Fleet drivers represent the business world and provide much-needed services to the public. Safety measures would not only benefit them, but also the company they work for in terms of maximising profits, cutting costs, and improving delivery systems. Discover actionable fleet safety tips for drivers.

From the moment they drive out the business grounds and hit the road, fleet drivers are responsible for the vehicle, cargo, and their own well-being. They should consider how they handle the vehicle, how they avoid potholes and any objects that could compromise their safety, and much more. 

 The safety of drivers is the most critical aspect of the success of a fleet management system. By putting driver safety and empowerment at the centre of training programs, fleet managers can focus on their most valuable assets – drivers who can recognise their own risky, on-road behaviour and strive to correct their actions. Taking initiative puts fleet drivers in the best position to help keep their fleet on track during challenging times and gives their managers one

Managing your fleet on the road

While fleet systems get new technical upgrades annually, it’s important not to forget to use the technological innovations to also positively impact fleet drivers’ daily workload. Fleet managers should start using fleet management software to not only optimise delivery workflow but also improve driver skills, awareness and behaviour on the road.

There are many challenges fleet drivers face while driving; one that impacts the supply chain is on-road issues, which may hinder or delay delivery. These issues could be anything from dealing with vehicle maintenance problems such as a tyre blowout while driving, which could endanger both themselves and other motorists, or unforeseen situations of criminal activity, putting the driver’s life in possible danger.

Fleet safety comes first

According to the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group Annual Road Safety Report for 2020, issues such as heavy loads and unworthy cross-border vehicles contribute quite heavily to road accidents and casualties, as do vehicles travelling inappropriately on rural roads. 

Speed coupled with the lack of lane lines, unmarked intersections and unsafe road surfaces, also adds to the high accident rate on our roads. 

This same report highlights that in all countries:

  • Speed is a contributing factor in 15% to 35% of fatal crashes
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is a factor in 10% to 30% of fatal crashes

Truth is, your drivers are on these very roads but that’s where a technologically advanced fleet management system comes into play. It will allow you to put a speed management and monitoring strategy in place that will help you enforce safer driving behaviour through regular reporting, as well as keep track of where your drivers and vehicles are so that if they do run into any kind of trouble, you can act fast.

Gain insights from your fleet

A good means of instilling safer driver behaviour in your fleet is to hold safety meetings with your drivers. Here they can actively engage in discussions with the management team on where improvements need to be made to individual vehicles and the fleet as a whole. These can be as simple as avoiding a route currently under construction or needing to change a route completely due to dangerous situations such as potholes, illegal activity and more. 

Take the time to draft a fleet safety policy revolving around your drivers. Put yourself in the driver’s seat. Keep it simple but as specific as possible and conduct regular reviews with your drivers. These meetings could include discussions around the wearing of seat belts, the use of breathalysers, and focused driving, which could be monitored by a fleet management system.

Being on the road gives fleet drivers the front-seat advantage, so put their knowledge to good use and drive effective teamwork. Managers can also use these meetings to discuss aspects such as the vehicles themselves, ways and means of improving things such as inspections, toll fees, licence renewals and more.

Cartrack’s MiFleet software is a great application to use for all this; it cuts down on your administration time and keeps you updated through alerts and reminders on where and when vehicle costs need to be covered. 

The alerts sent would also help fleet managers avoid unnecessary downtime and loss of production due to delays such as service maintenance or unpaid fines, and help increase vehicle longevity.

less thing to worry about.

Fleet monitoring to benefit transporters

Roadside situations are plentiful and it’s the responsibility of the fleet manager to try and be present as much as possible in every one of his/her fleets, to defuse any minor or major problems and quickly find the right long term solutions.

While managers do their part in keeping drivers safe, with the help of fleet management software, they can also: 

  • Supply accurate vehicle tracking
    Through GPS wireless connectivity, the fleet system ensures your drivers can always be found, no matter what route they take.

  • Provide 24-hour live reporting
    To keep the fleet manager as informed as possible, fleet management systems will automatically send reports of every event that occurs while in transit, even if the driver forgets to update it on the mobile app.

  • Have always-on digital platforms
    A live program grants both the manager and driver the benefit of continued and instant communication.

  • Instant access to custom dashboards
    Conveniently have your important or most used tools at the ready as soon as you access your mobile app. Cutting time spent on having to search for certain features.

These types of features help managers keep track of their fleet and implement both instant and long-term strategies to improve driving habits, reduce running costs and increase fleet longevity.

Put safety in your own hands

There are also a few ways drivers can take initiative and implement safety into their daily schedules. 

Training programs are available to help in managing the risks of driving, improve behind-the-wheel skills and also reduce the impact of accidents and breakdowns.

Sometimes, something as simple as rewarding drivers who practise safe road behaviour is all the motivation needed to encourage self-awareness and improvement.

Finding solutions to fleet vehicle neglect

Before we start deep diving into solutions, we first have to know the reason behind destructive driving behaviour and neglect of company vehicles. 

One is if drivers haven’t been properly trained, are unsatisfied or unmotivated at work and are reluctant or haven’t properly integrated into the work environment or culture.

This negligent behaviour can result in on-road running costs increasing, including frequent tyre and brake replacements, future maintenance expenditures, and worse, accidents.

To help rectify this behaviour, fleet managers can peruse:

  • Engaging the workforce by sharing pertinent information with them
  • Hold regular meetings with your fleet drivers to keep them informed and engaged
  • Show them their performance reports, pointing out where they’re doing well or need to make improvements, and what factors affect their results
  • Obtain as much data as possible, both electronic and verbal, to help you form a holistic image of your fleet that allows you to make informed changes with speed and efficiency

The cost of fleet accidents

One accident can greatly affect and cost your company anywhere from $16,000 to $75,000, even if it’s minor and no one was hurt. In the case of fatalities, the cost can skyrocket even if it wasn’t your employees’ fault. The fact that fleet accidents are among the most expensive injury claims for a business, is one of the main reasons why safety is a high priority for fleet business owners.

Here’s a list of the type of cost implications accidents can have on your fleet: 

  • Vehicle repairs/ replacement
  • Fines due to traffic violations
  • Legal representation
  • Court fines
  • Loss of revenue due to damaged fleet vehicles
  • The cost of insurance premiums and deductibles
  • Replacement driver training
  • Loss of productivity due to avoidable downtime

Though this list might be enough to cause a dent in any business’s profit margin, there might still be additional costs added depending on the circumstances, but rest assured, with fleet safety programs and training implemented, there will be significant reductions in on-road incidents.

What are the 5 key elements of effective fleet management?

To avoid losing money in the case of accidents or general poor productivity, businesses should invest in fleet management systems and a fleet safety program, as this long-term investment pays off through better accountability, improved fleet safety, promotes fewer collisions, and reduced operating costs.

There are a few key elements that contribute to an effective fleet safety program:

1. Hiring responsible drivers

An effective fleet safety program begins with the driver recruitment process. Start by finding the right drivers that meet the business’s fleet driver standards. Having a skilled driver with experience in driving fleet trucks would be beneficial.

The idea is to build a reliable and safe team of skilled drivers who understand the importance of fleet safety and prioritise it as much as possible. Hiring drivers who are like-minded in terms of work ethic, attitude and driving skills might result in having a low fleet driver turnover rate.

2. Having a comprehensive driver training program

After assembling a team of safe and reliable drivers, the next step is to train them.

The training of drivers not only reduces the possibility of accidents on the road but also sets a standard for safe driving among the fleet, ensuring smooth operations. 

3. Monitoring driver performance and behaviour

An effective fleet safety program requires the use of high-end fleet management software that allows fleet managers to efficiently monitor all fleet activity. Regular monitoring of driver performance and driver behaviour ensures all drivers are following the fleet safety guidelines and driving safely.

As a Cartrack customer, you’d have the benefit of using an  AI-powered camera system that monitors drivers while on the road. With this, you could get a full view of your drivers, vehicles and cargo in transit, and receive alerts on any risky driving behaviour or possible collisions. 

You can also use driver scorecards to review their performance, which makes it easier for fleet managers to identify drivers who require further coaching.

4.  Vehicle maintenance

Having routine inspections of fleet vehicles is also an essential part of proper fleet management. Now that you’ve trained your drivers to exercise safe driving behaviours, you need to equip them with vehicles that are in tip-top shape.

This will help prevent unforeseen breakdowns and accidents that result from faulty equipment or poorly maintained parts. Plus, regular vehicle monitoring will lower maintenance costs.

5. Keep a continued focus on fleet safety

The importance of overall fleet safety needs to be repeated regularly. With constant use of safety procedures, this idea will become the norm and integrate itself into the business’ culture.

Sharing important fleet safety metrics with your drivers, fleet managers, and safety officers frequently is also recommended. Seeing the benefits that the safety program brings will validate the effectiveness of the fleet safety program. The habit will continue and be properly implemented into the training programs of new drivers.

With Cartrack’s end-to-end SaaS solutions, you can improve the safety of your fleet by:

  • Having real-time monitoring of vehicle and driver behaviour with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology can help identify and correct poor driving habits that lead to accidents and prevent them.
  • Monitoring driver performance through scoring and providing targeted training opportunities for drivers improves driving efficiency and lowers your fleet operating costs. Provide end-to-end driving analysis on your drivers’ dashboards so you can identify their most-used routes and intervene to prevent unsafe driving.
  • Creating customised driver safety policies to ensure that they can operate safely while delivering items. It also helps to lower the costs associated with poor driving behaviour.
  • Maintaining and servicing vehicles properly to keep them safe to operate and reduce the risk to both drivers and other road users. Proper maintenance can help prevent problems from occurring.
  • Creating a rewards programme to encourage drivers to drive safely and increase engagement. It is important to be able to attract and retain drivers that are motivated and engaged, as well as offer incentives or bonus payments for those who go above and beyond.

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