Anyone who is tasked with managing or overseeing a fleet of vehicles for a company should understand how important it is to protect those vehicles, as well as all the drivers who will be using them.
This makes safety management one of the most important considerations you can have as a fleet manager, and it’s something that should be at the forefront of your thinking at all times. Here are the best practices you can employ to ensure that vehicles and drivers can be safe at all times.
Keep Safety in Mind when Making Vehicle Selections
When you’re in the process of acquiring vehicles for your fleet, it’s a good idea to keep safety in mind as one of the criteria for choosing specific vehicles. For instance, if your drivers will need vehicles that frequently are required to navigate through snow or other adverse weather conditions, you may need to purchase vehicles that are equipped with four-wheel drive.
You might want to purchase vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking if there are slick surfaces present during driving hours. Give some thought to the kind of driving which your operators will routinely be required to do.
The idea is to make sure any vehicles you purchase can provide that kind of operation to keep everyone safe.
Emphasize Preventive Maintenance
It’s never a good idea to postpone or skip preventive maintenance. While this might save you some money, it could cost you a lot more in terms of vehicle safety. And even cause unanticipated breakdowns because vehicles were not properly maintained.
Make sure that all vehicles in your fleet get inspected regularly and have whatever maintenance is done when necessary. You should establish a logbook to track all vehicle maintenance and use it as the backbone of your safety program.
Establish a Comprehensive Safety Policy
Any good safety policy will keep driver safety as a top priority in their safety management program. There is a limit on how long drivers are allowed to operate vehicles because a tired driver quickly loses effectiveness. Make sure to emphasize good driving records as a requirement of your fleet vehicle operators. Also, make it known that you have no tolerance for poor vehicle care, license suspensions, or DUIs.
Also, be sure that all your vehicle operators have their vision tested regularly. This is because a driver who can’t see properly can’t be expected to perform well on the road. Start up a safety newsletter that gets distributed to all drivers regularly. Plus, it will serve to remind all vehicle operators of your safety policies.
Reward Safe Drivers
You’d be surprised how effective it can be to offer rewards to those drivers who consistently demonstrate safe driving practices on the road. There are few ways to reinforce good driving behavior which can be more successful than a rewards program. Providing your drivers with an incentive for safe driving will help to lower accident rates, and will promote the practice of driving safer every day.
There is a number of ways you can implement a rewards program. For instance by providing company products, more vacation time, safety bonuses, and possibly even some new equipment for the driver’s vehicle.
However, if you do it, make sure your drivers get motivated to become safety-conscious. So that both themselves and their vehicles can be kept safe on the road.
Install Safety Technology in Vehicles
By installing safety technology in your fleet of vehicles, you’ll be able to tell when vehicles are driving over the speed limit. And also if your operators are braking too harshly or accelerating too quickly. These are all unsafe habits, detrimental to the vehicle itself, so you want to discourage these as much as possible.
You can also purchase products that block cell phones from receiving texts or phone calls in a moving vehicle. You may want to consider implementing telematics technology because it can provide you with real-time information. This will contribute strongly toward improving driver behavior, and generating a safer mindset among all drivers.
Screen your Drivers
All the safety measures you have won’t matter much if you have a team of drivers who consistently ignore them. And who feel that they are the most invincible people on the road.
This means that right from the time you begin hiring your driver personnel, you should put them through a thorough screening process to make sure they don’t have a history of poor driving.
Don’t expect that someone who has consistently driven poorly in the past will suddenly adopt a new philosophy, and drive safely for your company. Don’t lower your safety standards just because it might be difficult to find good drivers at the present time. More than likely, you’ll have good reason to regret hiring unsafe drivers at a later date.
Establish safe driving training for all your operators, so they will have a clear understanding of what is expected. This will mean that there’s no excuse for poor driving performance once they are on the road. It may be necessary to tweak your training program now and then in response to situations that have arisen with your fleet vehicles and their operators.
Make sure there is no room for misinterpretation about what you expect from all drivers and the kind of safe driving practices which are part of your safety management program.
Obtain Management Commitment
Unless you are an all-powerful manager who has the final word on all policies and practices related to your fleet vehicles, it’s important to have the full commitment from upper management on your safety management program.
When the entire company provides full support and backing for a company safety program, it will be very apparent to all fleet vehicle operators that safety management is essential and is fully supported by the company. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that poor driving practices will not be tolerated. Plus, that anyone who operates a company vehicle must abide by practices the company considers to be safe.