Being a Fleet Manager Isn’t Easy
As a fleet manager, it can often be difficult to focus on safety while simultaneously dealing with the pressure to meet financial goals and accomplish business objectives. Hosting mandatory safety programs and keeping everything up to code may even seem like a waste of time when your drivers should be on the road instead.
However, promoting fleet safety shouldn’t be viewed as a separate activity, but instead an integral part of daily operations. Keeping both your drivers and your fleet safe will help you reduce overall costs and setbacks caused by injuries and damaged vehicles. Like we discussed in a previous article, a costly crash or collision affects your reputation and ability to complete deliveries, which can have a huge impact on your continued success as a company.
Now that we’ve discussed the value of fleet safety, let’s take a look at some of the most effective safety tips for fleet managers.
4 Effective Safety Tips for Fleet Managers:
1. Train New Drivers
Before ever entering one of your fleet vehicles, a new driver should be familiarized with your company’s safety policies in a classroom setting. Due to the astronomical cost of an accident, there’s simply no option to learn by trial and error. Instead, take plenty of time to train a new hire and ensure that they fully understand what is required of them.
With an increase in driver shortages, it can be tempting to bypass necessary training and place a driver in the cab to complete an overdue shipment. Resist the temptation to think short-term and consider the long-term costs of putting an untrained driver in one of your fleet vehicles. When you do the math, you’ll realize that it’s much cheaper to be patient and invest in proper safety training.
2. Encourage Communication
You’ve heard the worn-out phrase, “Communication is key” before. As overused as it may be, communicating with your employees is one of the top ways to promote safe driving behavior.
Clear communication with your drivers not only gives you an idea of how they’re performing but also lets them know how to correct their behavior and do their job better. By creating a culture of communication, you open employees up to receiving feedback and encourage them to ask questions when they don’t know what do in a certain situation.
Do keep in mind that good communication must go both ways. In other words, ask drivers to be honest with how they feel about their work, company policies, and even your own performance as a manager. All of these things will help drivers feel more willing to share their thoughts, but also more receptive to constructive criticism and correction.
3. Enforce Policies
Why wait until something goes wrong before you enforce your safety policies? Use warnings and take disciplinary measures when a driver makes dangerous or risky decisions on the road.
This doesn’t mean you should rule with an iron fist. Doing so will just create resentment from your drivers, resulting in even worse compliance. Instead, being swift and fair with judgment creates respect for the rules and lets drivers know that you’re serious about safety.
Proper training and good communication with drivers, however, should reduce the number of incidents and policy violations beforehand. Therefore, focus more on preventative measures to avoid constantly punishing or firing drivers for breaking the rules. When drivers know what’s expected of them and have respect for management and its rules, employee disciplinary action usually stays at a minimum.
4. Implement Technology
In addition to training, communication, and effective safety policies, technology is often necessary to ensure that your employees are engaging in safe driving behavior on the road. Using GPS systems and live dashcams in your fleet vehicles is like riding along with your drivers, yet less intrusive and allows you to be multiple places at once.
GPS systems monitor the location and speed of your vehicles, providing you with extra peace of mind and reducing the risk of dangerous or suspicious driver behavior. Live dashcams also give you a view inside the cab and on the road, which allows you to correct bad driving habits before they form. As a bonus, dashcams are always recording and can be used as evidence in the case of a crash.
Rather than using these devices as an “all-seeing eye” to spy on drivers, GPS systems and live dashcams are tools that help fleet managers enforce policies that are already put into place. Drivers that refer to these devices as intrusive or invasive are often the same ones that are lax about company policies and cut corners on safety.
As we wrote in our article, “3 Ways to Implement Driver Safety (That Your Drivers Won’t Hate)”, we talked about how to properly utilize these devices in your fleet while building trust with employees. The way in which you implement a dashcam or GPS in a vehicle is actually just as important as using them to monitor your drivers. Measuring positive driving behaviors and using gamification are just some of the ways you can reduce employee pushback towards these devices.
If you’d like to learn more about how Safety Track’s line of live dashcams and GPS systems can protect your fleet and your business, please visit our page.