As protests continue across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, fleets face practical concerns such as drivers moving into unsafe conditions in some areas. Businesses have quickly put fleet safety tips into place that can keep your drivers safe during this time of unrest.
It’s an important step. Even the midst of the protests, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, fleet managers and drivers make every effort to meet delivery schedules. These practical supply chain concerns continue even as the protests continue.
Fleet managers have the routing and dispatch technology to find the best routes that can keep drivers safe during the protests. But they also will want to share tips with drivers and other employees on how to stay safe during this uncertain and volatile period.
Tips That Can Keep Drivers Safe
The American Trucking Associations has released a series of tips to keep your drivers safe as the protests continue across the country. While fleet managers and drivers cannot plan for every situation, following smart guidelines can keep employees and vehicles protected.
Call the police. Working with fleet managers, drivers should attempt to avoid any areas where people have gathered for protests or demonstrations. But if drivers see an emergency situation, they should immediately notify law enforcement by calling 911.
Plan for road closures. In normal times, fleet managers and drivers plan ahead in case of road closures. But with large groups of people blocking roads in cities across the country, they can count on road closures in some cities. Finding alternative routes is key.
Communication is critical. Things change rapidly when large numbers of protesters are involved. If driving near an area of protests, drivers should stay in close contact with dispatchers. They also can monitor local news to make sure routes are open to their destination. Either dispatchers or the driver can contact the delivery location to get the latest information on traffic conditions.
Timing of deliveries. Most of the violence, looting and rioting has happened at night. Fleet managers should plan to make delivers in areas of unrest during the day. If they must travel at night, park in well-lit areas away from crowds.
Don’t leave the cab. Fleets should use all the technology at their disposal to make pre-trip inspections, so drivers do not experience a breakdown in areas of unrest – that keeps drivers from having to exit the vehicle. When arriving at a destination, drivers should assess the situation before leaving the cab. They should abort the delivery if it’s too dangerous. Doors and windows should remain locked. Drivers should remove keys from unattended vehicles.
In a crowd. If drivers encounter people gathered to protest, they should stop and not attempt to drive through. They can use their in-cab camera to document their surroundings. They should not interact with or provoke the crowd in any way.
Getting Trapped In A Crowd
It’s impossible to prepare for every situation when events are so fluid. The worst case scenario happens if a driver or other employees find themselves trapped in a crowd. If that happens, the first order of business is to protect yourself and get to safety as soon as possible.
Avoiding this situation requires staying alert and aware of the environment. By their nature, large crowds of people change quickly. Keep an eye out for the most agitated parts of the crowd and steer clear.
Employees caught in a crowd should not engage with them, even if the crowd taunts and insults them. They should move away quickly, but avoid moving toward buildings or barriers that limit where they can move. In other words, don’t back yourself into a corner.
Dropped items should be left unless they are critical, because bending to pick them up increases the risk of getting knocked to the ground. Anyone knocked to the ground should crawl with the movement of the crowd until they can get back up. In the worst case where they cannot get up, they should curl their body into a ball and cover their head, then get up when the opportunity presents itself. These types of tips may seem extreme, but news reports have already shown people throwing bricks at trucks, protesters blocking roadways and even crowds stealing freight from trucks. During this time of unrest, fleet managers will continue to make the safety of their drivers and employees a priority.