By John Carione, Vice President of Marketing, IntelliShift
At the top of every fleet manager’s list of concerns is safety. A strong safety program can protect not just your equipment and brand, but also your most important asset – your drivers and operators. By now, most organizations with a fleet of any size have some elements of a safety program in place. However, fleet safety programs must be both holistic and should never be “set and forget.”
With any safety program, it’s important to ensure that the foundational groundwork is in place. First, does your organization have a well-articulated definition of what safety means? Does everyone in your organization understand this definition? Ensure you’ve established clear goals and policies to reach them. Then, communicate, demonstrate, and reinforce this safety-centric approach so that it becomes engrained in your company’s culture. Encourage participation from every team member.
Once you’ve set this groundwork in place, it’s then time to look for any gaps in your existing program. Specifically, do all drivers have safety metrics they are accountable for hitting? Are drivers coached on safety behavior? What professional development takes place to teach and encourage a safety mindset?
An important piece of any fleet safety program is the coaching and training of driver behavior while they are on the road. Examining evidence such as video footage after an incident takes place can help to exonerate drivers, but taking a more proactive approach can help prevent incidents from happening in the first place. For example, pairing dashcams with an artificial intelligence (AI) video capability can alert drivers with in-cab alerts and on-going coaching when high-risk behaviors happen such as smoking, phone use, dozing off, lane departure, unsafe following distance, or a forward collision hazard.
Pairing this proactive coaching with driver scorecards throughout your fleet can further reinforce your safety-focused culture and ingrain it in a driver’s daily activities. Scorecards also help benchmark against company safety goals and should be configurable to set thresholds for actions such as speeding, hard braking, aggressive turning, and excessive idling.
Be sure to pair new technology enabling your safety program with strong communication to your drivers. As with anything new, it’s best to select a few drivers to pilot new technology and serve as trusted peer champions. Establish regular check-ins to answer any questions and make process suggestions. Not only will you have the chance to address concerns before the full roll-out, but you’ll have insight into questions that arise once the technology is fully in place. Doing so will allow you to build trust through transparency.
In addition to up-front communication, incentivizing and rewarding behaviors tied to your organization’s safety scorecards can get drivers on board. Gamification of scorecards by giving drivers an opportunity to earn rewards or recognition and the creation of a safety leaderboard are two ways of adding incentives to your safety program.
With the pool of available drivers continuing to shrink, this open communication about how your safety program benefits not only the company but the drivers themselves is critical. To learn tips for boosting driver retention, listen to IntelliShift’s podcast at https://go.intellishift.com/podcast-driver-retention-fleetmgmtweekly/.