Solving the Fleet Safety Puzzle

By: Matthew Dziak, Lead Content Marketing Manager at Fleetio

Monday, March 1st, 2021

When it comes to your fleet, safety is of the utmost importance. Operating a vehicle is one of the most dangerous jobs and your drivers should have all of the tools necessary to safely conduct their duties. 

Limit Driver Distractions

Technology has been very advantageous but like anything,  it has its drawbacks. We’re constantly bombarded with social media updates, videos or text messages from friends and family. Your drivers are no different. Cell phone use has increased from 0.6% of all drivers in 2009 to 9.7% of all drivers in 2018, according to the IIHS.

To ensure drivers avoid using mobile devices and apps that can be distracting, consider a distracted driver management platform. These solutions allow you to determine and authorize which apps can be used by drivers, allowing you to restrict access to those that are work-related and won’t hinder safety measures. Information from the mobile device is synced to an administrator’s portal, providing detailed insight into phone handling and other important information. 

Track Your Vehicles

To enhance your safety measures, consider an option that allows you to track your vehicles as well. Adding telematics devices to your vehicles is a great way to monitor vehicle status, odometer readings and location. 

Pairing telematics devices with fleet management software enables superior visibility into your fleet at all times. Safety is more than just driver behavior. It’s also related to the health of your vehicles. With a fleet management system, you’ll be able to receive instant alerts for vehicle inspection failures or when new diagnostic trouble codes and engine faults are detected. This way you don’t have to wait or hope drivers report an issue — instead, you’re alerted in real time. 

Communicate Safe Driving Standards

Drivers might have years of experience operating a vehicle, plus certifications or commercial licenses — but that doesn’t mean they drive safely all of the time. Having the ability to safely park and maneuver a vehicle is one thing, but operating a vehicle safely at all times is another. 

If you manage a fleet and want to ensure your drivers are adhering to the laws of the road, you’ll need to set expectations for them. One of the best ways to communicate safety standards is with signage. By posting safety steps and measures signage in an area where your drivers can see on a daily basis is a great start. 

It also helps if you can include safety policies during the onboarding process for new drivers. If you have experienced drivers on your team, consider starting with a periodical informal chat about safety measures and allow those discussions to evolve into quarterly or regular discussions.

Avoid the Impact of Accidents 

An accident presents a host of complications, whether one of your drivers is at fault or not. Accidents can not only impact your driver’s health and vehicle’s ability to perform, but also your company’s bottom line. Vehicle repairs are expensive, and insurance premiums will inevitably increase. In fact, vehicle insurance premiums have increased 23% over the last ten years, and the average vehicle accident repair cost in 2018 was $3,053, according to the 2019 Motus Driver Safety Report. For fleets with heavy-duty vehicles like Class-8 semi-trucks, that number is even higher.

Don’t overlook the loss of productivity either. Each hour a driver has to deal with something other than their daily tasks is lost earning opportunity. According to Fleet Answers, downtime can cost a fleet $400-700 per day. Additionally, drivers who are involved in accidents might have to appear at hearings and possibly trials, if the dispute isn’t resolved. Not to mention the loss if they are put on leave or need to recover from injury. 

Reward Safe Driving

If you genuinely want to change the behavior of your drivers, you most likely have to incentivize them. Avoiding negative circumstances is the end goal, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to motivate your drivers. 

Your ability to reward drivers will vary depending on your organization’s resources, but even something as simple as recognition amongst peers and a free lunch can go a long way. You could create a leaderboard that shows who is the safest and who is the most reckless drivers on the team for a given month. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be classified as the least safe driver in the organization. They’ll be motivated to move up from the bottom of the leaderboard and potentially earn a reward for reaching the top. It’s sometimes more about the gesture than the actual reward — though, gift cards and other compensation bonuses can sure help influence behavior changes. 

The Puzzle is Ongoing

When it comes to the fleet safety puzzle, the pieces are constantly moving — literally. To keep pace with the evolution of vehicle management, road laws and regulations, your safety measures should also evolve over time. There is no one piece of the puzzle that can solve all of your fleet safety concerns, that is why each safety measure needs to fit into the overall puzzle. 

Implementing basic safety measures, tracking your vehicles, communicating with your drivers regularly and rewarding drivers who sustain excellent safety driving habits are great starting points, but you’ll want to be certain you have steps in place for those milestones to be met and even exceeded. 

By implementing the proper safety measures you can put your fleet drivers and assets in the best position possible to avoid accidents and work safely at all times.