Why Your Driver Risk Management Efforts Aren’t as Complete as You Thought

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 guidelines in the hopes of turning them into a formal driver risk management strategy equipped to keep those you’ve hired as safe as possible.

You’re in one of two positions: you feel as if you’re making progress but suddenly, all in the room hit a mental block upon realizing that all suggestions put forth have been actions your company has taken in the past, to no avail.

The other is that you feel as if you have done everything right from a fleet risk management perspective, had the best strategy in place and then a serious incident occurs, making you question nearly all prior efforts and whether they were genuinely effective or if you were just lucky.

We won’t be the ones to fault you if you’re at your wits end in pivoting, reevaluating and developing a comprehensive driver risk management strategy, shudder at the thought of it or aren’t sure where to even begin. After all, developing a tailor-made strategy that reinforces your safety efforts and initiatives is no small undertaking.

Establishing an overarching and comprehensive driver risk management strategy for your company is of the utmost importance, though, and goes alongside ensuring that company drivers adhere to your safety policy.

What’s not working

So where do we suggest you begin in developing a holistic fleet risk management strategy? First, start with evaluating what current efforts of yours are not working.

Non-comprehensive technology

Often, when companies are attempting to mitigate risk with their drivers, they provide only vehicle telematics devices, assuming that will completely mitigate driver risk. Instead, you’re left with an incomplete picture of driver risk and lack of insight into whether the right or qualified employees are getting behind the wheel.

You may be asking yourself – “my vehicle telematics devices work just fine.” The problem? These devices only capture the behavior in the car when the device is on, leaving you with unseen behavior upon employees turning the devices off.

Simply put, if you’re relying solely on technology that only records the behavior inside of driver vehicles, then you’re deviating from the full picture of fleet risk management and potential areas to focus on in a driver safety policy.

Self-reporting policies

What if you enforced a self-reporting policy that required your employees who drive to reach out any time they receive a negative violation off the clock? While we know it may be disappointing to say, 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 received a DUI off the clock and didn’t self-report, when would you know about it? If your answer is one of the following: never or annually, you fall into having a problem that we call the visibility gap – an anxiety-producing timeframe of uncertainty and lack of insight.

Manual MVR pulls

Manually pulling motor vehicle records (MVRs) is not only time-consuming and expensive, but also near-immediately outdated. You won’t know the real status of your drivers and the violations they’ve receive 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 a snapshot in time.

Good faith

While this sounds cynical at first, toss good faith in your employees keeping your company safe out the window. 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.

It’s not something to scoff at, with 80 percent of suspended licenses 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.

5 items every fleet 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 drivers where they agree to following your stipulations laid out. Driver safety policies not only protect your company from incurring bad drivers but also potentially from the legal repercussions of at- or high-risk drivers.

Driver training solutions

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 an option before disqualifying them from driving or even working at the company?

When the employee takes that class on speeding, passes a strength of knowledge test and signs to that, you’re also in-turn legally protected. Never underestimate the power of small administrative necessities like driver training solutions.

Understanding 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.

Know that risk moonlights as well-natured behavior

We all love the employee who goes to get the office coffee or pick up the lunch order, but what if they were to get in a fatal incident 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 drive for work. Make sure they are accounted for when developing your comprehensive driver risk management strategy.

Receive near-real time driver violation alerts

There are solutions such as driver monitoring that can help you ditch the clunky manual MVR pulls and reduce your reliance on self-reporting. Instead, receive convenient near real-time alerts on any time one of your drivers receives a negative violation, eliminating the need for self-reporting policies and streamlining the way you manage driver risk.

What to do next

Now that you know what does and doesn’t work from a strategic fleet risk management perspective, schedule a new time for that huddle refreshed 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.

Before you attend that next brainstorm, impress your counterparts with some best practices. Download our white paper, Driver Risk Management Best Practices to learn more.