When it comes to managing a commercial fleet, safety should be top of mind. From driving incidents to injury, a lot can go wrong on the road which is why a fleet safety program is so important to have in place. A fleet safety program establishes strict policies and procedures that help ensure a safe work environment for both employees and employers.
In a world where accidents are continuing to increase, there’s never been a better time to put a safety program in place. In fact, this study found that the annual accident rate for commercial fleets has reached 20%.
With incidents on the rise, now is the best time to revisit your safety program and enforce new processes where needed. To ensure you put your team first, we gathered the top 9 safety best practices when it comes to improving your fleet’s wellbeing.
1. Define and Communicate Safety Requirements
One of the best tips for streamlining your safety program is to first define the requirements needed for safety precautions. You can define commercial fleet safety requirements by performing internal research on past incidents and driving records.
For example, if you notice an uptick in traffic violations within the last year or two, you may want to implement strict rules around traffic laws. This may include driving below the speed limit and taking the necessary breaks required by FMCSA guidelines during adverse driving conditions. You may also find that distracted driving has become a bigger problem for your fleet, making it crucial to correct dangerous behaviors before they are a cause for concern.
Once defined, distribute a written fleet safety program policy and lead drivers in the necessary training. Reviewing a fleet safety example can help you get started with a written policy of your own.
An effective written fleet safety policy will outline the steps each driver must follow and the purpose behind the requirements. These details will make it clear why new policies are being put into place and how they will keep drivers safe.
2. Automate Risk Analyses
A risk analysis is a proactive approach to identifying the cause of incidents and resulting impact to your business. Analyzing risks is a crucial first step toward preventing similar incidents from happening in the future.
It’s also essential to not just anticipate risky behavior based on past events but to prevent accidents from ever happening in the first place. The combination of new safety technology and advanced vehicle telematics helps fleets access the critical, real-time data points that lead to proactive safety.
You can streamline the process further by implementing AI Video dash cams. These dual-facing dash cams leverage Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to proactively detect risky behavior such as distracted driving or lane departures. This makes it easy to correct the behavior or alert the driver in the moment rather than having to manually analyze the incident after the fact.
3. Remove Manual Paperwork
Daily vehicle inspections are a critical part of any fleet safety program. But they are often done using paper forms, which can be time-consuming and unreliable. Your drivers need to follow a variety of rules and regulations from the DOT and FMCSA that result in a wide range of inspection requirements and manual reporting. From proof of repairs to false claims and safety hazards, there’s a lot to stay on top of.
Remove the slow paperwork process by using digital automation. A digital inspection tool eliminates the need for paperwork and makes driver vehicle inspections simple, which in turn helps keep your drivers and vehicles safe.
4. Implement Driver Scorecards
Driver scorecards can improve safety metrics and hold your fleet team accountable. These scorecards can and should be personalized to the driver behaviors that are most important to you. For example, risky driving behaviors change based on whether your drivers are on city streets, highways or job sites. Your scorecards should be weighted toward the events that indicate harmful outcomes for your fleet.
You can use scorecards to motivate better performance. Introduce gamification—the use of innate psychological triggers to drive engagement and retention—to reward good drivers and incentivize healthy competition. This includes using performance incentives and allowing your drivers to track their performance against their peers. Using diver rewards gives your team another reason to follow safety management guidelines that reduce accidents.
5. Unify Fleet Data
Disconnected data can make it challenging to interpret information on the fly. Both safety data from AI dash cams—such as distracted driving or lane departure—and performance data from your vehicle telematics—such as harsh braking or diagnostic codes—are essential when analyzing safety performance. You only get a full picture of how effective your fleet safety program is if you’re able to see data from both sources in one place.
Collecting fleet data is only one piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need to interpret the data to identify risky patterns. That’s where safety analytics comes in. Unifying your fleet safety analytics using digital reporting dashboards will create visibility across your entire team. That means every driver will gain access to review their insights and have the opportunity to drive safer.
6. Visualize Performance Trends
Key performance indicators (KPIs) help you set and track goals to know whether milestones are being met. You should identify these goals upfront when building your safety program so that the entire organization knows what success looks like. Visualizing long-term trends before and after you implement new safety policies or technology helps you understand their impact on our goals.
Metrics such as the number of collisions or traffic law violations in a year can help you determine whether your fleet is following safety protocols in a given time frame. Analyzing fuel and insurance costs can help you accomplish multiple KPIs that lead to larger fleet goals outside of safety.
7. Fine-Tune Your Accident Response
While no one wants accidents to happen, they’re not always preventable. It’s important to
have an incident response plan in place for when they do arise. Your
plan should include scenario and location-based response tips for drivers, and safety steps to take once an accident does happen.
Just as any policy changes over time, so should your response plan. Fine-tuning your response plan based on past incidents can help minimize injury and instill trust across your entire commercial fleet team. Creating an effective accident response plan will also help create fairness when determining accident liability.
8. Support Your Field Team
To build trust and transparency between you and your team, it’s essential to get driver buy-in before you implement new policies and technology. They should have a clear understanding of how they’ll benefit from policy changes. For example, make sure drivers understand that the primary benefit of AI dash cams is to prevent incidents and help exonerate them from false claims.
Communicating new policies to your drivers can instill trust and lead to better safety outcomes. It can be helpful to bring drivers to the table when creating new policies to gather feedback and concerns that could enhance your policies and make them more effective across the board.
The more support your fleet team has the more likely they are to take safety precautions seriously. This goes for all programs and is not limited to safety guidelines.
9. Provide Ongoing Training and Improvements
Your fleet safety program is likely to evolve, which means your policies will too. Listening to team feedback and analyzing data can inform process improvements and new training sessions to keep drivers in the know. Good drivers also deserve regular performance reviews and opportunities for professional development. Make sure your fleet safety program has room for regular training and the possibility of upward mobility.
The frequency will vary depending on the type of fleet and the demands of your business, but annual training and reviews are a good place to start. This will help you retain your fleet drivers and maintain a safer, more professional workforce.
The most important thing to consider when building an effective fleet is your drivers. After all, when it comes to a successful workforce, keeping your drivers safe should be a top priority.