Looking for a way to protect your business from the high cost of dealing with on-the-job road accidents? Implement a fleet safety program.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best policies to include in your fleet safety program and how you can enhance those policies by getting certified in fleet safety procedures.
Table Of Contents
- Why A Fleet Safety Program Is Important
- Policies For An Effective Fleet Safety Program
- Enhance Your Fleet Safety Program
Why A Fleet Safety Program Is Important
The cost of a work-related vehicle accident can be almost twice other workplace injuries and, in some cases, can approach five, or even six, figures.
Thankfully, these costs — and the effects an accident has on human life — can be minimized by implementing a fleet safety program and training your drivers to pilot their vehicles to prevent accidents whenever possible.
At its core, a fleet safety program is a set of policies and procedures that help protect your business against liability from vehicle accidents and ensure a safe work environment for drivers and support staff.
Of course, there is no guarantee that an accident won’t occur. As workplaces go, the nation’s roads are one of the most dangerous. But establishing and maintaining a fleet safety program can help mitigate this danger while improving employee satisfaction and fleet efficiency.
Policies For An Effective Fleet Safety Program
1) Standard Operating Procedures
To create an effective fleet safety program, your business needs more than just a few unwritten rules that your team transmits by word-of-mouth.
Instead, your business needs full commitment from management and for them to compose a set of formal standard operating procedures that all team members must abide by.
These standard operating procedures must be made available to all employees — drivers and support staff alike — so that everyone is aware of what you expect them to do and how you expect them to behave while on the job.
Making your fleet safety program a part of your standard operating procedures — and not something that’s just an afterthought — goes a long way toward preventing accidents and keeping your drivers safe on the road.
2) Driver Management
A big part of any fleet safety program is driver management. This is embodied in how you select, train, and evaluate the employees you allow to pilot your fleet vehicles.
Driver selection is the foundation of any safety standards and practices your business chooses to adopt. All the training in the world won’t improve the way an employee drives if they’re not willing to respect and abide by your standard operating procedures.
When deciding whom to select as a driver, start with these basics:
- Verify they have a valid state driver’s license
- Review motor vehicle records and screen out those with multiple violations
- Be aware of federal and state limitations for drivers under 18
Once you’ve selected the drivers who are right for the job, provide training that outlines the policies and procedures of your fleet safety program.
Keep in mind that training isn’t a one-and-done thing. Periodic instruction, updates, and reviews go a long way toward making your safety standards a real part of driver behavior.
Finally, evaluate your drivers on a regular basis to see how well they’re abiding by your fleet safety program.
3) Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a major concern for most fleet safety programs in the United States.
Distractions that can lead to accidents include:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Programming GPS while driving
- Eating or drinking while driving
Even talking with other passengers can be a distraction. To cover these issues, create a distracted driving policy that prohibits these activities while the vehicle is in motion.
4) Seat Belts
No fleet safety program would be complete without a seat belt policy of some sort.
The risk of death and serious injury increases dramatically when drivers don’t wear a seat belt while operating a vehicle — even at slow speeds.
You can choose how to word this portion of your fleet safety program, but a straightforward statement making the use of seatbelts mandatory is usually best.
Here’s an example of an effective seat belt policy:
All employees must wear a seat belt when operating:
- A company-owned vehicle
- Any vehicle on company property
- Any vehicle on company business
Failure to comply with any part of this policy may result in immediate termination.
5) Impaired Driving
Impaired driving — like distracted driving — greatly increases the risk that a driver will be involved in a collision and includes the use of substances that affect perception, such as alcohol, marijuana, stimulants, and depressants.
Be sure to include language in your fleet safety program that distinguishes between consuming these substances on the job and showing up for work while under the influence — both of which are prohibited.
As you did in your seat belt policy, be sure to indicate the consequences for failure to abide by the impaired driving policy.
6) Pre-Trip Inspection
Set up a pre-trip inspection policy with the goal of minimizing the risk of equipment failure, breakdowns, and other emergencies while on the road.
Make it mandatory that all drivers complete a pre-trip inspection before operating — or before resuming the operation of — any company vehicle.
If the pre-trip inspection is conducted on company property, it’s a good idea to require a supervisor’s signature on the inspection form before the driver can leave.
7) Post-Trip Inspection
A post-trip inspection is also a fundamental part of any good fleet safety program.
While the post-trip inspection doesn’t have to be as involved as the pre-trip inspection, it can be a useful way to identify potential issues that could render the vehicle unsafe for the next driver or the next trip.
Create a checklist to review the major systems of the vehicle and make it mandatory that drivers report any problems to their supervisor immediately upon discovery.
Combine post-trip and pre-trip inspections — along with intra-trip inspections if the journey is long enough — for even more diligence and safety on the road.
8) Route Management
With the help of GPS, driver tracking, and telematics, you can incorporate route management into your fleet safety program.
Analyzing the directions you give to your drivers — or the directions they choose while behind the wheel — can help them avoid heavily-trafficked roads and the higher risk of accidents that come with them.
Some fleet management programs even allow you to analyze traffic in real time so that you can re-route your drivers around the safety hazards.
9) Accident Response Plan
Regardless of the other policies you create for your fleet safety program, it’s always important to have an accident response plan in place just in case a mishap does occur.
Such response plans help your drivers know what to do if they’re involved in an accident and allow your business to move quickly to take care of the issue.
Without an accident response plan in place, you may be left scrambling and wondering what to do and whom to contact when a collision or a breakdown does occur.
10) Vehicle Maintenance
Other than driver behavior while on the road, vehicle maintenance is one of the key components of an effective fleet safety program.
Equipment failure is one of the most common reasons that accidents occur.
It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is used for short trips around town or long trips across the country — mechanical breakdowns can cause real problems for your fleet and the safety of your drivers.
Along with your pre- and post-trip inspections, establish policies and procedures for regular vehicle maintenance to help prevent accidents caused by faulty equipment and to help reduce the costs associated with unexpected breakdowns.
It can also be good for your business to include policies that deal with how to handle obsolete vehicles and those on which maintenance is no longer a cost-effective solution.
Fleet Safety Certification
As we’ve discussed in this article, a good fleet safety program can help mitigate the dangers of operating a vehicle while at work and improve both efficiency and driver satisfaction in one fell swoop.
But this doesn’t happen naturally — it requires advanced knowledge, training, and practice. One of the best ways to gain these things is by becoming fleet safety certified.
The various programs teach participants a variety of skills — including defensive driving and safety best practices — that will help them supervise drivers and vehicles in the best way possible.
Managers also learn about topics such as:
- Fleet liability
- New technology
- How to establish a driver training program
- Implementing an accident response plan
- Preventative measures that mitigate accidents
Fleet safety certification programs even teach managers how to make use of driver and vehicle tracking data to boost fleet efficiency and improve the business’s bottom line.
All of that can improve your fleet safety program and have a profound effect on driver behavior and the overall success of your company.
Fleet Safety And Fuel Management For Success
One of the best ways to improve driver safety — and reduce expenses in the process — is to include fuel management training as part of your fleet management program.
Coast provides real-time expense tracking and a powerful online management platform that puts your entire fleet in the palm of your hand and provides full visibility of every dollar spent.
For more information, visit CoastPay.com today.