Management Must Buy into Policies
Since a safety program may mean making fundamental changes to the way drivers are managed, it is imperative to have management buy-in from the start. Everyone throughout the organization needs to know that safety is a strategically important objective from the very top. It's something that can only be articulated by the most senior officer to get the strongest point across to all employee's.
Set Driver Standards
At the same time the safety policy is developed, drivers must become involved. If drivers see safety as a regular part of corporate communications and goals, they are more likely to be knowledgeable about and adhere to the fleet safety policy.
Implementing driver agreements and setting driver standards leaves no grey area for interpretation for the driver. If you practice and preach a lesson enough, it will become second nature.
An easy step to take would be to review drivers MVR reports for every potential hire. Then review hired drivers’ reports at least once a year to ensure they are still being safe.
Be sure to follow proper procedures when ordering MVRs because authorizations must be obtained from drivers. Without authorization, this could lead to a lawsuit for you company.
With technology advancing there are more ways than ever to monitor drivers. We recommended you utilize fleet management software. This software can give data sets, such as:
- the drivers speed
- when the driver is breaking hard
- there GPS location
- fuel use
- when maintenance is needed
An important point to remember is that any time you discover a driver with a possible issue, you must take appropriate action. If you use fleet management software, it will alert the person in charge telling them there has been a violation.
The last thing you want to do is let a potential issue linger. This could cause much more harm to your business than correcting the problem quickly.
Punish the Bad, Reward the Good
It's important to set consequences for bad driving behavior. This needs to be delivered as soon as possible, and good driving needs to be formally recognized.
The most effective programs have a defined plan of action that delivers increasingly more serious consequences for more safety violations. It's easy to set up the framework for punishing bad driving, most importantly follow through on it consistently for all drivers.
On the other hand, giving public recognition and incentives to good drivers reinforces their good behavior. It also demonstrates management’s commitment to safety which will create a standard for others to follow.
Give Drivers Access
Whether a high-risk driver or not, drivers need to have access to their individual driving history data and risk rating.
This information can give them insight on areas they need to improve on. A vital aspect of learning is knowing where you are falling short, so you can make those improvements before getting punished for them. Also without access to this data, your fleet safety plan will not be as effective.
Train, then Train More
Whether a driver needs serious help or just a quick safety refresher, the solution is the same: training. Training is one of the most effective ways to get the safety message across to drivers.
Providing targeted training to high-risk drivers is an effective way to address driver-specific issues. Fleets can use general safety training for their entire fleet if they desire. But for specific regions or divisions that differ they can customize the training to apply to those areas.
Take a Ride Along
We recommend field managers ride along with their drivers at least once a year. This practice guarantees that field managers will be involved in pushing the safety message.
Be sure to use an evaluation form so the manager can effectively give the driver feedback and keep a record of the ride-along. This give you a in person perspective of how drivers are performing which is just as important as looking at the safety data.
While a strong, well-supported safety policy is imperative to avoid accidents the reality is incidents still happen. Learning from and correcting the actions that led to them will help avoid or minimize their severity in the future.
To gauge the risk any driver poses for a fleet, it’s necessary to keep a record of as many different kinds of data points as possible. The basics include MVR violations and accident history, but can also include such items as general safety policy infractions, traffic camera violations, 800-number telephone complaints, and hard braking.
Report the Results
You have taken all this time collecting safety data, now that you have all this data it's important to report the results to your safety program. This way you can compare safety results from past year and see where improvement is needed.
The purpose of having a safety system is to learn from the past and make changes. without documenting results you will have no way to track your positive or negative progress. This also allows you to compare your metrics to a similar company to see where you stand.