Fleet safety is an integral part of good fleet management. Even if you have an entire fleet safety program and policy in place, it’s always important to consider improvements you can make. These improvements may be tips you want to include in your safety policy or tips used to help you form your safety policy.
If you are looking to make improvements to your fleet, safety is one of the best areas to tackle (along with dispatch efficiency).
In this article, we will outline on-the-job safety tips for fleets of all sizes. Included are tips for your fleet safety plan and tips for better fleet driving.
Tips for Your Fleet Safety Plan
Get Everyone On Board
When everyone from leadership to drivers is on board with changes, the process of implementing those changes goes so much smoother.
Make sure to focus on communication. If everyone knows about the policy well in advance, and are continuously reminded until the deadline for full application, they are less taken-aback, and it will feel less abrupt. This will also give members a chance to speak up about questions or concerns
Fleets should also allow drivers to speak up. Give them a chance to address these new policy changes and what these changes mean for them. Allow the leadership team of each department to explain this to their employees and be the point of contact.
Establish Safe Driving Policies
Include policies in your safety plan that promote safer driving. Establishing this guideline from the beginning makes it easier to enforce safe driving practices and discuss infractions with drivers when they do not follow guidelines. Drivers respond better and have less room to debate when they know the policy from the beginning.
Banning cellphone use entirely while in motion is a great policy for ensuring safety, but it’s hard to enforce. Luckily for fleets, Azuga DriveSafe disables phones while vehicles are in motion.
Azuga also allows managers to see the location of drivers at any point in time, so it’s less necessary to reach out to drivers to check-in. Managers can also send messages to drivers directly through the app.
Fleets should establish set times or areas that drivers can make their calls in. When drivers know their routes ahead of time, along with where they’ll need to stop for fuel and for rest in compliance with HOS rules, they can determine when they can use their phones ahead of time.
This reduces the random usage of phones and distractions.
Route optimization through Azuga provides drivers with the most efficient route in advance, along with information on rest areas and fuel points. Integrating fuel cards into route planning further helps drivers pinpoint when and where they can stop and use their phones.
Fleets should establish policies for driver training at the start of employment and throughout employment. They should also review previous training and employment records.
Fleets can use driver behavior monitoring features to monitor each individual driver and adjust training to their specific needs. This ensures drivers are aware of this monitoring and encourages compliance by providing benefits to the driver such as incentives, a safer working environment, and greater safety on the road.
Managers should add drivers’ scores and performance metrics into their regular employee evaluations.
Have Both Penalties and Rewards
If you have policies on monitoring your drivers and their compliance with rules, you should also have incentives for doing so. This not only encourages their compliance, but it also eases the minds of the employees who might just feel like they’re being watched and micromanaged.
Ensure that drivers understand why the safety and monitoring policies are in place. They should understand the effects on the company and themselves and should know the benefits of safer driving.
You want to establish consequences for not following the policies as well. Setting these ahead of time is much easier than coming up with them later. Employees are less likely to adhere to the rules if they feel they’re being unfairly treated. Setting up the guidelines assures drivers that all employees receive the same punishment for the same negative behavior.
Keep Vehicles Well Maintained
When vehicles run smoothly and efficiently, they’re less of a risk to driver and fleet safety. A great way to keep vehicles well maintained is to implement a maintenance schedule.
You need your drivers and staff to know which technology will be implemented and how. Explain to them the reasoning behind the technology and the benefits they’ll receive from it.
Also, be sure to encourage the use of coaching tech and put policies in place on the use of this technology and how it applies to their working environment.
Tips for Better Fleet Driving
Use Rest Stops
Encourage drivers to use rest stops for phone calls, drowsiness, food, etc. Drowsy driving is the result of nearly 328,000 accidents every year.
A good safe driving policy for employees is for drivers to pre-plan their route for rest stops and other breaks. Route optimization and fuel card integration helps drivers know their route, when they’ll need to refuel and where they can do so, along with good places for them to rest. ELD’s give you insight into where HOS violations are most common, which can help you fix those issues.
Provide Safe Driving Tips
Educate your drivers. Make sure they know everything there is to know about driving safely. Provide safe driving tips and information such as:
- Wearing a seat belt saves lives
- Tips for driving in bad weather (like winter driving)
- Tips for defensive driving rather than aggressive driving
- Safe following limits
- Distracted driving statistics
- There are many distractions that drivers may not realize are taking their attention away from the road
Prepare all Paperwork in Advance
Fleets should ensure that drivers have all of their paperwork in one place within their cab including the information needed for inspections, the information needed by police if they’re pulled over, and vehicle information. In addition, drivers should have ready access to driver information in the event that they’re in an accident
Make All Vehicle Adjustments Before Moving
Have drivers set all adjustments before they begin to drive including temperature, GPS, sound systems, mirrors, and seats.
Fleets should encourage drivers not to multitask. This includes eating! Encourage them to stop if they need to do something other than driving.
Fleet safety is a priority for top fleets. Having a solid safe driving policy for employees can save fleets from expensive accidents and lawsuits.
In this article, we outlined six tips for your fleet safety plan and six tips for better fleet driving.
If your fleet wants to incorporate bleeding-edge safety technology into your vehicles, check out Azuga fleet management software.