When you manage a fleet, keeping the drivers safe is your top priority. The statistics are alarming with the number of accidents that include fleet drivers growing. In 2019, the number of annual accidents involving commercial cars reached 20% of the total of road incidents, and it cost companies $20b in settlements.
You probably already run incentive-based safety programs to ensure your drivers are safe on the road. Still, you should look beyond these projects and find other solutions to ensure their wellbeing. You have to care for your employees and provide them with a safe working environment, and this means caring for vehicles and equipping them with the latest pieces of tech.
Besides, to guarding your drivers, it’s paramount to enhance driving safety because even a minor accident can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in downtime and maintenance.
This article provides expert insight into the best practices for fleet management. Specialists have spent years evaluating the causes of commercial accidents, and come up with the following suggestions for logistics companies.
Run regular vehicle checks
Through regular inspections and maintenance, you keep your fleet safe and reduce the vehicle off-road time to a minimum. Your priority is your vehicles to run and deliver the goods on time, and they can do it only if they’re in top shape. A well-serviced fleet is more likely to run smoothly on the road and stay away from accidents. Your drivers must understand it’s mandatory to bring the vehicles to service when scheduled, and identify any sign of deterioration or damage. You can adopt a fleet management system to register when each vehicle enters service and highlight the issues it experiences. The system notifies the drivers when they have to bring the cars for a checkup, and prevent off-road time.
Train your drivers to inspect the cars before they head for the road daily. They should check the tires, fuel, oil, lights, and breaks. You can also point an employee to conduct spot checks as a reminder that all drivers must inspect their vehicles and inform the service if one of them isn’t functioning correctly.
Adopt a clear mobile usage policy
Mobile usage is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents because it distracts drivers from the road. Studies show that the use of a mobile phone when driving can increase the risk of an accident to the same level of driving while under the influence. When using their mobiles, your drivers take their eyes from the road, and the chances to get into an accident grow with 100%.
You can provide your drivers with technology to prevent driving while distracted. Equipment can lower the possibility of getting into an accident, limit company liability, and keep the insurance policies minimum.
When you hire new drivers, inform them of your zero-tolerance driving policy regarding the use of phones. In some cases, even hands-free solutions can distract drivers, so it’s best to train the drivers to minimize the time they spend using their mobile phones in a form or another.
You can adopt a system that locks their devices while driving, and alerts the office when they’re in motion and using their phones.
To ensure your drivers aren’t driving at higher than accepted speeds and arrive safe and sound to their destination, you must plan their routes. Make sure that they have enough time to reach their goal for each trip and rest. Also, limit the chances for them to drive on unsafe roads to get faster to their destination. Install GPS systems and track all vehicles and create customized plans for each journey, so your drivers stay away from hazardous routes and potential dangers.
Planning routes also prevents delays and keeps customers happy. Before the drivers leave the garage, make sure they have a safety kit in their cars that includes spare tires, screwdrivers, reflective triangles, and first aid supplies.
Test drivers for alcohol and drugs
You hope your drivers are clean and never drive under the influence, but you must be sure to prevent company liability. It’s wise to conduct preventive programs and ensure your drivers don’t put themselves and the other road participants at risk when driving your vehicles.
Implement regular spot checks to ensure your drivers are always sober and represent your brand in the best way possible. When drivers know there are chances, someone, to check their sobriety any moment, they stay away from substances.
Vehicle cameras offer your drivers the possibility to evaluate the road conditions to ensure it’s safe to perform specific operations. Use a small, non-intrusive camera that provides high-quality images. Depending on the type of tasks each driver completes, you can install front and rear cameras or only one-side cameras. For larger vehicles, front and rear cameras are best because they offer visibility around the car.
You should also install dash cameras to allow fleet managers to identify, diagnose, and coach drivers while they’re on the road. These cameras identify patterns in a driver’s behavior and enable the manager to provide recommendations adapted to their driving style.
Cameras not only prevent road events and coach drivers, but they also keep the fleet safe and prevent the company from spending money on fixing the consequences of an accident.
The average commercial truck driver rides from 2000 to 3000 miles weekly. Weather can change as quickly as five miles, and during the same journey, a commercial driver can encounter multiple weather events that affect their driving performance. Train them to be ready to face changing weather conditions and adapt their driving style to the state of the road. Use live maps that include weather characteristics to help them foresee weather incidents. These systems allow them to drive around dangerous weather conditions and provide them with an action plan when they’re stuck in bad weather.
It’s important to note that the above recommendations can prevent most accidents. Still, it’s wise to train your drivers to respond to all types of accidents because some events are inevitable.