4 Ways to identify & recognize safe fleet drivers
February 22, 2023
A recent report1 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined all crashes in the U.S. over the course of one year that resulted in over 36,000 deaths, 4.5 million injuries, 23 million damaged vehicles and $340 billion in associated costs.
For a fleet whose business relies on its vehicles and drivers, these debilitating numbers represent what could be, without an effective fleet safety program, significant impacts to the cost, productivity and efficiency of its fleet operations. Implementing and upholding a safety program contributes to a stronger overall fleet safety culture which can reduce corporate risk and improve driver satisfaction.
By partnering with Element Fleet Management’s team of safety experts to develop and employ a tailored fleet safety program, you can realize significant safety improvements in your fleet.
Why is fleet safety important?
Fleet vehicles and drivers are critical assets that contribute to the overall success of your business and its objectives. Effectively monitoring and managing fleet driver and vehicle safety can substantially reduce collisions and thus protect the welfare of your fleet drivers and lessen company risks and associated expenses.
Additionally, a fleet safety program provides clear guidelines and strategies that prioritize the importance of safe driving behaviors which can contribute to driver retention, regulate the use of a company vehicle and optimize fleet vehicle operations.
What are best practices for a fleet driver safety program?
All drivers are responsible for using their vehicles in accordance with the law, taking responsibility for their driving behaviors and maintaining awareness of others on the road. For fleets, there are additional safeguards and best practices for drivers and fleet managers to ensure safe driving habits while operating a company vehicle.
Connected Fleet solutions provide a robust driver profile view that can easily identify:
- High risk pre-hires, employees and secondary drivers,
- Driving behaviors that increase company risk,
- Opportunities for fleet driver safety training and more.
Driver record management and monitoring
For fleets, a key component of ensuring ongoing fleet safety is by continuously monitoring motor vehicle records (MVRs) and requiring frequent training and policy compliance acknowledgment.
According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators2 (AAMVA), 7% of U.S. drivers have suspended licenses. Of them, 75% continue to drive despite the suspension. For a fleet, gaining access to license statuses through MVR monitoring can reduce your risk of hiring or retaining a driver without a valid driver’s license.
Identifying risky driving behaviors
Pin-pointing dangerous driving behaviors and working with drivers on improving such behavior is essential to protecting your company from risk and avoiding accident-related expenses. These are some of the behaviors that pose increased potential for accidents and greater severity, and can cost your company thousands of dollars:
- Phone use while driving
- Hard braking
- Hard cornering
- Harsh acceleration
- Seat belt use
While these types of driving behaviors could go undetected for a fleet managing hundreds or thousands of vehicles, DriverCare CoPilot, our mobile telematics safety solution, and DriverCare Connect, our connected vehicle safety solution, can make it easy to identify driving habits such as these and quickly action upon improving them. Clients enrolled in Element’s safety solutions experience an average 21% reduction in collision rates
Recognize safe fleet drivers
It’s no secret that people appreciate being recognized for a job well done and recognition can have continued positive effect on performance. Measuring and celebrating safe fleet driver behavior can be just as important as working with drivers to improve poor driving habits.
Besides identifying risky drivers, DriverCare CoPilot and DriverCare Connect also provides clear visibility to those fleet drivers who follow the guidelines of your fleet safety program and contribute to an overall safety culture within your organization.
Consistency is key when it comes to safe driver recognition and making it an official part of your fleet safety program and policies can further reinforce the importance of safe driving and set expectations with fleet drivers. It also holds fleet managers accountable for recognizing safe driving within the set guidelines. Key considerations when developing a safe fleet driver recognition program include:
- Motivation and improvement – Ensure your safe driver recognition plan is genuine and encouraging to foster a strong safety culture and a desire for drivers to achieve recognition
- Recognition framework – Clearly outline the fleet driver actions, milestones and behaviors that will be recognized, and even those that need to be addressed for improvements
- Incentivization – Plan how fleet drivers will be rewarded for safe driving and improved performance. Incentives can include leadership “thank you,” gift cards, company branded merchandise and cash bonuses.
Fleet driver safety training
An essential aspect of an effective fleet safety program is proper education and training. Ensuring your fleet drivers are trained to know what to look for while driving can help them prevent collisions. When a driver’s negative event can be quickly followed by remediation, training effectiveness increases.
Both DriverCare CoPilot and DriverCare Connect automatically assign training to drivers whose behaviors cross into higher risk levels. This quick remediation helps drivers self-manage their behaviors and develop the skills they need to stay safe on the roads.
Proactive safety training programs are most successful when they are administered regularly, including up-front training to provide a complete risk picture and ongoing training that is up to date with current regulations and policies. Additionally, frequent check-ins of fleet managers with fleet drivers provide opportunities to give feedback, including coaching and recognition as needed.
Reporting safety incidents
Your fleet safety program should contain a process for drivers to follow to help you mitigate loss when a collision happens. Drivers should take the appropriate steps when they are involved in a collision by reporting the incident according to your company policy. Proper reporting provides opportunity to investigate the incident, determine cause and fault, and identify how to get drivers and vehicles back on the road with limited downtime.
Element’s in-house collision experts help fleets monitor the full repair process following a collision, saving our clients an average 8-10% per claim.
How does fleet safety save money?
Unsafe driving habits can cause avoidable increases to your fleet budget. Implementation of a fleet safety program can save your fleet money in these areas:
- Collision repairs and maintenance costs
- Heightened fleet vehicle acquisition and depreciation costs
- Driver downtime and turnover costs
- Brand reputation impacts caused by branded-vehicle collisions
Driver safety case study
This driver safety case study demonstrates the advantages you can experience by developing a fleet safety program to improve accident rate, reduce risk and save money.
A services fleet expressed concerns about their high 16.4% collision rate and a desire to partner with Element to reduce these incidents and the risks and costs associated with them.
Element helped the client develop and implement a tailored safety training program by implementing DriverCare Risk Manager across their entire fleet. Included in this program are:
Within five years, the fleet realized a significant 29.3% decrease in collision rates which is an estimated 1,109 avoided collisions and repair avoidance savings of $3.4M just in bent metal costs alone.
Delivering real results through effective fleet safety programs
No matter the size or industry of your fleet, a fleet safety program can help you improve your fleet’s safety culture and results and reduce company risk and associated costs. Contact Element Fleet Management to identify the safety program that is right for your fleet.
1 NHTSA: Traffic Crashes Cost America $340 Billion in 2019
2American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators: Reducing Suspended Drivers and Alternative Reinstatement Best Practices