the highest safety scores, and recognize improvement over a period of time. A performance-based compensation system may lead to a more safe, reliable, and motivated work environment, which can also improve the driver retention rate.
5. Vehicle maintenance
In order to create an effective fleet safety program, you also need to make sure that all the vehicles are safe and in perfect condition. A routine inspection process to help prevent unplanned breakdowns is a major component of a fleet safety program.
Your goal should be to catch maintenance issues as early as possible. The KeepTruckin ELD solution automatically monitors fault codes and instantly displays issues on the KeepTruckin Dashboard. Fleet managers can also set instant fault code notifications for real-time alerts.
Since drivers are usually on the road, a mobile-based and customizable vehicle inspection process would also make it more accessible and driver-friendly. Empowering your drivers with an easy way to perform inspections may increase driver participation, which is a critical component of any fleet safety program.
6. A continued focus on safety
Safety isn’t a topic you cover once. The idea of safety needs to be reiterated on a regular basis.
You can start an internal newsletter that highlights important statistics and news regarding fleet safety. You can also share weekly or monthly safety tips with your drivers via emails. Attending safety conferences at least once in a year is another way to reinforce the importance of safety.
The road to improving fleet safety may be a long one, but it starts with a robust fleet safety program. And while some may regard it as an unnecessary expense and an administrative burden, an effective fleet safety program may save your fleet a lot of money in the long run and ensure smooth operations.