10 Tips For Improving Fleet Safety
Regular, preventive fleet maintenance is essential, but beyond that there’s more you can do.
We have the utmost respect for anyone who manages an entire fleet of vehicles. Managing and maintaining vehicles is one thing, but scheduling and overseeing a crew of people is no easy task. More than that, controlling costs and keeping everyone safe is a never-ending battle. And sometimes it can feel like a battle you are fighting alone. So we wanted to relay 10 Tips For Improving Fleet Safety for those of you who are in the trenches day in and day out.
You already know the basics. Like staying ahead of any regularly scheduled maintenance, tire issues, fluid levels, etc… The devastation comes in the form of collisions. A considerably small crash can be catastrophic when it comes to insurance expenses and litigation. Every year there are about 90,000 crashes involving large trucks, most of which are commercial/fleet vehicles. This tallies up to nearly $100 Billion annually. A collision can cripple your business.
Michael Nischan is the Vice President of Transportation and Logistics Risk Control at EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants. He works nationally to protect fleet owners and managers from preventable accidents and expensive legal fees. This is his list to improve your chances.
10 Tips For Improving Fleet Safety
- Have an accountable, knowledgeable team for risk management, compliance and safety. A team can successfully implement risk and operational process throughout your organization when it understands the role risk plays in daily operations.
- Create and utilize a customized transportation management program. Educate everyone—executives, managers, drivers and support staff—on safety issues in a standardized process. This ensures everyone understands what’s expected.
- Communicate policies to drivers; provide a driver handbook. Regulations don’t require management programs, but it’s difficult to administer policies, procedures and expectations without one. Start with the minimum—a handbook for every driver.
- Utilize a training program for management and drivers. Just because someone has transportation experience doesn’t mean they know how you expect them to do it. Indoctrinate everyone so your policies and procedures are clear.
- Keep management and training programs current. Keep your content up to date as regulatory changes occur. Operating under current regulatory requirements and staying current with trends and best practices is a must.
- Use standardized processes to hire and retain the best drivers. Good drivers are in short supply. Standardized processes will help you attract and retain the best drivers by demonstrating they work for a company that cares about them, their safety and their equipment.
- Require initial road tests for drivers; evaluations after events/collisions. Initial road tests give visibility into a candidate’s driving performance and an opportunity to identify crash risk. If your driver is involved in a collision or near-event, always conduct a post-event road test to identify where additional training is needed.
- Utilize a pre-employment screening program. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s PSP provides additional crash and inspection data on driver candidates. An FMCSA study found that companies using PSP have 8% lower crash rates and 17% lower driver out-of-service rates.
- Educate drivers on health and wellness. Keeping drivers healthy means an efficient, productive workforce. Programs on smoking cessation, exercise and healthy weight control can make for better drivers and lower healthcare costs.
- Implement a solid post-crash response plan. We all dread a catastrophic crash, but without a plan there’s no ability to manage it. Have guidelines on preserving the scene, communicating with media and post-crash drug and alcohol testing. Clearly outline what the driver, company and management should do following a crash.
While some of these strategies can seem expensive on the surface, current studies indicate that these ten practices will deliver three to five times your initial investment. They pay for themselves up to five times over, especially as your business grows. If your business is currently experiencing a growth spurt, or is in need of any other financial guidance to limit expenses, please contact us. We are happy to help steer you in the right direction.