Every successful fleet has a firm handle on managing risk, ranging from better control on fuel and maintenance costs to taking steps that lower the risk of crashes involving fleet vehicles. A critical first step in this area is to create a fleet risk management plan.
Simply put, a fleet risk management plan lists all the risks associated with an operation in detail. It also lists options for improving fleet risk management in those specific areas. One common option for improvement in almost every area is the use of advanced fleet telematics systems. They can make the key difference when putting together a plan to protect your assets, increasing safety and providing fleet management productivity solutions.
The Need For Fleet Risk Management
Roads in the United States continue to increase in danger. Road deaths and accidents actually increased during the pandemic. The Association for Safe International Road Travel reports that more than 46,000 people die every year in crashes on roads in the U.S., while another 4.4 million suffer injuries bad enough to warrant medical attention.
In addition to the safety issue for drivers, fleet-related accidents are also costly. Each crash costs an average of about $75,000, and that cost increases dramatically if a fatality is involved.
Protect Your Assets With Advanced Technology
No single fleet risk management plan exists that will serve every fleet in every situation. Fleets are responsible for putting together a plan that works for their current operation. They should not only address current issues, but also support establishment of a culture of continuous process improvement.
Most fleets will find their most pressing risk management challenges occur in areas such asset tracking, vehicle purchase, vehicle maintenance, driver safety, and regulatory compliance. Errors in any of these key areas can result in increased risk and enormous costs for a fleet.
Fleet risk management plans typically start with vehicle purchases, which involves finding the right type of vehicles – either purchased or leased to fit the company budget – that match expected delivery loads and routes. Vehicle maintenance is also key once the fleet is in place, preventing fleets from experiencing too much costly downtime with their vehicles.
Fleets plans also cover maintaining compliance with government regulations. This includes all U.S. regulatory laws on issues such as drivers Hours of Service reports and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR).
Perhaps no area of risk is bigger than recruiting, retaining and training good drivers. Every fleet’s success centers around dependable drivers who practice safe driving habits. Problems in this area increase not only safety issues, but also costs associated with crashes, collisions and vehicle repair and replacement.
Steps in Creating a Fleet Risk Management Plan
When it comes to road safety, there are a series of issues managers should focus on when creating a fleet risk management plan. Taking action in these areas can significantly lower risk.
- Purchasing the right vehicles. They should include all the latest ADAS and other safety features.
- Hiring and training drivers. Every driver candidate should have their background checked, including their MVR and appropriate Department of Transportation qualifications.
- Inspections. Drivers should also file a DVIR at the start and end of each day to ensure vehicles stay road worthy.
- Tracking. Managers should use GPS tracking systems to know the location of every fleet vehicle in real time.
- Monitoring drivers. Fleets should keep track of driver behavior, including any violations. They also should provide incentives for drivers to maintain safe driving records.
- Maintenance. The key to keeping vehicles on the road is a routine maintenance schedule.
- Compliance. Managers and drivers should become familiar with every regulation they must comply with during operations, especially for long haulers.
- Insurance. Insurance is a key piece of fleet risk management, hedging against the possibility of accidents or vehicle breakdowns that can lead to costs piling up quickly.
- Continuous improvement. Managers should establish key performance metrics, then determine if the fleet is meeting them. They should adjust plans as factors change or in areas where its clear current efforts are not achieving results.
Telematics Offers Fleet Risk Management Support
Advanced technology has given fleets the ability to leverage millions of data points to make better decisions in risk management. Managers can employ a variety of telematics to lower risk and make operations safer and efficient.
- GPS tracking devices offer real-location and other data on both powered and non-powered assets. They also support better route decisions based on the latest road, weather and traffic condition information
- ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) give fleets the ability to collect and transmit reports necessary to meet regulatory compliance mandates
- Dash cams offer real-time images of what is happening both inside and outside a vehicle
- Fuel cards give managers control over when and where fuel is purchased
- Sensors on connected devices can transmit information on engine performance, detecting any issues before they lead to costly breakdowns on the road. They also can create and maintain regular maintenance schedules for all fleet vehicles.
These telematics systems can help fleet managers maximize fleet performance. The result is a more productive, efficient, and safe fleet.
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