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6 Tips for Creating a Corporate Driver Safety Program that You Can Feel Confident In

According to the CDC, crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths. In order to establish a safe work environment for your drivers and ensure they feel confident behind the wheel, you need to maintain a solid corporate driver safety program. While there are state and federal regulations in place that work to ensure only qualified drivers are navigating the road, these are considered the bare minimum when it comes to effectively mitigating risk. In order to elevate your safety culture and proactively protect your team, you need a more comprehensive approach.  

How do you establish and maintain a safety program that you feel confident in? It starts with following the six fleet safety tips that we walk through below. 

6 Tips for Establishing a Corporate Driver Safety Program 

1. Maintain a Rock-Solid Driver Safety Policy 

A driver safety policy is the foundation of your safety program. Whether you manage a large fleet, a team of commercial drivers or you’re a small-to-medium-sized company using non-commercial drivers – it’s critical that you have a policy in place that’s well-thought-out and enforced. A strongly enforced driver safety policy creates a lower incidence of preventable crashes and claims, as well as reductions in costs relating to insurance premiums and litigation. 

A driver safety policy should work to: 

  • Communicate and enforce driver responsibilities 
  • Set company-wide standards for how you define safety 
  • Cover any basic and unique policies and procedures that are critical to your company’s operations 

There are eight key components every driver safety policy should have:  

Free Driver Safety Policy Checklist:
Dive further into these 8 critical components and discover what gaps you may need to fill.

2. Gain Full Visibility of Poor Driving Behavior and Violations  

As we mentioned above, standards set in a driver safety policy need to be continuously enforced. How can you ensure that your drivers are following these rules every time they get behind the wheel? 

While some companies do have processes in place for analyzing driver behavior, many are outdated and create major gaps in visibility. 

This typically involves: 

  • Asking employees to self-report any violations, crashes and other incidents
  • Only reviewing MVRs on a quarterly, bi-annual or even annual basis 
  • Relying on disparate systems to review MVRs, CSA data, telematics devices and other sources 

The reliance on drivers to self-report their violations is a recipe for disaster, as many will withhold information with the fear that their job is in jeopardy.  

Manually pulling MVRs on an infrequent basis is also an incredibly risky game. An MVR only offers a single snapshot in time. As soon as it’s pulled, you are once again in the dark until the next review. So, if you’re pulling your MVRs annually, you won’t have insight into their drivers for another 364 days. We refer to this as the “visibility gap.” 

And even if you’re using separate programs and strategies to aggregate and analyze telematics data, monitor for MVR and CSA violations, maintain up-to-date driver profiles, keep track of crashes and claims, etc., it’s very likely that you’ll struggle to see the forest from the trees. 

These strategies are time-consuming, costly and leave immense room for risk due to a lack of accurate visibility and quick intervention. 

In order to close the gaps between pulls, proactive companies are relying on solutions that offer continuous MVR monitoring and real-time telematics alerts. These tools eliminate the dangerous waiting game, continuously alerting safety professionals when their drivers receive violations, suspensions or are involved in other dangerous driving activities. This allows them to act fast to remediate incidents with targeted interventions.  

Exploring Our Corporate Driver Safety Program Resources:
Free Guides, Templates, Webinars & More!

3. Implement Ongoing Driver Training Covering Fundamental Skills 

All employees benefit from frequent driver training.  

Did you know? According to our insights, fleets that commit to ongoing, monthly training have 50% fewer violations than those that only train twice a year.  

Regular training improves driver knowledge, retention and focus, helping to flatten what is referred to as “The Forgetting Curve.”  

The Forgetting Curve is a visual representation of the way that learned information can easily fade over time. It’s why even the most seasoned of drivers require consistent refreshers on fundamental skills. 

A proactive training program is a proven strategy to better protect your company’s greatest asset – your drivers – as well as your company as a whole.  

Unsure where to start? There are seven fundamentals of fleet defensive driver training (DEFENSE) that are crucial for every driver to review on an ongoing basis and prioritize. 

  1. DISTRACTIONS. Improvements in safety, comfort and technology lead a driver to believe they don’t need to devote their entire focus on the road, but they must be aware of their proper use and the dangers they can present.
  2. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. Drivers must use their turn signal, lights, horn, speed and other cues to ensure the vehicles around them know what they intend to do before making any maneuver.
  3. FATIGUE MANAGEMENT. Learning to identify early symptoms of fatigue will help drivers know when to stop and take a break – before it affects their ability to drive safely.
  4. EVALUATING SPACE. If drivers can maintain proper space around their vehicle at all times, they better protect themselves, their vehicle and can eliminate the likelihood of future collisions.
  5. NAVIGATING HAZARDS. The number of hazards on the road is growing quickly. Drivers need to be confident in identifying and appropriately reacting to them when they occur.
  6. SPEED MANAGEMENT. Speed management is more than just obeying the speed limit – drivers need to operate vehicles at a speed that allows them to handle any situation.
  7. ESSENTIAL PLANNING. Anytime a driver gets behind the wheel, they need to have a plan. This proactive mindset will help eliminate many of the issues that arise throughout the trip. 

As adverse driving conditions become more prevalent and challenging to navigate, companies must do everything in their power to ensure that safety is top of mind throughout their entire driver population. Drivers need to be aware of the dangers that surround them, as well as how to anticipate and respond to them appropriately. 

Watch Our Free Webinar:
The Fundamentals of Defensive Driving

4. Establish Intervention Strategies to Mitigate Risk

But while proactive training will work to mitigate risk, mistakes can and will still happen.  

NHTSA calculated that 94% of crashes are due to human behavior, while circumstances beyond the driver’s control, such as vehicle malfunction, environmental factors and other reasons, only account for 6% of crashes.  

The good news is that the majority of these crashes are still preventable. With the right insight and proper intervention, dangerous driving behavior can be addressed and corrected. 

To start, driver violations provide invaluable insight into which drivers are most likely to be involved in a claim within the next year. Having ongoing visibility into driving history can help companies identify who is engaging in high-risk driving behavior, as well as which of those drivers is the most likely to cause a crash. 

Our team at SambaSafety, a leading provider of driver risk management software, has evaluated the risk of millions of drivers over the past 20 years. We recently conducted a crash prediction study correlating MVR events with insurance claims. These results provide a clear indication as to which violations are the best leading indicators of future claims. 

Let’s highlight the riskiest violation: “failure to signal a lane change or turn.” At first glance, this is a seemingly minor violation; but the data proves it’s far riskier than it appears. When a driver receives a ticket for not using their signal, they are 113% more likely to be involved in a claim within the next year. 

Every mile an employee drives after receiving any of the violations highlighted in our chart puts the company at greater risk.  

By leveraging solutions that offer continuous MVR monitoring and real-time telematics alerts as we mentioned above, companies have the visibility needed to quickly intervene with high-risk drivers. Those with disqualifying violations can be immediately terminated, while drivers who generate alerts that still fall within a company’s safety policy can receive highly-targeted training that works to correct behaviors, and ultimately, prevent future crashes and claims. 

5. Recognize Your Top Talent to Increase Employee Satisfaction 

A strong culture of safety is impossible to maintain if your company is only focused on discovering and correcting negative driving behaviors.  

By leveraging the data you’re already analyzing, you can recognize those who consistently follow the standards set in your driver safety policy and reward them for good driving behavior. This showcases that you value their hard work, focus and commitment to safety.  

You can celebrate good driving behavior and tenure with: 

  • Cash bonuses  
  • Gift cards 
  • Branded or personalized merchandise 
  • Certificates, pins, or plaques  
  • Public recognition
  • Points redeemable for prizes 

The prioritization of your company’s safety culture also plays a huge part in promoting driver satisfaction and improving retention rates. By providing ongoing support, resources and training, drivers will feel more confident in the decisions they make behind the wheel. 

6. Consult the Experts  

It’s important to run your corporate driver safety program by industry and legal experts to ensure you’re covering all the necessary bases.  

You can also conduct an annual compliance audit or risk assessment related to the provisions of your safety policy. When evaluating audit options, consider that a third-party audit or risk assessment will often yield a more useful report on compliance.  

Is Your Driver Safety Program Truly Protecting Your Drivers, Brand and Bottom Line?

By establishing a strong foundation of policies and procedures, leveraging proactive and reactive training strategies and expanding visibility, companies can establish a comprehensive program that transforms driver safety, improves retention rates and increases satisfaction.  

Successfully tackling these six tips is no easy feat. There are a multitude of things that need to be considered to confidently and effectively mitigate driver risk. And as we mentioned above, those who rely on traditional risk management processes will likely find it challenging to implement a program that’s both comprehensive and effective. Not to mention the time, money and manpower that would need to go into its implementation and ongoing enforcement.  

Interested in learning more about how you can establish and maintain an effective corporate driver safety program without creating more work for your team?  

Get access to our free safety program resources below. You’ll discover helpful guides, webinars, driver safety policy drafting templates and more to help you establish a rock-solid program.

Want to learn more about improving your safety culture? We recommend:

Fleet Risk Management: How Driver Violations Can Predict Crashes and Claims

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