Today’s vocational fleets contend with a variety of challenges. From maintaining compliance and avoiding violations to making driver routing more dynamic and efficient and meeting customer needs (and everything else in between), businesses often seek solutions to these operational issues that increase productivity and profits.
Although excessive fuel consumption, delayed deliveries, and underutilization add up, these are not the biggest threats to a fleet’s bottom line. In truth, it is harsh acceleration, braking too fast, sharp cornering, speeding, and all other elements of unsafe driving.
Most fleet owners do not realize the full impact that a single safety event has on their business. The direct costs associated with vehicle repair and insurance payments from an accident are easier to pinpoint:
The FMCSA estimates that an accident typically costs a company $59,150 in insurance fees, equipment replacement, and legal issues.
A physical injury bumps this figure to $342,000, and a fatality can hike the total to $7.9 million.
Indirect losses such as decreased productivity, customer dissatisfaction, and reputation damage are less recognizable and harder to measure but far more damaging over time.
By investing resources into a comprehensive safety program, which protects your most valuable assets (employees) and makes safe driving performance an everyday goal, businesses reap benefits that extend far beyond the road.
Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to implement a comprehensive safety program and maintain good driver performance year-round.
DEFINE A “SAFE” FLEET
A key component of any safety program is establishing the metrics your fleet measures against to determine failure or success. But to set these safety standards, you must first understand what is considered unsafe.
Typically, fleets can identify the factors causing risk and the issues that stem from poor driving performance by evaluating:
- the number of driving accidents and if the total has risen within the last six to 12 months
- the number of defects or deficiencies identified by DVIRs and routine maintenance
- the number of fines or compliance violations related to unsafe driving events
- the amount of maintenance costs and if the total has risen within the last six to 12 months
Record this information to set a benchmark for ongoing measurement. From there, develop a list of behaviors that individual drivers must meet, as well as the goals that the overall fleet must achieve, to qualify as safe. Any deviations from this criterion would be deemed unsafe, as a result.
Once safety metrics are established, the next step is to employ a process for monitoring driver performance.
Thanks to new video and fleet management software solutions available on the market today, it’s relatively simple for fleet managers to monitor, record, and assess activities—both on an individual driver and fleet-wide basis. The data collected provides them with a direct line of sight into how drivers perform on the road without ever stepping foot into a vehicle.
Vehicles equipped with dashboard cameras and video monitoring systems take driver performance one step further by providing real-time video of driving behavior. Videos are replayed in the event of an unsafe incident and, therefore, serve as a powerful training tool.
Consistent driver coaching is one of the most effective tactics for combatting unsafe habits. Using performance data—compiled through video and telematics solutions—to measure incidents of unsafe driving makes it easy for fleet managers to properly train staff on safe driving.
Tools like Driver Scorecards further help fleet managers to identify those engaging in high risk behaviors and translate performance into numbers, so they can clearly see what they need to do to improve.
With Driver Scorecards, fleet managers can quickly and effectively:
- determine if driver behavior is improving or worsening over time
- easily spot drivers who are not performing safely
- compare drivers against company performance averages
- determine insurance liabilities by risk level
- improve driver handling to decrease vehicle wear and tear
MEASURE, REWARD SAFETY
Using this information, drivers are categorized into different score bands for fleet managers to address unsafe habits on an individual basis. Unique training plans are created for those who could benefit from one-on-one coaching sessions, while good drivers are incentivized through reward programs for positive performance.
Providing employees the tools to be successful, engaged, and happy creates a safer, loyal working environment, increases productivity and customer satisfaction, and reinvests the money saved into other business areas.
Not all safety programs are created alike. It’s important to note that safety standards differ from fleet to fleet, depending on the size and nature of the business.
What is considered “safe” for one fleet may not be the same for another, but the primary goal is to instruct drivers on safe driving practices and promote a safety-conscious fleet to increase productivity and profits—helping protect your business’ bottom line.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Teletrac Navman is a fleet management solutions software company. Teletrac Navman provides you with the data to stay on schedule, reduce costs, and put your team and vehicles to work every day. Find out more, visit www.teletracnavman.com.