As a fleet manager, so much of your job is tied up in safety and getting your team of drivers to follow the proper protocols to reduce accidents, lower liability, and remain cost-effective. But with so many different aspects involved, where do you begin?
How to Keep Your Fleet Safe
Fleet managers are constantly looking for ways to protect their assets – meaning both drivers and vehicles. And while there are a variety of approaches that provide varying results across different industries, some strategies are effective regardless of when or where they’re used.
Let’s explore some different tips you can use to improve fleet safety in your own organization:
1. Vet New Hires
A thorough and systematic hiring process is a necessity. In addition to standard interview questions and background checks, you’ll want to comb through an applicant’s driving history prior to offering a job and onboarding.
Any new hire should have their driving records pulled and analyzed for signs of citations, warnings, tickets, accidents, and other violations. If they’ve worked for another fleet in the past, contact the employer and request their internal records. Most will be happy to share.
2. Train Drivers
No matter how many years of experience a driver has with other companies, you need to invest in your own training. You never know what bad habits a driver has picked up over the years; it’s up to you to ensure they’re on the same page with your protocols and processes.
It’s important to note that training isn’t an isolated investment. In addition to formal training sessions, you also need to leverage ongoing training elements. This includes investing in a variety of training mediums and materials that can be passed around and accessed at any time. For example, including spiral bound manuals in every vehicle for quick reference can help drivers refresh themselves on proper protocols before driving.
3. Choose the Right Vehicles
Vehicles obviously matter from a cost perspective, but it’s also necessary to consider them from a safety point of view. Compromising on safety just to save a few bucks will always come back to bite you down the road.
When choosing vehicles (and upgrading them), consider issues like: Do you need four-wheel drive? Do you need snow tires? What about automatic emergency braking?
4. Use the Right Technology
As you know, there’s a whole host of fleet management technology on the market right now. The key is to drill down and find out which tools and gadgets are going to deliver the most value for you.
Telematics technology, for example, provides real-time insights that allow you to implement tailored plans to change driver behavior and improve safety. It even tells you how fast vehicles are driving, if drivers are accelerating too hard, or braking too harshly. All valuable information for optimizing safety programs!
5. Invest in Preventative Maintenance
Maintenance goes far beyond protecting the value of your vehicles so that you can recoup as much as possible when you trade them in. It has a lot to do with the safety of your drivers.
The right preventative maintenance schedule can ensure things like brakes and tires are in good working condition. This is especially important during periods where inclement weather, such as snow, is likely.
6. Reward Drivers
While it’s smart to have consequences in place for drivers who don’t obey the rules, it’s just as important to reward good behavior.
A driver with an immaculate driving record should be praised for a job well done. There are a number of ways you can do this, some monetary and others verbal. The key is to find out what makes each of your drivers tick so that you can offer rewards that pique their interest and motivate them to observe the rules.
Examples of good rewards include: cash bonuses, gift cards, PTO, awards and recognition, etc.
Are You Doing Everything You Can?
Fleet safety is about more than getting a passing grade or being able to hand over impressive numbers to your boss. Fleet safety is about protecting the lives and well-being of your employees. And what could be more important than that?
Take the tips discussed in this article and find creative ways to implement them into your fleet management. Over time, you’ll keep what works, toss out what doesn’t, and iterate your processes until you’ve reached an impressive level of safety that prioritizes the well-being of all company stakeholders.