The success of a commercial fleet depends greatly on the quality of the drivers. That’s what makes the drive to create safe fleet drivers so important for managers who want to improve and maintain performance, increase safety and lower risk.
A key to success in this area is getting drivers to engage with advanced technology, showing them how systems work and how coaching videos can lead to better performance and the potential for rewards for good behaviors.
“One of the keys to creating safe drivers is to engage your drivers as a part of your risk management solutions and reward them for demonstrable good performance,” said Randy Read, Co-Founder of EnVue Telematics. “Transparency and good communication during driver orientation are also important.”
Webinar Focuses on Best Practices for Safety Fleet Drivers
Read spoke on the issue recently after attending a webinar held by HDT Magazine on the topic of safe fleet drivers. Both Read and John Gaither, Director of Sales at EnVue Telematics, attended the event. Participation in such events is part of EnVue Telematics’ commitment to staying on top of industry trends and the latest best practices for fleet telematics.
Much of the seminar focused on getting drivers engaged with the use of connected devices, dash cameras and other advanced technology to improve performance. A driver safety panel that included Chris Woody, Safety Director at M&W Logistics and Matt Camden, Senior Research Associate at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, focused on ideas such as:
- Getting buy-in from drivers for safety technology
- Making drivers a vital part of company safety culture
- Creating of driver scorecards
- Offering driver incentives and ongoing training
Tips to Create Safe Fleet Drivers
Gaither said one of the critical components for success in fleet safety involves creation of a driver safety plan. But communication of the plan is just as important.
“Whatever the safety message or policy is, it has to get out early and often. Even in recruitment stages and certainly during orientation – stick to your guns in orientation,” Gaither said. Both Read and Gaither also shared these tips to create safe fleet drivers.
Telematics and Driver Training
These tips relate to the use of advanced technology with fleet vehicles and getting drivers engaged with them.
- Let the drivers know immediately what tech is in the vehicles and how it works – what it will and will not do.
- Focus on key issues such as speeding, which greatly increases the likelihood and severity of crashes. A focus on core skills is important because 90% of all accidents are caused by an error.
- In the use of video telematics, it’s important to have an inward-facing camera to show what a driver was doing before a crash occurs, even when the driver is not at fault.
- ADAS systems are becoming more important as the AI used in them rapidly improves. They offer a good return on investment.
The Importance of Transparency
The relationship between fleet managers and drivers rests largely on the commitment to total transparency in how driver scorecards are created and used.
- During implementation and orientation, spend time explaining why the tech was bought and what problems it has improved.
- Fleets should make the practice of disclosure, transparency and honesty a continuous part of driver training and interactions.
- Fleets should create driver scorecards that use measurable and verifiable data.
- Managers should show drivers the dashboard, explain how it works and show how driver scores are calculated.
- For drivers who don’t improve, make decisions early and from the top.
- Limit the number of people who can watch flagged videos and keep them private.
Rewarding Good Drivers
Drivers perform better when they know they can earn bonuses and rewards through their performance.
- Incentivize drivers by implementing a bonus program for good performance
- Show drivers examples of past bonuses and safety awards received from the company.
- Allow drivers the chance to question safety staff when they disagree, but only if they are doing so in an effort to improve
- The key is listening to the drivers and treating them with respect. Drivers know their opinions matter and become more invested in safety programs when they know company leaders listen to them.
To ensure that all these factors come together to create safe fleet drivers, it’s important for fleet managers to stick to their policy. When bad situations occur, it’s important for fleets to show how they manage driver safety in a consistent manner. Exceptions can end up in court when accidents happen.