Efficiency and safety play an equal role in fleet management. Operators can’t get results if they are constantly dealing with poorly-maintained vehicles or bad driving practices.
Poor driving can lead to collisions that risk the lives of your drivers and those around them. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 8% of fatal crashes and 14% of injury crashes in 2020 were caused by distracted driving.
Crashes also cost fleet owners and businesses thousands of dollars in legal fees, compensation, and other damages.
This is why fleet safety must be a priority.
A fleet safety program promotes ideal driving behavior, preventative vehicle maintenance, and effective accident response procedures. It includes training for drivers and fleet tracking software that provides real-time vehicle and asset data.
This article delves into the importance of fleet safety and the essential elements of a fleet safety program. We’ve also provided seven tips to boost fleet safety.
Why is fleet safety important?
If your business hasn’t implemented a concrete fleet safety program, here are a few major reasons to get started immediately.
Improves driver behavior
Drivers represent your company to your clients. How they drive and interact with your partners or customers greatly impacts your company’s reputation.
You can train drivers in customer-focused interactions with corporate programs. But, a dedicated safety program related to driving guidelines and road safety helps them operate their vehicles efficiently and without causing harm to themselves, the cargo/equipment, or other motorists.
Typically, fleet safety programs set expectations on how drivers are to operate their vehicles and inform them of potential penalties for poor driving.
Operators can also use real-time video-based safety solutions like CalAmp to coach drivers.
Reduces the risk of collisions and unsafe driving
Apart from the human toll of accidents, they cost fleet companies thousands of dollars in damages, repairs, and potential compensation. As such, fleet operators need to stop accidents before they occur.
With efficient fleet safety guidelines and the right tools, operators can curb harsh driving, thus reducing the risk of collisions. One such tool is CalAmp’s Fleet Telematics solution, which allows operators to set up notifications or alerts related to speeding, hard cornering, harsh braking, and other risky driving behaviors.
Accidents and breakdowns lead to legal issues for companies. These issues can drag on for years and cost companies a significant amount of money. The best way to mitigate liability in these scenarios is to have video evidence.
With real-time video capture, provided by advanced video telematics like the CalAmp application , there is visual proof of exactly what occurred before, during, and after a collision.
This can help exonerate the driver if they are not at fault. Alternatively, if the driver was partially at fault, the company can use the video clips to paint a more accurate picture of the incident. If the driver caused the collision, the company could use the video to coach the driver on safer driving habits.
3 key elements of a fleet safety program
When creating fleet safety systems, there are three crucial elements that you should focus on. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Safety policies
Create written policies that act as guidelines for drivers and operators. These policies must be clear and concise so that any driver or operator can understand them.
Overly complicated, jargon-filled policies do more harm than good, as workers may be unable to deconstruct complex or ambiguous guidelines. This, in turn, leads to unclear rules and poor implementation.
The policies you make must be tailored for your fleet and its workers. It should address safety and driving rules while keeping the needs of the drivers and assets in mind.
For example, a large-scale service company with many heavy-duty trucks will have different safety guidelines than a smaller local delivery service that relies on lighter vehicles.
In many cases, fleet safety programs forget about the needs of the driver. They fail to account for worker safety or basic work regulations, like limiting the number of consecutive hours a driver is allowed to be on the road.
Instead, they focus solely on their driving or operational skills. Policies like this lead to overworked humans and a higher chance of failure or error.
2. Driver training and coaching
The first step to a safer fleet is hiring good drivers and firing bad ones. But stacks of files and cluttered reports leave operators hanging as they struggle to find the right people.
They need a uniform system to manage all the vehicles and drivers in their fleet. This is where online tools like CalAmp are essential.
Fleet software lets them add and monitor driver and vehicle information. This facilitates better hiring decisions and helps build a good team. Let’s say, for example, that a driver has broken multiple safety guidelines over several months. When there’s no factual record of these incidents, they will likely continue driving for the company.
Bad drivers impact the entire team as their colleagues deal with the fallout of their poor actions. Downtime from breakdowns and collisions will require operators and others in the fleet to work extra to keep clients happy.
On the other hand, if operators have a fleet reporting tool that collects reports immediately after every incident or sends warning alerts of poor driving, they can manage by exception and train, reprimand or fire the driver as necessary to maintain a safe fleet.
Fleet telematics solutions can facilitate driver training programs, which is a key component of the fleet safety program for all new hires. This will help them understand and follow guidelines.
Once drivers are on the road, you can continue driver coaching using real-time video. You can also use previous clips of incidents of poor driving behavior to inform them of what not to do.
3. Accident response
No matter how well-oiled your fleet is, accidents happen. Every fleet safety program should establish a procedure in case of accidents or similar incidents. This way, workers know precisely what to do following an incident.
Once basic worker response guidelines are established, operators can use software like CrashBoxx to simplify accident management via fast and actionable insights into crash events in near real-time.
CrashBoxx is a vehicle risk management service that sends instant alerts when a crash occurs, automatically notifies insurers, and delivers crucial information, like location and collision severity, in near real-time.
Fleet managers can use collision data from previous incidents, such as speed before impact, the direction of impact, and the force of the crash, to reconstruct accidents, find common errors, and address them via safety guidelines and driver training.
7 tips to improve fleet safety
Fleet operators or managers can build an efficient and safe workforce using these seven tips.
1. Be proactive
Effective fleet operation requires managers and owners to proactively monitor and optimize their workforce. When it comes to safety, they need fleet management software to implement and constantly update safety policies.
Every little element of a fleet safety program plays a major role in preventing collisions, delays, and other risks. Proactive management involves regularly checking how your safety guidelines affect drivers, delivery times, and logistics.
With advanced fleet management software, you can add all your driver and vehicle information onto the platform. Then, you can collect detailed reports on every vehicle in your fleet and its activities. This information can help operators optimize routes and update guidelines accordingly.
2. Prioritize your drivers
Drivers are the backbone of any good fleet. You need to prevent driver fatigue via overworking and ensure they’re making the most of their work hours.
Both of these factors depend on effective scheduling. With a fleet telematics solution, operators can see how long each driver is on the road. They can also use geofencing capabilities around job locations, warehouses, and delivery routes that automatically check in drivers.
Automating your time card and attendance process enables better decision-making related to route planning, scheduling, and customer satisfaction.
It’s also important to collect feedback from drivers and take their suggestions seriously to keep employee morale high. A workforce that trusts its operators and managers is more likely to engage with company policies, including safety guidelines.
3. Perform regular fleet maintenance
Poorly functioning fleet vehicles add to driver fatigue, increase the risk of harsh driving, and, consequently, accidents. Fleet operators must regularly check vehicles to ensure there are no issues.
Manually doing this can be time-consuming and leaves room for human error. This is why good fleet companies use safety tools, like CalAmp, to get automatic alerts that encourage preventative vehicle maintenance.
Operators can receive alerts based on mileage and usage along with other notifications like engine fault code triggers and minor maintenance issues.
Preventative maintenance can save lives while saving the company money. A minor issue that is fixed quickly is cheaper than a major breakdown that sidelines a vehicle for days or weeks.
Well-maintained fleet vehicles also save time as they remain efficient over time and provide reliable functionality.
4. Monitor driving speeds
Speed limits prevent collisions, but how do operators ensure drivers stick to them? Do they manually ask for driver reports or wait for a speeding-related accident?
The solution is to use fleet telematics to monitor drivers and their behavior on the road. With CalAmp operators can receive alerts when drivers have crossed speed limits or are exhibiting other risky behaviors. They can then immediately contact the driver to rectify the behavior.
5. Use fleet management software (& video telematics)
Operators can use fleet tracking software to remotely monitor and manage their fleets in near real-time.
This improves fleet safety since operators can check alerts on any of their devices and take immediate action rather than wait days or weeks to collect information at a specific work office.
Operators can also use AI-based video telematics integrated into the CalAmp application to get a holistic view of their fleet. They can get real-time footage of their drivers while the AI checks for triggers like tailgating, speeding, stop sign violations, and accidents.
Watch the video below to see how a video telematics platform can boost driver safety.
Operators can use these alerts and video clips to coach drivers with risky driving behavior.
The CalAmp application also builds mutual trust since drivers know they have video proof of their actions. This is especially crucial if and when collisions occur.
6. Reward good drivers
Acknowledgment and appreciation are key for employee engagement in any workplace. This includes drivers for fleet-based service providers.
A fleet management tool that records driver data and provides vehicle reports can help with showing appreciation.
For example, operators can use information from CalAmp fleet, video, and Driver Behavior Scorecard data to identify good drivers and set up weekly or monthly programs to reward them.
This type of positive reinforcement encourages drivers to stay safe on the road and gives them a goal to strive toward, thus increasing performance.
7. Create a safety committee
Depending on the size of your fleet, you can form a safety committee at your organization.
This group will implement safety policies that are customized to match your fleet. Once the policies are in place, the safety committee will also consistently monitor driver and vehicle data to ensure compliance and flag any issues.
The committee can add or edit policies to improve fleet safety and remove redundant guidelines. In some organizations, the safety committee can also coach drivers not adhering to guidelines.
Any good fleet manager or operator can tell you why safety is a top priority. Ignoring fleet safety can cost companies thousands of dollars due to collisions, driver misbehavior, or service downtimes stemming from driving-related incidents.
Implementing a fleet safety program and monitoring its efficiency is nearly impossible using manual tools and driver self-reports. It’s best to use dynamic fleet management and video telematics solutions like CalAmp.
Understand how your fleet safety can be improved and how much money a good telematics platform can save you by giving us a call today!