If your business operates a vehicle fleet, it’s important to get a policy in place to make sure owners, administrators, and drivers are all on the same page. But just because it’s a more formalized policy doesn’t mean it has to be long and inscrutable – in fact, your policy will be the most effective if employees can remember its most important components. Here are a few essential components you’ll want to address in your fleet policy.
It’s important to show that your business is committed to maintaining safety standards for its vehicle fleet. Your company policies may go above and beyond what has been set forth by organizations like the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). If your company policies are different in some way from the common standards, be sure to emphasize this information to your drivers whenever possible so they are fully aware of what you expect them to do and how you expect them to act while on the road.
Are you drivers bound by specific rules on using company vehicles only certain days, or between certain hours? Are they required to stay within a geographic range? You’ll want to document this so all employees are clear on when they are approved to use company vehicles. Additionally, you may want to add details on who is authorized to drive different types of company vehicles, and address processes regarding unauthorized drivers operating vehicles.
Document your driver and evaluation and selection process in detail. In addition to checking for a valid driver’s license (or Commercial Driver License where needed), you’ll want to check past performance and review the employee’s Motor Vehicle Record. It’s also important to check for potential high risk, often defined as drivers who have one or more moving violations in the past year.
Drivers need to know what’s expected of them while they’re on the road. You may want to ask for signed copies of the fleet policy even before employees are out on the road. Drivers should also be familiar with accident and emergency protocols before they’re needed (see point #5). Fleet managers should provide regular reinforcement that the usual road safety rules apply (e.g. use of safety belts, obeying local traffic laws), and may even wish to add general safety rules — for example, prohibiting risky behaviors like picking up hitchhikers or transporting restricted items.
Accident and emergency protocols
While these occurrences are rare, all employees should receive proactive training on what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure you protocols detail how to report accidents, what the respective responsibilities are for both drivers and management, how to address costs, and the differences between preventable and non-preventable accidents.
If your business is using telematics to track a vehicle fleet, you’ll want to document this in your fleet policy. Drivers (and employees in general) should be made aware of how vehicles are being tracked and for what purpose. Telematics provide a host of insights for businesses – fuel usage and optimization, route tracking, and even preventative maintenance – choose which use cases are relevant for your business and include them in your policy.
Remember: your fleet policy should be intuitive and easy for employees to remember. An easy-to-follow policy, combined with proactive and regular communication, will ensure greater compliance and smoother operations overall.