Fleet vehicle accidents can significantly impact a business’s finances and operations. The average cost of loss associated with fleet vehicle accidents is about $70,000, twice the cost of an average workplace injury. These accidents can also lead to lawsuits, vehicle downtime, negative press, and in worse cases, immediate business closure.
Without an effective fleet safety solution in place, you’ll be putting your employees’ safety and your business’s longevity at risk. Having one guarantees a safe working environment for employees and protects your business from liabilities and negative branding.
Listed below are five key elements of an effective fleet safety program. Ensure that your program carries all of these elements.
1. Hire Safe Drivers
Creating an effective fleet safety program should start with a flawless driver recruitment process. You should exert time and effort to screen and choose drivers carefully. The rationale here is to create a reliable team of skilled drivers who genuinely understand the importance of fleet safety and prioritise it 24/7.
When selecting drivers to join your business, pay attention to their alcohol or drug violation history, employment history, motor vehicle reports, and pre-employment drug testing records.
Having an effective driver recruitment process improves driver retention rates. By choosing drivers who have the same vision as your business, you’ll save plenty of resources from hiring and training new drivers again in the future.
2. Implement a Driver Training Program
After assembling a team of safe and experienced drivers, it’s now time to train them. Even if these drivers have been in the industry for years, it’s still important to teach them your company’s standardised processes (as they might have followed different processes in the past) and refresh their knowledge of road safety.
Ideally, the driver training program should cover the following topics:
- Backing and docking
- Defensive driving
- Driver distractions
- Fuel management
- Rear-end collision avoidance
- Space management
Providing training to your drivers will make them feel valued and appreciated. As a result, your newly hired drivers will have the motivation to protect the company name and the community at large.
3. Encourage Safe Driving Practices
Creating an effective fleet safety program isn’t a one-time stint — it requires continuous and active participation from all drivers. This is the biggest reason why it’s vital to remind and encourage drivers to consistently follow safe driving practices.
Using a performance-based compensation or reward system is an effective tool to motivate drivers. With this system, you can give monetary rewards (like bonuses) or non-monetary rewards (like additional vacation leave) to drivers who follow safe driving practices.
A performance-based compensation system encourages a safe and motivating work environment. It also boosts the morale and happiness of your drivers.
4. Vehicle Maintenance
Vehicle maintenance is crucial in an effective fleet safety program. It’ll be challenging for drivers to stay safe on the road if their vehicles aren’t in tip-top condition.
Prioritise routine vehicle inspections to prevent breakdowns on the road. Regular inspections also reduce the costs of replacements and repairs, extend the lifespan of your vehicles, and guarantee the safety of your drivers.
The vehicle inspection process should at least include the following:
- Changing the engine oil and filter
- Checking and changing the transmission fluid
- Checking the cooling system
- Inspecting the fuel system
- Inspecting transmission mounts
- Performing regular tune-ups
Most importantly, don’t forget to make routine inspection data accessible to all of your drivers. Information is power and knowing the condition of the vehicles will help your drivers do their jobs better and encourage teams to work together.
5. Continued Focus on Fleet Safety
The importance of fleet safety should regularly be reiterated to all of your drivers. As mentioned, having a program and informing your drivers about it once doesn’t warrant results.
Start by sharing daily, weekly, or monthly safety tips with your drivers through emails. You can also send them to safety conferences and workshops to reinforce the importance of safety in their line of work. If your resources allow it, initiate programs that highlight the safest driver of the month to encourage other drivers.
Sharing important fleet safety metrics with your drivers, safety officers, and fleet managers daily is also beneficial. Taking this route ensures that everyone in the workplace is on the same page regarding maintaining fleet vehicle safety.
The road to improving fleet safety begins with an effective fleet safety program. Creating and implementing one requires resources, but it’s a worthy investment that’ll save you money in the long run, avoid expensive lawsuits, and ensure your business’s smooth operations.
An effective fleet safety program is a multifaceted approach that requires commitment, resources, and ongoing diligence. By implementing these five key elements – comprehensive driver training, regular vehicle maintenance, telematics and monitoring systems, safety policies and procedures, and incident reporting and analysis – organisations can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and create a safer environment for both their drivers and the public.
Investing in fleet safety not only saves lives but also protects your company’s reputation, reduces insurance costs, and enhances operational efficiency. By prioritising safety, your organisation can navigate the challenges of the road with confidence and responsibility, ultimately ensuring long-term success in the highly competitive world of fleet management.