Safety is the number one priority of any successful fleet manager. Fast delivery times may be the name of game, but even record setting transports are devalued if the safety of the driver and/or the load is compromised. There are several ways to promote safety among your drivers and encourage them to follow the rules every time they hit the road.

Some of the following advice may be obvious, such as the mobile phone restriction rule for commercial drivers, but often the seemingly self-evident issues need to be stressed the hardest. Here are some popular suggestions to promoting safety for your fleet:

Establish Safe Driving Behavior Early

As fleet manager you have total control of who drives for you. All of the team’s positive and negative driving habits will reflect directly on your company name, so you need to establish ground rules early. A full understanding of the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) system should be a prerequisite to any driver joining your fleet.

Vehicle maintenance, improper loading/cargo securement, driver distraction, driver fitness and substance abuse should all be discussed and settled before a driver’s first run.

Enforce Your Driver Safety Policy

Rules with no consequences are more like suggestions rather than laws. While no driver wants to have someone looking over his or her shoulder every five minutes, it is important for a fleet manager to monitor the activities of the fleet and firmly discipline those who break the rules. Technology has provided a variety of methods to keep an open line of communication and enforce safety policies at the same time.

From GPS devices to modern tracking software, fleet managers can see statistics ranging from acceleration/deceleration to average speed and idle time. If an incident were to occur, the data would prove who was at fault and if a penalty is necessary.

Reward Safe Driving with Incentives

Award programs are one of the best ways to motivate drivers to follow a safety agenda. Not only will it give drivers a goal to achieve, it will establish a sense of accomplishment in the individual and respect among their peers. Trying to implement a program based on consequences alone will most likely fail and increase driver dissatisfaction.

You could create an internal program or implement a nationally recognized safe driver award program. For example, the American Trucking Association offers a variety of ATA Annual Safety Awards to reward exceptional drivers. Always remember to recognize those who have earned distinction and demonstrate the etiquette that keeps your operation safe and productive.

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