How to effectively manage fleet safety

Almost a third of fatal road accidents in the UK involve somebody driving for work. When you look at the figures for serious injuries, you can see that around a quarter involve somebody driving for work.  For many of us driving is the most dangerous workplace activity we undertake, but do you and your business prioritise fleet safety?

Obviously, safety is the number one reason for fleet managers to prioritise fleet safety. But also consider the vast costs involved in dealing with the aftermath of accidents, not to mention the time involved. It certainly amounts to more than the cost of implementing a robust fleet safety strategy. But how can you implement such a strategy and ensure that it is maintained?

1. Know your drivers

Seems simple. But do you really know who is driving your fleet vehicles and what they are using them for? Do you know if they use their vehicle to commute? Do you know what type of licence they all have?  Do you know their driving habits?

It’s imperative to get a firm understanding of all of this information, so you can make informed decisions about issues such as safety, advanced driving training and driver risk assessments.

2. Train your drivers

Once you’ve got to know your drivers and their behaviour, you need to ensure they are all correctly trained and that training is maintained.  The number one reason for this is that it will help prevent accidents and injuries by improving driver performance, as well as saving costs and increasing profits.  Driver training enables you to standardise processes for communicating safety regulations, establishing effective defensive driving habits and teaching general rules of the road, specific to your fleet’s vehicle types.

The best drivers are constantly learning and a core element of this is defensive driving. This teaches an efficient approach to hazards and defensive driving techniques, helping drivers to minimise risk whilst driving.  This training can be applied to drivers of cars, vans and HGVs

3. Assess your drivers

It’s all very well getting your drivers trained but it’s equally as important to consistently monitor them.  Employers have a duty of care to carry out driver risk assessments. Driver risk assessments are a legal requirement and help you prioritise the individuals most in need of driver training.

Poor driver behaviour can cost your company a lot of money. For instance, incorrect use of brakes— e.g. a vehicle deceleration greater than seven feet per second— is among the biggest contributors to fleet-related fuel waste. It wastes fuel as well as being bad for the environment.

A software tool such as Driver Profiler enables you to gain excellent insights into the risk posed by drivers. It allows managers to compare individuals and make decisions on the provision of driver training.  It also serves as an effective recruitment exercise ensuring drivers fit the required profile.  Best of all, it takes less than 15 minutes for drivers to complete.

4. Improve your drivers

Once you’ve trained and assessed your drivers you should have a firm understanding of their relative capabilities. At the lower end of the ladder, you can identify training needs, but what can you do with your best drivers?  How about taking them to the next level and turning them into advanced drivers or riders, or even turning them into trainers?  RoSPA’s Instructor and Assessor courses help you to instruct others to the high standard demanded of RoSPA trainers.

Investing in an effective safety programme is an investment in your fleet itself. While advanced driver training may seem like an unnecessary uses of resources, in the long run it will save your fleet a lot of money in operational, fuel and personnel costs.

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