Keeping Your Fleet Safe: Tips for Driver Safety

driver-safetyMillions of auto accidents occur every year in the US. If you have a fleet of vehicles, dealing with accidents can be stressful and harmful to your business. We have some tips for improving fleet safety and keeping your drivers safe.

With a specific hiring process, training program, advanced technology, sensible uniforms, and more, you can enhance fleet safety and care for your drivers to avoid accidents and other vehicle-related problems.

Thoroughly Screen All Drivers

One way to ensure fleet safety is to screen drivers thoroughly to ensure you build a trustworthy team. When hiring drivers for your fleet, run background checks and specifically focus on their previous driving records.

Avoid hiring individuals with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, moving violations, traffic violations, or license suspensions. Even if you’re desperate for drivers, wait to hire someone until you find a trustworthy candidate. In addition to avoiding candidates with a history of driving issues, try to find people who are comfortable driving and who do so often.

If evaluating candidates who would drive for long trips.  Avoid people who only drive a few minutes to run errands and may not be able to drive around for hours comfortably. These less experienced drivers may get fatigued and more easily distracted compared to people who have experience in driving for long periods.

If you are screening commercial truck drivers, contact former employers to ask about their performance and check their DOT safety performance, which you can find on The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Pre-Employment Screen Program.

Implement Safety Policies and Training Programs

Once you find acceptable drivers with clean records, you should put them through a safe driving program to train them. It’s not enough to just tell your employees to drive safely.

Not all drivers drive defensively, so you must do your due diligence and implement strict safety policies with penalties for drivers who fail to follow them. The training program may involve tests, videos, or actual driving lessons.

Whichever training method you choose, emphasize safety policies. You can offer the training in-house if your business is big enough, or utilize a third-party safe driving training program, requiring drivers to complete the course before they can work.

In addition to these courses, other safety policies can include things like a maximum number of hours on the road per day to prevent driver fatigue.

Utilize Fleet Safety Technology

You can also utilize modern technology to monitor your fleet. These technologies are typically small GPS trackers with driver behavior monitoring capabilities that you can install on each of your vehicles.  They will tell you where the vehicles are in real-time, their average speed, and more helpful safety-related information. By using this technology, you can track driver performance.

Another way to utilize technology to improve driver and fleet safety is by installing dashboard cameras, so you can capture any accident or incident footage. Watching this footage can even give you insight into how safely your employees drive, whether they’re using their phones while driving, passing through yellow lights, ignoring no U-turn signs, or changing highway lanes recklessly. You can use this information to coach your drivers before they cause at-fault accidents.

Penalize Dangerous Driving and Reward Safe Driving

As mentioned, there should be penalties associated with your safety policies. Most companies implement a three-strike system and may begin to cut a driver’s hours or take them off the road as a sort of suspension. These penalties, which should build up to termination, ensure that drivers follow safety policies.

However, a rewards system is often more effective than punishment. In addition to the penalties, offer incentives for drivers to adhere to the safety guidelines. These incentives could be monetary bonuses, extra vacation days, priority scheduling, or promotions.

If you offer drivers a reward for being safe, they’re more likely to drive cautiously and defensively. You can also give out gift cards, small presents like mugs, or tickets to movies, sporting events, or concerts.

If you’re unsure about which incentives will be most effective, ask your drivers! They’ll likely have some ideas and then you’ll feel confident that you’re offering enticing rewards.  A telematics system with a driver scorecard is a useful tool to identify your safest and least safe drivers.

Perform Regular Vehicle Maintenance

If you have a fleet of vehicles, regular maintenance is crucial. Even vehicles used lightly need frequent maintenance, so your regularly used vehicles will need consistent and prompt upkeep.

Some of the trackers and fleet management devices mentioned above can help you monitor vehicle maintenance, so you can schedule oil changes, tire rotations, and battery checks before problems occur.

Depending on how you run your company, you may want to make vehicle maintenance one of your drivers’ responsibilities. They can be responsible for tracking when maintenance is necessary and for taking the vehicle to the assigned auto shop. Otherwise, you can tackle vehicle maintenance yourself or designate a manager to do so.

It’s important to have a vehicle maintenance plan in place, as it’s better to be proactive. The last thing you want is multiple vehicles being out of commission because you neglected to stay on top of their maintenance. Regular vehicle maintenance not only improves driver safety but can also save you money in the long run while boosting profits!

Issue Sensible Uniforms

While it may not be obvious, what drivers wear plays a role in safety. Drivers should wear comfortable but fitted clothing without any frills.

Additional items like safety vests, protective eyewear, sensible footwear, and gloves can reduce on-the-job injuries. Issuing sensible and protective uniforms to your drivers ensures their safety while ensuring your team maintains a professional and consistent appearance.

The more comfortable and safe your drivers are, the better they can do their job and follow your safety guidelines. Sensible uniforms are a must if you have a large fleet of vehicles.

Final Words

Fleet and driver safety should always be your top priority. Caring for your drivers and vehicles can make you more money in the long run and increase employee satisfaction. This will help you build a loyal, reliable team and steadily grow your business!

Categories: Fleet Safety, GPS Tracking News, Vehicle Tracking Systems