When most people think of fleet safety they probably tend to think of a “fleet” as a large number of vehicles (50+ vehicles). After all, a small contractor with 4-5 pickup trucks may not think of the trucks as a “fleet” but rather just how the employees get to the job site.
The fact is, whether you have one vehicle or several hundred, you are exposed to risk. Even small fleets can benefit from a fleet safety program, and whether addressing a large or a small fleet, the basic components of the program are the same.
- Proper/Valid Driver’s License – review the applicant’s driver’s license to help determine if he/she is qualified to drive your vehicles.
- Driving records are one of the best indicators of a person’s driving habits. Motor Vehicle Records (MVR’s) should be obtained and reviewed for all new driver applicants and at least annually for all drivers. A criteria for evaluation of the MVR’s should be established for determining acceptability of new and existing drivers.
- Road Test – take a road test with new applicants. Bad driving habits are hard to hide (speeding, failure to signal, following too close to other vehicles, etc.).
Employees should be properly trained to drive the vehicles. In addition, they should understand company requirements and expectations:
- Driver training courses are available from a variety of sources, including online. Check with your insurance carrier as they may be able to assist you in providing driver training.
- Basic Rules/Driver Expectations should be established and reviewed. For example:
- No accidents
- No violations
- No alcohol or drug use
- Always wear seat belt
- No use of cell phones and no texting while driving
Vehicles that are properly maintained are safer to operate. In addition to regular preventive maintenance (according to manufacturer’s recommendations), a daily pre-trip inspection should be completed by the driver for each vehicle. A checklist should be used to complete the inspection; a signed and dated copy should be maintained as a record. Items on the checklist should include (but not necessarily be limited to):
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Head lights
- Tires (condition, inflation)
- Mirrors (condition, properly adjusted)
Any deficiencies should be addressed as soon as possible.
All accidents should be investigated to determine the cause:
- Determine if accident was preventable. What actions could be taken to prevent reoccurrence?
- Check driver’s record for similar incidents/violations.
- Was the vehicle properly maintained/ in good condition?
- Corrective action should be taken based on the results of the investigation.
- Can additional training be provided?
- Can route scheduling be improved?
- Was the vehicle properly maintained?
When developing any company program, always remember it should be reviewed by your legal counsel to insure it is compliant with State and Federal laws. Does your company have a fleet safety program? What steps do you follow? Share them here!