3 Ways Fleet Companies Can Improve Commercial Driver Safety & Fleet Vehicle Safety
Commercial trucking is an industry that can be fraught with hazards and risks for both the commercial driver and the fleet vehicle alike. Luckily, there are several different ways for fleet companies to manage and mitigate these occupational risks.
The best ways to help your fleet drivers practice vehicle safety is through proactive, preventative action and management. Below, you’ll find three practical ways that fleet companies can improve fleet driver and vehicle safety.
1. Establish Safety Policies & Guidelines
One of the best ways to help your drivers practice vehicle safety is through proactive, preventative action. If you haven’t already, your fleet company should create a comprehensive document (or series of documents) encompassing any and all applicable commercial driver safety policies. Anyone with permission to operate a fleet vehicle for your company should sign a statement acknowledging receipt and understanding of these safety policies.
Examples of topics to include in your vehicle safety policy include: safety rules covering distracted driving, acceptable and unacceptable use of cell phones and other mobile devices, rules for seat belt use and passengers, and regulations for driver fatigue and driving in adverse weather conditions.
2. Offer Various Types of Driver Safety Training
Another important way fleet companies can improve commercial driver safety is through training. By offering different types of trainings across a variety of topics and safety areas, you can promote a culture of driver safety and decrease on-the-road liability and risk.
You should also decide whether or not to make each training program mandatory or optional. If your vehicle safety training programs will be optional, consider offering incentives to fleet drivers who complete the training.
Specific commercial driver safety training programs you may want to implement include:
- First Aid/CPR Training & Certifications
- Emergency Response Training
- Defensive Driving Training
- Cargo-Specific Training (i.e. transporting HazMat or other sensitive cargo)
- Mental & Physical Health & Wellness Education
Another way that fleet companies can promote commercial vehicle safety is through established maintenance programs. There are three primary types of commercial vehicle maintenance to be aware of and consider for your fleet.
- Preventive Maintenance: this type of maintenance is focused on maintaining the overall “health” and efficiency of a fleet vehicle. This usually can be done through regulary required inspections by a trained fleet driver. Examples of preventive maintenance include: daily tests and inspection of brakes, tires (including treads and pressure), horns, mirrors, etc.
- Routine Maintenance: similar to preventive maintenance, this type of maintenance is dedicated to service and replacement of various parts of a fleet vehicle. By conducting regular mileage-based and vehicle age-based maintenance checks and services, you can prevent many vehicle safety issues or catch them before they become more severe and costly. Examples of routine maintenance include: oil changes, tire rotations/replacements, parts replacements, engine cleanings, etc.
- Emergency Maintenance: even with the most conscientious maintenance program and commercial driver inspections, unexpected things can still happen: fleet vehicles can still break down or be involved in a traffic incident. That’s why it’s important to have an emergency maintenance program in place. This program should cover all aspects of potential emergency situations, from what to do if a fleet driver is involved in an accident to who to call for emergency roadside assistance in the case of unexpected engine troubles.
By taking these proactive steps, trucking companies and fleet managers can minimize the risks associated with the commercial trucking industry and, at the same time, actively work to promote both driver safety and fleet vehicle safety.