According to the US Department of Transportation, five million truck and bus drivers share the road with some 250 million motorists. That so many drivers use the same roads for different purposes presents safety risks for commercial vehicle fleets. Injurious and fatal crashes are tragic as well as costly. A fatal truck crash runs an average $3.6 million, while accidents resulting in injuries cost roughly $200,000 each.
By creating and implementing effective fleet safety programs, trucking companies can help save lives while reducing profit-eating fleet losses. Taking safety seriously makes good business sense, not just from a financial standpoint but from a reputational and ethical one too.
The question is, where do you start? And how can you make a fleet safety program feasible—without stretching your people and budgetary resources too thin?
Find answers to these questions and more in the following guide. To help you manage your process with ease and focus, we’ve broken the safety program priorities into two phases. Each phase provides an illustrative example.
Phase 1: Develop a fleet safety strategy
Establish your goals
Like any sound business strategy, an effective fleet safety strategy is defined by a clear set of goals. You’ll want to identify your key problem areas, then determine which improvements would make the biggest difference.
To avoid overextending your resources or overwhelming your team, choose just a few goals to begin with (once you obtain success in one area, you can always add a new goal to work on). Aim for reachable safety goals that reflect your business dynamics and fleet safety potential over the long term.
Let’s say you recognize vulnerabilities in your company’s safety culture. Perhaps you notice, for example, links between rushed driver schedules and high accident rates. That information would prove invaluable to strengthening the organization’s safety culture. Such data would likely influence how your business, fleet managers and drivers ensure and sustain progress in preventing accidents.
Whatever your fleet safety goals may be, think specific. What do you primarily want to achieve? What are your guiding benchmarks? Which concrete actions are required, and by whom, to attain a more robust safety culture?
We surveyed international fleet decision makers on safety. For strategy inspiration, read about industry concerns in our eBook on commercial fleet safety. It’s a comprehensive look at urgent topics like the factors behind road incidents, the costs of unsafe driving and processes and technologies that increase fleet safety.
Map out your deliverables
With your goals identified, it’s time to translate them into actionable to-dos for your fleet safety program. What needs to be done, and within what timeframes? Which tasks can be accomplished immediately, and what initiatives require ongoing attention? List the steps that will get you there, along with ideal completion dates, in your fleet safety program.
Most trucking companies aim to improve their driver retention rates, since workforce shortages complicate a business’ service capacities. But retention is also an important element of fleet management safety.
As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration points out, there’s a correlation between driver: Higher turnover contributes to higher accident rates. Frequently having to recruit, screen and train drivers is also costly. In a hypercompetitive race for qualified drivers, trucking companies must show that they’re appealing workplaces.
Experienced, reliable drivers will gravitate towards employers that treat them more as partners in safety success than as passive receivers of policy. Regarding drivers as on-the-road safety experts expresses their value. In this example, one deliverable around safety culture could be enriched driver engagement. Your scope could focus on revising hiring processes, creating professional development opportunities and rewarding drivers who maintain great safety records.
Phase 2: Launch your fleet safety strategy
Share the safety strategy with your entire organization so everyone is on the same page. This internal communication also offers an opportunity to thank team members who have already contributed to the company’s safety culture. Appreciate their support in carrying out the new fleet safety program.
Remind your team about safety imperatives as you continue implementing the strategy. Send updates about big strides and other notable progress. Should any departments or team members be acknowledged for going above and beyond expectations? These internal communications can help cement team spirit—give praise on safety accomplishments where praise is due.
Share your fleet safety program
Remember your external stakeholders too. When and where appropriate, let your customers know how your company is contributing to safer roadways while bettering service. Giving customers an inside glance of your operations creates transparency and bolsters relationships.
Since safety is an industry-wide concern, why not share your safety wins and learning curves more widely, with trade publications and third-party collaborators? As competitive as the trucking industry is, all companies benefit from the efforts of their industry peers—safer roads work to everyone’s advantage.
Employ the right tools
Your fleet safety strategy will likely involve many moving parts. At a bare minimum, you’ll need to monitor people, processes and timelines. Managing these tasks alongside your everyday fleet needs can seem overwhelming if you’re working with a disconnected range of tools—managing various tools can be a job itself, whether you’re running a fleet of 5 trucks or 250.
On top of that, you want a real-time understanding of what’s happening on the road. You need to know, for example, weather and road conditions so you can efficiently plan driver routes and ETAs. A fleet management platform will help you gauge everyday operations without losing sight of your safety strategy goals.
As an all-in-one tool, Webfleet does the heavy lifting on fleet safety management, from tracking maintenance and compliance requirements to locating and securing your trucks. With all your operational data accessible from a single place, assessing your safety program benchmarks is quite simple. You can pull up analytical insights and download reports in just a click or two.
Fleet safety program with WEBFLEET Fleet Dashcam safeguard your drivers and fleet. Drivers get direct feedback and predictive driving advice while driving, and Webfleet clearly presents the savings potential to the fleet manager. OptiDrive 360 allows your teams to Learn, Get Coached, Evaluate and Compare on a wide set of driving performance indicators.
Webfleet simplifies the process of developing and launching a strategic fleet safety program. Accurate information on safety concerns like maintenance, driving behavior and road conditions help you improve overall operations. See how Webfleet can support your commercial fleet safety needs—request a demo today.