According to the FMCSA, large truck collisions, on average, cost approximately $91,000. In the case of fatalities, the cost jumps up to $3.6 million. This is enough to potentially cripple any trucking business.
Safety is one of the most important concerns for fleets of all sizes. Apart from the above-mentioned monetary fines, in case of an accident, fleets also have to deal with bad press, vehicle downtime, and potential lawsuits.
There are several reasons why fleets should invest in a fleet safety program. It is a long-term investment that pays off in the form of better accountability, increased fleet safety, fewer collisions and potential liabilities and reduced operational expenditures.
Here are 6 key elements that an effective fleet safety program should have.
1. Hiring safe drivers
An effective fleet safety program begins with the driver recruitment process. You need to screen and select drivers carefully.
The idea is to build a reliable and safe team of drivers who understand the importance of safety and prioritize it as much as possible.
You should look into the employment history, social security number, drug/alcohol violation history, motor vehicle reports, and pre-employment drug testing when hiring drivers.
An effective driver recruitment process can also help with improving the driver retention rate. It does so by ensuring you are hiring drivers who have the same vision, work ethic, and attitudes that most other drivers in your fleet have.
According to FreightWaves, the average cost of driver turnover is $11,500 per driver. By refining and improving the driver recruitment process, you can make a direct impact on the profitability of your trucking business.
2. A comprehensive driver training program
After assembling a team of safe and reliable drivers, the next step is to train them.
Driver training not only reduces the possibility of road accidents, but it also standardizes processes that drivers follow for smooth operations. From communication to certain driving habits, a comprehensive driver training program should cover everything.
Driver coaching can be a huge administrative burden, so make sure you’re using the right tools to simplify the driver training process.
3. Monitoring driver performance and behavior
An effective fleet safety program requires regular monitoring of driver performance and behavior to ensure that drivers are following the fleet safety guidelines and driving safely.
If you are a KeepTruckin customer, the easiest way to keep an eye on driver performance and behavior is by monitoring the driver safety scores section in the KeepTruckin Dashboard.
The KeepTruckin fleet management solution automatically monitors drivers for critical safety events, such as hard braking, excessive acceleration, and hard cornering, and flags risky driving behavior.
Based on how many times a driver triggers a critical safety event, the driver’s safety score is calculated. All the drivers are ranked according to their performance and safety scores, which makes it easier for fleet and safety managers to identify drivers who require coaching.
When analyzing driver safety scores and critical safety events, it is important to take into account the roads they drive on. Certain roads are trickier and may lead to more critical safety events.
We were able to analyze our data and identify the top 10 states with the highest incidents of hard braking, excessive acceleration, and hard cornering.
4. Encouraging safe driving practices
An effective, long-term, and sustainable fleet safety program requires active and continuous participation from all drivers. This is why it is important to regularly remind and encourage drivers to follow safe driving practices.
One of the most effective and motivating tools is to have a performance-based compensation or reward system. Through this system, you can incentivize good performance with a monetary reward (e.g., safety bonuses) or non-monetary rewards (e.g., additional vacation time).
With the help of driver scorecards, you can track the performance of drivers over time, identify drivers with the highest safety scores, and recognize improvement over a period of time. A performance-based compensation system may lead to a more safe, reliable, and motivated work environment, which can also improve the driver retention rate and overall driver happiness.
5. Vehicle maintenance
In order to create an effective fleet safety program, you also need to make sure that all the vehicles are safe and in good health. Routine inspection helps prevent unplanned breakdowns and is an important component part of a fleet safety program.
Catch maintenance issues as early as possible. A fleet management system can automatically monitor fault codes and instantly alert safety officers and drivers in real-time.
Since drivers are usually on the road, a mobile-based and customizable vehicle inspection process would also make it more accessible and driver-friendly. Empowering your drivers with an easy way to perform inspections may increase driver participation, which is a critical component of any fleet safety program.
6. A continued focus on safety
The importance of safety needs to be reiterated on a regular basis.
Share weekly or monthly safety tips with your drivers via emails. Attending safety conferences is also another way to reinforce the importance of safety.
You can also initiate programs that highlight the safest driver of the month to motivate other drivers.
An effective fleet safety program is a viable investment
The road to improving fleet safety may be a long one, but it starts with a robust fleet safety program. An effective fleet safety program is a viable investment that may save your fleet a lot of money in the long run and ensure smooth operations.
To learn more about safety and fleet safety programs, read the following blog posts:
- KeepTruckin features help fleets supercharge safety
- 7 driving safety tips to keep you safe on the road
- 7 ways to create and maintain a culture of safety with your drivers
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