When you’re looking to improve your fleet’s safety, the first step you need to take is implementing a fleet safety program. We’ve previously discussed fleet safety programs on this blog and gone over the basics of how to create one. Creating a safety program is challenging because it needs to cover all of your bases, and it is difficult to know there’s a gap until a safety issue has occurred. That’s why we’re going to dive deeper into what your safety program should include, so you can rest assured that you are fully covered when your safety program is complete.
No. 1: Written Policies and Procedures
This may seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious gets overlooked when we focus on the minute details. You must ensure that your safety policy is written out and approved by your top executives, then shared with all of your drivers. Your drivers should then acknowledge this agreement in writing. Make sure that these policies are easy for them to access. You can post them on your internal website or hang them in the office where they’re easily accessible. You can even link to them in your internal email communications. As long as your employees know where the policies are when they need them, they will know what is expected of them and be able to abide by your standards.
No. 2: Commitment from Management
If everyone isn’t in agreement, a fleet safety program is meaningless. Make sure everyone agrees on your policies and procedures, from top executives to lower managers. It may be easiest to assign fleet safety responsibility to one person so information doesn’t get twisted up in lines of communication. This role is often called the “fleet safety manager,” and they are responsible for ensuring internal accountability for safety.
No. 3: Driver Hiring Process
Hiring the correct drivers is the first step in ensuring that you have a safe and effective team. You must ensure that your policy outlines steps for screening potential drivers for safety. Some points to consider when screening drivers may include the following:
- Verifying driver certification
- Pre-employment drug testing
- Physical exams
- Conducting background checks
- Checking MVRs
- Road and written driving tests
- Validating past employment history and safety records
Your legal staff can ensure that your background check process complies with the background check laws in your state.
No. 4: Driver Training Program
Once you hire drivers, you need to ensure that you train them properly. And driver training doesn’t stop once they’re hired. Consistent training is crucial for all employees, from supervisors to drivers. You can use telematics and other technology to pinpoint a driver’s weak spots and use that information as a focus for your training.
No. 5: Driver Identification
You should always know who is behind the wheel of your vehicles and what vehicles your drivers are using. For example, sometimes drivers will use rental or personal vehicles for business reasons. And sometimes, drivers will use business vehicles for personal reasons outside of hours. Ensure you always know what’s happening with your vehicles and who is behind the wheel.
No. 6: Operator Safety Guidelines
You should have specific policies addressing major safety concerns such as distracted driving, seatbelts, and defensive driving. When it comes to long-haul trucking, in particular, you will want to focus on fatigue risk management. Another increasingly prevalent element is the use of cell phones on the road; it is crucial to have a policy surrounding cell phone use behind the wheel.
No. 7: Fleet Safety Technology
You will need to harness the use of various fleet technology solutions in tandem with your fleet safety program. Some technology solutions you may use include dashcams, telematics, and route optimization software. For example, you can use AI dashcams to track driver behavior in the cab and receive alerts whenever a driver is using their cell phone or showing signs of fatigue.
No. 8: Accident Response Plan
No matter how careful you are, an accident can still happen. You and your drivers must be prepared if it does. Your plan should outline procedures for the following concerns:
- Medical care (if applicable)
- Accident investigation and reporting
- Communicating the event
- Recovery and return
- Preventative measures
No. 9: Preventative Maintenance
Part of keeping your fleet safe involves keeping your vehicles well-maintained. You should always have preventative maintenance as part of your safety plan. Fleet maintenance software can provide maintenance alerts that tell you not only when a part needs repairs but also when it’s time for your vehicle’s routine maintenance. Learn more about creating a maintenance plan in our blog article: “How to Build a Fleet Maintenance Plan and Checklist.”
No. 10: Fleet Safety Analytics
Data is one of the most valuable assets you can have. With fleet management software, you can obtain information on your drivers’ safety performance and see where you are doing well and where you need to improve. You can see instances of speeding, hard braking, harsh cornering, and more, then make decisions regarding how to move forward with your training. Regularly looking at your fleet data should be part of your fleet safety program.
Pair Your Fleet Safety Program with the Right Technology
Your fleet safety program is only as strong as the technology that supports it. That’s why Azuga works hard to create robust fleet management software that covers your fleet’s needs, from dashcams to driver rewards to fleet maintenance. Reach out to one of our experts and see how we can create a fleet safety program together.