Safety effects the entire business – vehicles, maintenance, operations, and of course your drivers, however, despite advancements in technology to improve
vehicle safety, the number one cause of accidents is the driver.
What’s clear is that safety needs to begin with drivers, and implementing these five techniques will help to improve performance and create better drivers:
Identify behaviours that increase risk
Unsurprisingly, distracted driving is high on the list.
Despite the law change in which now makes it an offence to operate an electronic device such as a mobile phone and even going ‘hands free’ considered a distraction.
A survey carried out found that despite the law, 23% admit speaking illegally on a handheld phone and 15% say that the new penalties hasn’t made them stop.
Alcohol is another contributing factor towards transportation accidents and fatalities. This is closely followed by issues relating to the legalisation of marijuana, the increased use of synthetic drugs and the dramatic rise in over-the-counter prescription and medication abuse.
Fatigue can also be just as deadly as alcohol and drug impairment. Fatigue regularly causes accidents which are preventable if drivers, including commercial vehicle operators, don’t get adequate rest.
Educate your drivers
Training is one of the most effective techniques for creating better drivers. Engaging drivers in education makes them aware of the dangers of
distracted, fatigued and impaired driving.
Adoption of your company policies
Company policies relating to the safe operation of vehicles establishes a uniform understanding of your expectations.
A good example is a policy that covers mobile phone use (or the use of any mobile electronic device) while operating a company owned, leased or personal vehicle on company business. Similarly, a policy that requires drivers to be medically fit ensures that they have suitable health and fitness levels before driving a company vehicle.
Enforce the rules
A policy can only be effective if it is backed by the enforcement of real and established consequences for non-compliance. Drivers won’t alter their
unsafe driving practices simply because a policy is in place. It’s up to your Fleet Managers to enforce policies, regardless of any challenges or resistance
in doing so.
Improve performance with data management
The key to creating better drivers is to improve performance. To improve performance it is important to measure.
The ability to store driver information enables easier reporting on accident rates and behavior which in turn helps identify risk and reduce costly repairs, vehicle downtime and insurance premiums. Having a system in place that enables you to understand the causes of safety challenges means a better chance in finding and implementing possible solutions.
Data can also be used to help analyse risk, develop effective policies and procedures, identify training needs and ensure compliance.
Reducing costs and improving driver safety are not mutually exclusive, however encouraging safe driving practices can make the difference. Long term, it not only lowers costs but also improves employee satisfaction, company reputation and image.
Ensuring you have a strategy to reduce the risk of road accidents in your fleet should be a priority.