What does a comprehensive fleet safety program look like within a company? And assuming that you have one, how do you know that it’s actually mitigating your driver risk? Your hiring and vetting process, safety policy, means of monitoring your drivers and approach to driver training all play into its effectiveness.
In this blog, we explore reasons why your fleet safety program may have gaps, as well as the strategies you can implement to fill them.
What’s Hindering You?
The Stress of Manual MVR Pulls
Traditionally, reviewing MVRs has been a vital process in understanding who is driving on behalf of your company. But manually pulling motor vehicle records (MVRs) takes up substantial time and money. On average, a manual MVR review takes around 20 minutes. Multiply that figure by the number of drivers in your fleet, as well as the cadence in which you pull MVRs, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly the hours add up. This negatively impacts your bottom line and creates an extensive administrative burden.
With this tedious process in mind, it makes sense that typical cadences for manually pulling MVRs only include pre- or at-hire, annual or bi-annual reviews. But this leaves you with almost immediately outdated information. The moment your company driver gets in the vehicle after an at-hire or annual MVR pull, you lose visibility into the risk that driver presents. If one of your drivers were to receive a DUI the day after your company’s annual MVR pull, how and when would you know about it?
A Disjointed Picture of Driver Data
The more driver data that you have at your disposal, the better off you are. But there are immense challenges companies can face when looking to better understand their driver data. This includes sifting through and best-making sense of the data points in a way that’s useful to your company.
As we mentioned above, manually pulling your own driver data points can be exhausting. If you compound that already-laborious task with drivers who span multiple states, things get even trickier. A driver violation in the state of Maine will appear as a different violation code than the same violation from a driver in California. This means that you’re left connecting the dots in a piecemeal attempt to create a cohesive picture of driver data.
Making sense of different driver data points and attempting to contextualize them manually is no small undertaking. The time that it takes to sift through them detracts from any urgency needed to ensure your fleet is safe.
Reliance on Self-Reporting
More often than not, companies rely on self-reporting. They place their trust in those who work for them in the hopes of two-way transparency and honesty. The unfortunate reality is that many drivers will be less than willing to share if they’ve incurred a negative driving violation – especially if good driving behavior is integral to keeping their job.
Many times, those who are disqualified by driver safety plan standards may not even know they are. This leaves you with a potential visibility gap that, if left unchecked, can create immense liability for your company.
4 Elements to Improve Your Safety Initiatives
1. Recruit, Hire and Retain Only the Best
Recruiting, hiring and retaining only the best drivers is made easier with the right strategy. Onboarding can be a company’s secret weapon in retaining talent if it’s accomplished with a proactive mindset. Even if you do have great hiring practices, you need to have a solid training strategy woven into your onboarding process. A modern driver training approach (as well as ongoing training) can work to engage your drivers from the start and set clear expectations when it comes to your safety policy. These efforts also work towards strengthening your retention efforts – so you can maintain a fleet of happy, safety-minded drivers.
In our latest webinar, “Overcoming the Driver Shortage: How to Hire and Onboard Safer Drivers,” we offer valuable insight into how hiring managers can establish a solid onboarding strategy that expands your hiring pool, speeds up your onboarding process, improves your driver retention rates and mitigates future driver risk.
2. Enhance Your Safety Policy
Although not a regulatory requirement, if an organization has a fleet of company vehicles or employees who drive their own vehicles during the scope of employment, a thorough driver safety policy should be implemented. Setting the standard for what safety looks like at your company is integral in helping your driver population understand that careless driving habits are not tolerated. Actions to be taken (such as training and intervention) are also appropriate to explicitly express within a safety policy. Through communicating and enforcing driver responsibilities from the get-go, you will inevitably experience a lower incidence of preventable accidents and claims. As a result, you can expect to see reductions in costs, from insurance premiums to litigation.
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.
3. Gain Full Visibility of Your Drivers
Even if you’re pulling manual motor vehicle records (MVRs) to identify violations, every mile that an individual drives without intervention puts your company at greater risk. To implement a timely, proactive intervention strategy, you need to be alerted of violations immediately after they happen. Tools like continuous driver monitoring eliminate these issues associated with traditional MVR pulls, helping you save time, money and most importantly, ensure violations never fall through the cracks. By enrolling drivers in continuous monitoring, employers are alerted of violations in near real-time, empowering them to immediately take action – whether disqualifying the driver, enrolling them in necessary training or moving low-performing employees into a non-driving role.
While continuous driver monitoring alone is informative, simply knowing about a violation isn’t fixing it. How do you intervene with drivers after you’ve been notified of a violation? Do you have conversations or issue warnings? Do your current strategies truly help drivers realize what’s at stake and learn how to fix this behavior?
4. Implement A Comprehensive Driver Training Program
The shortest distance between knowing about driver risk and fixing it is by assigning relevant training. This allows you to better retain your employees by getting safer drivers back on the road quickly. But remedial training shouldn’t be your only focus when it comes to establishing a comprehensive driver training program.
Frequent, proactive training is 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.
Frequent training is an excellent way to keep training in a positive light. If you only assign training when an incident occurs, drivers will view it as a punishment. By providing proactive training on different topics each month, you can use it to support your safety culture and focus more on the positive results of training.
What’s Stopping You?
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.