June 16, 2021
Better Driver Safety: 5 Tactics You May Not Have Tried Yet
It doesn’t matter what type of industry your organization is part of; very few things occupy the minds of fleet managers as often as driver safety.
As a fleet manager, ensuring driver safety is a crucial part of the job. It requires a dedicated and disciplined approach to implementing best practices. But as most fleet managers quickly realize when establishing their fleet for success, designing new safety practices for the fleet and actively enforcing those standards are two very different things.
So what are some ways you as a fleet manager can implement new safety standards while ensuring regular compliance across your fleet? Here are five driver safety tactics you can implement that you may not have tried yet.
Specify Vehicles and Drivers Safety
Ensuring better safety standards in your fleet begins before your drivers ever turn on the engine and hit the road. Often fleet vehicles can be under-specified for the jobs they are required to perform. This is especially the case when considering the number of miles they are driven, the quality of their tires and braking systems, and their overall level of safety when operating in adverse weather conditions. Fleet managers should take special note of these features when sourcing their vehicles and ensure they’re choosing the right tools and equipment for the job at hand.
As crucial as specifying their vehicles properly, fleet managers should be putting the same due diligence into their drivers. Fleet managers must build a reliable team of drivers who understand the importance of keeping themselves safe. In addition, fleet managers should carefully vet their drivers’ employment history while verifying their driving records to ensure they are the right fit for the organization.
Develop Policies and Implement Ongoing Safety Training Schedules
Tackling fleet safety can be an intimidating undertaking. However, taking the time to establish and document incremental goals and milestones intended to improve the operations of your fleet will go a long way.
Fleet managers should take the time to identify all critical areas of fleet safety and current potential gaps in compliance and begin documenting new policies and procedures designed to enforce better standards with drivers.
Once new or updated policies have been properly documented, they can be used as part of new employee onboarding cycles and ongoing training programs. This will help ensure that fleet safety becomes a more significant part of the company culture, making these standards easier to adopt and enforce.
Create Safety Incentive Programs
Incentive programs are a great way to get your drivers excited and can encourage long-term behavior modification.
When most fleet managers think about fleet safety enforcement and the tactics typically used to drive better adoption across the fleet, they often focus on the adverse side effects of falling into non-compliance. This is for good reason, as personal safety is a primary consideration. Failing to follow proper precautions could lead to severe injury or worse for all drivers.
However, while many fleet managers may focus their efforts around using negative reinforcement tactics. This includes taking disciplinary action when these safety standards are broken. However, there are many benefits to be gained by utilizing positive reinforcement.
One way that fleet managers can incorporate positive reinforcement in their safety efforts is by establishing a safety incentive program. This can be accomplished by maintaining driver scorecards that are monitored and reviewed. Depending on the overall performance of the driver, safety bonuses, gift cards, additional vacation time, or other monetary rewards can be offered. This is a great way to encourage drivers to check their actions while on the road and show all employees how important fleet safety is to the organization.
Utilize Fleet Monitoring Technology
While fleet managers will continue to explain safety to their drivers, the fact is, when on the road, it’s up to the drivers to follow those standards. Lack of visibility can make it challenging to know whether or not your fleet safety standards and best practices are being followed on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, it’s often not until an accident or safety incident occurs before fleet managers spot gaps in their driver’s compliance.
By utilizing fleet management technology, however, fleet managers have the tools at their disposal to get better control over how their drivers perform while out in the field. Fleet management solutions like Derive VQ Safety remove the need for driver behavior modifications by leveraging software optimizations in each vehicle to actively improve vehicle safety through an easy-to-use platform. Using Derive VQ Safety, fleet managers can implement cell blocking rules, vehicle speed governing, seatbelt compliance, and other vehicle operating criteria. This actively enforces better driver safety across their entire fleet.
Establish Benchmarks and Track Safety Metrics
Building a long-term safety plan for your fleet isn’t without its challenges. For example, you may find those specific standards you try to put in place over time may not be as effective as you would have wanted. While other tactics have worked better. This is OK and isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re moving in the wrong direction. However, to know what tactics are working for your organization and which aren’t, it’s essential to track your progress.
Tracking safety metrics and benchmarking the success rate of your initiatives is a crucial way to determine whether or not your tactics are working as is or if you need changes in a particular area. Fleet management solutions are a great way to benchmark how your drivers adapt to the safety standards you’ve implemented and provide the high-level reporting you need in this area to push for better compliance if and when necessary.
Achieving better driver safety across your fleet isn’t an overnight process. It takes a disciplined approach to policy documentation and enforcement, following best hiring practices, and creating a sustainable platform for ongoing safety training. However, by following these suggested tactics and relying on the right tools and solutions, you’ll be on your way to building a safer, more reliable fleet.