Developing a fleet safety program
Fleet safety controls, when properly established and maintained, are the most effective means of protecting a fleet from loss.
The planning and enforcement of these programs should ideally be led by a company's top management. Top management support and leadership is crucial to the program's success. Ideally, this support should be shown daily. The need to control human suffering, property damage, and direct and indirect costs of accidents are strong incentives to develop a fleet safety program.
Recommended elements of a fleet safety program
Proper driver selection
Conduct pre-hire Motor Vehicle Record checks on all drivers. Potential drivers should be evaluated compared to the standard set for all drivers within the company. As part of the overall driver selection process, each qualified driver should be given a road test. A comprehensive road test should include defensive driving techniques and a positive attitude in traffic.
Monitoring existing drivers
Motor vehicle records should be reviewed for all existing drivers after an accident occurs, or at least on an annual basis. Keep a file on each driver. The file should include such things as a current copy of the driver's license, road test, accident records, pertinent medical information, warnings or counseling, training given to that driver, and pertinent DOT requirements, if applicable.
Establish fleet safety rules
Company rules regarding vehicle usage should include personal use by employees and their families, procedures for garaging vehicles and preventing theft of vehicles, maintenance responsibilities, and reporting vehicle defects to maintenance crews. Rules should also be established for reporting and investigating accidents.
Properly investigate all accidents resulting in property damage or bodily injury. Uncover the actual causes of the accident and take the corrective actions needed to prevent reoccurrence. Accident trends for all fleet vehicles should also be periodically analyzed so common problems can be identified and action taken to solve problems.
Defensive driver training
Provide initial and continuing training for all drivers. Professional trucking associations, local schools, police departments, and the National Safety Council are all good sources for defensive driving and driver improvement programs.
Vehicle safety inspections
Vehicle safety inspections should be conducted on a daily basis through the use of a daily vehicle inspection checklist. Set procedures should be developed to report any identified vehicle deficiencies, and these deficiencies should be corrected before the vehicle is allowed on the road. A check of vehicle emergency equipment should also be made. Emergency equipment should include reflectors, fire extinguishers, radio, etc.
Outline emergency procedures
Outline instructions to employees regarding what to do in case of an accident. Generally, these instructions should include stopping at once, doing whatever is necessary to protect the people and property involved, and caring for the inured at the scene of the accident. Help should be obtained as soon as possible if needed. Be sure that each vehicle has a claim kit in the glove compartment outlining the above steps and providing the driver with a form to detail what occurred immediately afterward, while the memory is still fresh. Getting names of witnesses and reporting the accident to the employee's supervisor should also occur very quickly after the accident.