As a fleet manager, you know that there is a big difference between setting safety policies and ensuring those policies are enforced. At headquarters, you can oversee vehicle maintenance and upgrades. But out on the road, your drivers make the decisions about how they drive and the safety policies they adhere to. How can you ensure that your drivers follow safe driving best practices without bringing the hammer down with authoritarian rule?
Fortunately, you're not the first fleet manager to ask this question and work on the solution. The following five techniques that can effectively help you both set and enforce fleet safety rules and regulations.
Onboarding and Refresh Safety Training
Safety policy enforcement starts on day one. From the moment you hire a driver, get them started learning driving safety policies, pairing traffic laws with company policy. This will impress on drivers that, even if other fleets have been lax on safety protocols, that your fleet expects a true safety-first mentality. Review basic and advanced safety policies, even if your new hires have been commercially driving for years.
In addition to onboarding, you should also periodically enroll your drivers in safety refresher courses to remind everyone the best ways to be safe, even though other behaviors can become a habit out on the road.
Conduct Regular Vehicle Inspections
Take responsibility for ensuring all of your fleet vehicles adhere to your safety policies with regular vehicle inspections. Make sure that the tire treads are deep enough and the right tires are on for the weather. Check the fluids, belts, and axles. Make sure that each vehicle still handles at optimum performance and ask your drivers to report the moment they have a problem or detect something unusual.
Don't forget to keep the emergency kits in each fleet vehicle stocked and aligned with the seasons. This way, your drivers are working with the best possible conditions and supplies to maintain safety on the road.
Use Telematics to Monitor Vehicle & Driver Behavior
Telematics are the single best way to know if your vehicles are performing well and if your drivers are safely operating the vehicles. Telematics can show you a driver's speed, turn velocity, stopping speed, and other details that indicate safe or unsafe driving. Telematics can also typically tell you if the vehicle detects a maintenance problem on the horizon.
This way, you can address any safety issues as soon as they become evident in either humans or machinery.
Provide and Invite Feedback Regarding Safety
Feedback is important to your drivers. If telematics says someone's been going too fast, idling too long, or any other concerns, feedback is the best way to address the issue before it becomes a real problem. At the same time, keep an open door and an open ear for drivers who may have safety concerns of their own. If the vehicle starts making a strange sound or they have an idea for safer route design, always listen. Your drivers are out there every day and may have something to contribute.
Create Incentives for Safe Driving Practices
Lastly, consider creating a safety incentive program for drivers to adhere to your safety rules and policies. Give your drivers a reason to drive carefully against all the motivations to drive quickly that come naturally with the industry.
Keep Your Fleet Safe with Wimar
At Wilmar Inc, we know that fleet safety is your top priority. It is the best way to protect both your vehicles and your drivers. While you may not be behind the wheel, you can help your drivers understand the importance of keeping to the fleet's safety policies for their own good as well as the shared benefit of the entire fleet. To learn more about fleet safety and leadership, contact us today.