Along with meeting your business objectives, the safety of your fleet and drivers should be one of your top concerns at all times. There is always room for improvement when it comes to making your fleet safer and, lucky for you, Donlen has compiled a list of fleet safety tips that some of our actual customers used to improve safety and reduce accidents within their fleet.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, telematics technology such as Donlen’s DriverPoint® Telematics has the ability to drastically improve fleet safety. Telematics provides visibility to aggressive driving behavior like harsh acceleration and deceleration events, idle time, and speeding. Fleet managers are then notified of the aggressive driving behavior, which allows them to take action and correct their drivers’ behavior so they don’t make the same mistakes again. It also doesn’t hurt that it generates significant savings for your fleet at the same time.
After hiring a new driver for your fleet, he or she should be put through classroom training before they even set foot anywhere near a vehicle. This training can include everything from basic knowledge on the rules of the road to situational practice a.k.a how drivers should react and steps to take in certain situations like after an accident. You should include training on your fleet’s specific safety policies at this time, so that you set clear expectations for your drivers before they hit the road for the first time.
Rely on people
Don’t get us wrong, technology is amazing, but it isn’t everything. One Donlen customer found that ride-along coaching sessions helped to improve safety within their fleet. Their organization placed a fleet manager or another supervisor in the car with a driver to monitor their driving behavior and provide tips and advice in order to establish safe driving habits. They also found success by asking for feedback from those who are affected by their drivers’ behavior: the people on the road around them. By placing a call-in number on the back of their company’s vehicles, that allowed those drivers the ability to call and provide feedback that helped this customer gain a better idea of their fleet drivers’ performance: whether it was complaints or praise.
Consistent and persistent communication
Your drivers won’t know something is wrong with their driving unless you tell them. Another Donlen customer recommends that fleet managers and branch managers stay in consistent communication with their drivers. This can include presenting drivers with comprehensive weekly or monthly scorecards that break down non-compliant or aggressive driving behavior, “How’s My Driving calls”, or any other violations that may have occurred that they should be aware of.
Situational awareness training
Training your drivers to be more cautious in certain areas or situations can only benefit the safety of your fleet. One of our customers found that 96% of their fleet’s preventable accidents occurred below 45 mph, the majority of which occurred below 10 mph. Additionally, they found that most of those accidents were simple rear endings and backing up into other vehicles. The takeaway from this, apart from the fact that parking lots are out to get fleet vehicles, is that by knowing where and in what situation an accident is likely to occur, fleets can take action and develop training initiatives to combat the issue.
When non-compliant driver behavior is flagged in any medium, whether it be telematics, MVRs, or “How’s My Driving” calls, the fleet or branch manager must take action in order to ensure the behavior doesn’t occur again. One of Donlen’s customers uses a progressive discipline policy in which the first step is to immediately follow up with the driver to make sure they’re aware of the behavior. The second step is to implement training or other corrective measures to be doubly sure that the driver doesn’t repeat their mistakes. Unfortunately, if they do repeat their mistakes, the next tier of discipline is suspension, followed by termination.
Make it fun!
Improving fleet safety doesn’t have to be all lectures and training. An exemplary customer actually made improving their fleet’s safety into a game by separating their drivers into 49 teams who “played” against each other to see who drove the safest. An equation involving aggressive driving behavior was devised to rank the teams and whoever had the lowest number of aggressive driving events won. The end result was a 56% reduction in road vehicle accidents and a 37% reduction in non-road vehicle accidents as well as $270,000 in savings and 400 hours of avoided downtime due to vehicle repairs.
The safety of your fleet and its drivers should be something you work to improve constantly. Every day that they get behind the wheel, your drivers run the risk of being injured in an accident or worse, and it’s your responsibility to develop policies and strategies that will get them home safely at the end of the day. Whether that means implementing telematics technology, new-hire training, situational awareness training, coaching ride-alongs, consistently communicating with your drivers, enforcing your fleet policy with progressive discipline, or making it into a game, it’s up to you to make your fleet as safe as possible. Even saving one life is worth the investment.