Fleet safety is one of the most important concerns for fleets of all types and sizes. In case of an accident, fleets may experience negative press, vehicle downtime, potential lawsuits, and a loss of productivity.
According to the FMCSA, large truck collisions, on average, cost approximately $91,000. In the case of fatalities, the cost jumps up to $3.6 million. This is why safety is a high priority for most fleets.
There are several reasons why fleets should invest in a fleet safety program. It is a long-term investment that pays off in the form of better accountability, increased fleet safety, fewer collisions and potential liabilities, and reduced operational expenditures.
But what does a good fleet safety program look like? If you are unsure how to take your fleet management and operations up a notch with an increased focus on fleet safety, this post will help you.
Here are 6 key elements that an effective fleet safety program should have.
1. Hiring safe drivers
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 skilled drivers who understand the importance of fleet safety and prioritize it as much as possible.
You should look into the employment history, social security number, 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. It does so by ensuring you are hiring drivers who have the same vision, work ethic, and attitudes that most other drivers in your fleet have. According to FreightWaves, the average cost of driver turnover is $11,500 per driver. By refining and improving the driver recruitment process, you can help reduce the operating and recruitment expenses and make a direct impact on the bottom line of the company.
2. A comprehensive driver training program
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 drivers follow for smooth operations. From communication to certain driving habits, a comprehensive driver training program should cover everything.
Driver coaching can be a huge administrative burden, so make sure you’re using the right tools to simplify the driver training process.
3. Monitoring driver performance and behavior
An effective fleet safety program requires regular monitoring of driver performance and driver behavior to ensure that all drivers are following the fleet safety guidelines and driving safely.
If you are a Motive customer, the easiest way to keep an eye on driver performance and behavior is by monitoring the driver safety scores section in the Motive Dashboard.
The Motive fleet management solution automatically monitors drivers for critical safety events, such as hard braking, excessive acceleration, and hard cornering, and flags risky driving behavior.
Based on how many times a driver triggers a critical safety event, the driver’s safety score is calculated. 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.
When analyzing driver safety scores and critical safety events, it is important to take into account the roads they drive on. Certain roads are trickier and may lead to more critical safety events.
We were able to analyze our data and identify the top 10 states with the highest incidents of hard braking, excessive acceleration, and hard cornering.
Moreover, contextual information is also crucial in understanding why a critical safety event was triggered. The new Motive DRIVE score goes deeper into the context of an event, and analyzes additional variables, such as location, weather, vehicle make and model, and more, that can affect driver performance. The end result is a far more accurate measure of what happened on the road and why.
4. Encouraging safe driving practices
An effective, long-term, and sustainable fleet safety program requires active and continuous participation from all drivers. This is why it is important to regularly remind and encourage drivers to follow 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 rewards (e.g., additional vacation time).
With the help of driver scorecards, you can track the performance of drivers over time, 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 motivating work environment, which can also improve the driver retention rate and overall driver happiness.
5. Vehicle maintenance
To create an effective fleet safety program, you also need to make sure that all the vehicles are safe and in good health. Routine vehicle inspections help prevent unplanned vehicle breakdowns and are an important component of an effective and well-oiled fleet safety program.
Catch vehicle maintenance issues as early as possible. A capable fleet management system can automatically monitor fault codes and instantly alert safety officers and drivers in real time.
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 vehicle inspections may increase driver participation, which is a critical part of any fleet safety program.
6. A continued focus on fleet safety
The importance of overall fleet safety needs to be reiterated on a regular basis.
Share weekly or monthly safety tips with your drivers via emails. Attending safety conferences is also another way to reinforce the importance of safety. You can also initiate programs that highlight the safest driver of the month to motivate other drivers.
It’s also recommended to share important fleet safety metrics with your drivers, fleet managers, and safety officers on a regular basis. Seeing improvements and positive trends over time validates the effectiveness of the fleet safety program and encourages everyone to continue improving fleet safety.
An effective fleet safety program is a viable investment
The road to improving fleet safety starts with a robust fleet safety program.
An effective fleet safety program is a viable investment that will save your fleet money in the long run, minimize vehicle breakdowns, avoid potential lawsuits, and ensure smooth operations.
To learn more about safety and fleet safety programs, read the following blog posts:
- Motive features help fleets supercharge safety
- 7 driving safety tips to keep you safe on the road
- 7 ways to create and maintain a culture of safety with your drivers
- Introducing Motive’s Safety Hub
You can also request a free demo of the Motive Smart Dashcam and Motive Fleet Management Software to see how Motive can help improve fleet safety.