From the products we deliver to the drivers who transport them, discover actionable fleet safety tips and efficient ways fleet managers can empower drivers to drive safer.
For many fleet businesses, drivers are instrumental in keeping everything up and running. Safety affects the entire business, so how drivers behave can have a huge impact on a business’s finances, reputation and even customer relationships.
It is the responsibility of your fleet managers to follow safety regulations set out by the business. To develop a solid safety culture throughout the business you need the right fleet system and process to ensure your drivers are productive, safe and compliant.
If you’ve ever wondered ‘who is a fleet driver and what is their purpose?’ Well, their skills are sought-out and contribute to the business like every other employee. Fleet drivers work to keep the business running and are often the middleman between the business and customers. They are employees who drive cars, trucks, or other vehicles, picking up and dropping off cargo, people, various items or raw materials within a factory, site or on the road.
To be eligible to transport items, the following qualifications are required:
While transporting, drivers can become distracted, practice unsafe driving behaviour or face many challenges that might hinder or delay delivery. These issues could be anything from dealing with vehicle maintenance problems, like tyre punctures, or unforeseen criminal activity that puts the driver’s life, other motorist and cargo in possible danger.
This brings up the age-old question asked throughout the transport industry: How do we keep our drivers safer?
Effective driver management through fleet systems can save your company considerable time and money, all while modernising your fleet with some technological help. While fleet systems are mainly targeted at bettering a manager’s daily responsibilities, it’s important to also use technological innovations to positively impact fleet drivers.
Fleet management software can be seen as a driver management tool that has the power to not only optimise delivery workflow but also improve driver skills, awareness and behaviour on the road, all benefits drivers can use to better their driving performance.
As a fleet owner or a fleet manager, it’s important to protect your fleet – namely, your drivers and vehicles. To do this, you need to know exactly which behaviours to address; and which technique you can use to help improve them.
Here are four useful techniques to help fleet managers better manage their fleet:
This prepares drivers with basic course materials for all circumstances aligned with driver safety, including how to handle traffic, road law compliance and weather conditions. Fleet drivers occupy more time on the roads than average commuters, so fleet management is needed to maintain safety measures for the sake of the drivers, vehicles in use and the transported items.
This is known as a fleet manager’s no.1 method of managing operations. It can help you optimise and streamline your entire operations. It provides advanced data and insights that help managers monitor and enhances driver behaviour, vehicle safety and good maintenance practices. This results in a more efficient, higher-performing fleet that can continue to grow as a business.
Asset monitoring systems play an integral part in your driver management and make keeping track of fleet vehicles that much easier. This system uses GPS location technology to help you pinpoint your vehicles and give you driver and vehicle behaviour insights. Most Industry-leading vehicle tracking systems can automatically present this information on a user-friendly interface, which fleet managers can view via desktop, tablet and mobile.
These are often the first steps in improving driver behaviour and implementing road safety practices. Safety programs are available through in-house personnel or subcontracting third-party references through accredited institutions. The purpose of these programs is to foster morale and instil mandatory driver training skills.
To avoid losing money in the case of accidents or general poor productivity, businesses should invest in a fleet management system and a fleet safety program. The long-term investment of this pays off through better accountability, improved fleet safety, and promotes fewer collisions which all result in reduced operating costs.
These are a few key elements that contribute to an effective fleet safety program:
1. Hiring responsible drivers
An effective fleet safety program begins with the driver recruitment process. Start by finding the right drivers that meet the business’s fleet driver standards. Having a skilled driver with experience in driving fleet trucks would be beneficial.
The idea is to build a reliable and safe team of skilled drivers who understand the importance of fleet safety and prioritise it as much as possible. Hiring drivers who are like-minded in terms of work ethic, attitude and driving skills might result in having a low fleet driver turnover rate.
2. Having a comprehensive driver training program
After assembling a team of safe and reliable drivers, the next step is to train them.
Cartrack has a fleet management training course for fleet managers looking to maximise productivity, as well as offers training facilities for drivers to better improve their driving skills and behaviour.
The training of drivers not only reduces the possibility of accidents on the road but also sets a standard for safe driving among the fleet, ensuring smooth operations.
3. Monitoring driver performance and behaviour
Effective fleet safety programs require the use of high-end fleet management software that allows fleet managers to efficiently monitor all fleet activity. Regular monitoring of driver performance and driver behaviour ensures all drivers are following the fleet safety guidelines and driving safely.
As a Cartrack customer, you’d have the benefit of using an AI-powered camera system that monitors drivers while on the road. With this, you could get a full view of your drivers, vehicles and cargo in transit, and receive alerts on any risky driving behaviour or possible collisions.
You can also use driver scorecards to review their performance, which makes it easier for fleet managers to identify drivers who require further coaching.
4. Vehicle maintenance
Having routine inspections of fleet vehicles is also an essential part of proper fleet management. Now that you’ve trained your drivers to exercise safe driving behaviours, you need to equip them with vehicles that are in tip-top shape.
This will help prevent unforeseen breakdowns and accidents that result from faulty equipment or poorly maintained parts. Plus, regular vehicle monitoring will lower maintenance costs.
5. Keep a continued focus on fleet safety
The importance of overall fleet safety needs to be repeated regularly. With constant use of safety procedures, this idea will become the norm and integrate itself into the business’s culture.
Sharing important fleet safety metrics with your drivers, fleet managers, and safety officers frequently is also recommended. Seeing the benefits that the safety program brings will validate the effectiveness of the fleet safety program. The habit will continue and be properly implemented into the training programs of new drivers.
Your drivers are the most valuable assets of your fleet business. How they behave on the road is a direct reflection of your business culture. Bad driving paints a negative picture for potential customers driving alongside the branded vehicle. And bad customer service does the same thing since drivers are often the first interaction customers receive from a business after ordering/partnering with them.
So, if you wish to streamline your operations and take your business a step further, you must improve fleet driver behaviour first through driving behaviour monitoring and training.
For this, you need to know exactly which behaviours to address; this way, you can adjust your coaching accordingly, and be effective in instilling a safe driving mindset among your employees. This will be most effective if you remember that not all drivers struggle with the same thing and learn at different paces.
By putting driver safety and empowerment at the centre of training programs!
A successful training program results in fleet drivers who can recognise their risky driving behaviours and can swiftly correct them. Taking initiative puts fleet drivers in the best position to help keep their fleet on track during challenging times and gives their managers one less thing to worry about.
This long-term investment pays off through:
Safety needs to begin with fleet managers, implementing a few techniques will help to improve performance and create safer drivers:
The more a driver is distracted while on the road, the more likely an accident will occur. Though driving for hours on end all day might be tiring, a self-aware, conscious driver is always better than one who isn’t.
Identify the drivers’ distractions accordingly, whether it’s dangerous actions like cell phone use, fatigue etc. With Cartrack’s smart AI-powered cameras, these behaviours can be quickly identified and help:
The key to creating better drivers is to improve performance. A fleet management system can store driver information, enabling easier reporting on accident rates and behaviour, which 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 of finding and implementing possible solutions. Fleet driver management software keeps your driver records up-to-date, organised and easily accessible for these purposes.
A good management system doesn’t just help to inform you about your drivers’ live locations, it also helps by cutting the middleman out and communicating directly with drivers.
In the past, manager-to-driver communication was inefficient and mostly required manual communication through calling/texting. Luckily fleet management software has upgraded this process to GPS live locations, instant communication and other benefits that include:
Sometimes, something as simple as rewarding drivers who practise safe road behaviour is all the motivation needed to encourage self-awareness and improvement.
Just telling your crew to drive safely is sometimes not enough to improve fleet driver behaviour. Aside from instructions, you should also consider instilling good driving habits that can be measured up to notable results. Then, reward good driving habits.
A reward program that provides incentives or bonuses for their commitment is an effective way of attracting and retaining motivated, engaged, and high-performing drivers.
Just keep in mind that change doesn’t occur overnight, improving your fleet drivers’ behaviour needs patience from both sides.
To that end, a vehicle management system, which is based on telematics technology, like Cartrack’s complete fleet management solutions, can make all the difference. This can bring real-time insights that can help you develop a driver safety training plan and so much more.
Cartrack gives you the opportunity to focus its provided fleet management features towards driver safety and empowerment.
Fleet managers can get more out of Cartrack by taking part in their fleet management training program and gaining the necessary skills to better manage and improve their fleet.
Visit cartrack.co.za for more information.