Do you feel as if you’ve been here before? You and the safety experts within your company are all huddled together, working on loose safety guidelines in the hopes of somehow turning them into a formal driver risk management strategy. The end result is always a shot-in-the-dark solution that you know deep down won’t be effective enough in ensuring the safety of your drivers and your brand.
Developing a tailor-made strategy that reinforces your safety efforts and initiatives is no small undertaking. Where do you begin, and how will you know if it’ll actually be effective? Read on to find out where you may need to fill in the gaps when it comes to mitigating your driver risk.
What’s Not Working
Self-Reporting Policies & Good Faith
If you enforce a self-reporting policy that requires your drivers to reach out any time they receive a negative violation off the clock, you’re creating a serious risk for your company. If an employee knows that their dangerous behind-the-wheel behavior can directly impact their job, they’re going to be less inclined to self-report.
Consider this – if one of your employees receives a DUI off the clock and doesn’t self-report, when will you know about it? If your answer is one of the following: “never” or “annually”, it falls into what we call the “visibility gap” – an anxiety-producing timeframe of uncertainty and lack of insight.
Companies can’t rely on good faith when it comes to driver safety. Take suspended licenses, for example. We like to think that employees will tell you if they have a suspended license – but oftentimes they aren’t even aware.
80% of suspended licenses are due to administrative reasons. These administrative issues include things like unpaid parking tickets or late child support. Those who have suspended licenses may not even know they aren’t equipped to be behind the wheel in any capacity until all administrative tasks are resolved.
Manual MVR Pulls
Manually pulling motor vehicle records (MVRs) is not only time-consuming and expensive, but also the information is immediately outdated once the MVR is pulled. With this method, you won’t know the real status of your drivers or the violations they’ve received – regardless of whether you pull MVRs at-hire, annually or bi-annually.
Once again, you run headfirst into the visibility gap. If you’ve bought a stack of MVRs in an effort to understand the risk your newly hired drivers present, know that you’ve spent a lot of money for merely a snapshot in time.
Often, when companies are attempting to mitigate driver risk, they only rely on vehicle telematics devices, with the assumption that they’re doing enough. While telematics is a valuable addition to a comprehensive driver risk strategy, it only captures the behavior in the car while the device is on. This leaves you with unseen behavior once an employee turns the device off. As a result, you’ll still have lack of insight into whether the right or qualified employees are getting behind the wheel. Simply put, if you’re relying solely on technology that records the behavior inside of driver vehicles, then you’re deviating from the full picture of fleet risk management.
5 Solutions Every Driver Risk Management Strategy Needs to Succeed
What does actually work within a comprehensive driver risk management strategy?
Establish a Driver Safety Policy
Driver safety policies are agreements between your company and your drivers where they understand and know to adhere to company safety rules. Driver safety policies protect your company from incurring bad drivers, and can potentially help when facing legal repercussions from high-risk drivers.
An effective driver safety policy must address certain basic items and may include additional policies and procedures specific to your company’s operations. Of these basic requirements, the following elements should be present in any effective driver safety policy:
- Policy statement
- Key definitions
- Qualification and hiring procedures
- Driver qualification files and driver records
- Drug and alcohol policy
- and more
You can find the complete, detailed list by downloading Driver Safety Policies: Best Practices and Drafting Considerations.
Receive Continuous Driver Violation Alerts
There are modern solutions such as continuous MVR monitoring that can help you ditch the clunky manual MVR pulls and reduce your reliance on self-reporting. Instead, receiving convenient, ongoing alerts any time one of your drivers receives a negative violation will eliminate the need for self-reporting policies, close your visibility gap and streamline the way you manage driver risk.
Implement Driver Training
We cannot stress this enough – driver training solutions can change the way you approach driver risk management. If an employee receives a speeding ticket, wouldn’t you like a remedial option before disqualifying them from driving or even working at the company? (Especially when considering how difficult it is to hire and retain drivers with the current driver shortage.) Not to mention, when an employee takes a targeted course on speeding, passes a strength of knowledge test and signs to that, you’re also legally protected.
Beyond using driver training as a remedial solution, frequent training is also a crucial addition to your fleet safety program. Frequent training keeps safe driving techniques top of mind and reinforces your company’s ongoing dedication to your team’s safety. It’s also a proven method to reduce crashes and violations. In fact, fleets that train monthly have almost half the violations of those that train twice per year.
Understand How Your Drivers Differ
The strategic safety initiatives you develop surrounding your CDL license drivers will most likely differ from drivers who use their personal vehicles for work versus even those in branded company vehicles. Know who makes up your driver fleet and how they differ so you can create specific strategic imperatives that are relevant to your subsections of drivers.
Monitor ALL of Your Potential Driver Risk
What if the employee who goes to get the office coffee or pick up the lunch order is involved in a crash on the way back to the office? If that employee is on company time, your company runs the risk of being found liable for any costs.
Avoid underestimating even the most unsuspecting of employees, including those who don’t typically drive for work. Make sure they are accounted for when developing your comprehensive driver risk management strategy.
Now that you know what does and doesn’t work when it comes to mitigating your driver risk, schedule a new time for your safety team to huddle and get ready to ideate. We know that you’ll be able to expand upon the foundational work you’ve done so far and, as a result, ensure all drivers within your organization are safe.
To learn more about quantifying the cost of unsafe drivers, the hidden and unmonitored driver population that is hired/non-owned drivers as well as three best practices to improve driver risk management, download our white paper, How Continuous Monitoring Transforms Driver Risk Management.
If you enjoyed this article, we recommend the following:
4 Important Components of a Fleet Safety Program
National Safety Month: Our Commitment to Driver Safety
You Aren’t Doing Enough If You’re Relying on Pre-Employment MVR Checks
Using Driver Safety Trends to Improve Your Safety Culture in 2022