A driver safety program is supposed to protect drivers, the company he or she works for, and the populace at large. A good program can also affect your bottom line in the form of lower insurance rates, fewer workers comp claims, fewer traffic violations, and less property damage.
With incredible benefits like these, you’d think every fleet manager would have one in place – but they don’t. Many don’t even know where to start. Here are a few building blocks to help lay a solid foundation when creating your own Driver Safety Program:
At the ground floor, you need to hire quality drivers by assessing their skills and experience before they even join your organization. New drivers should be held to the same or even a higher standard than your existing roster.
Check out our Driver Qualification File Checklist
A checklist of the FMCSA/DOT driver recordkeeping requirements
At a minimum, verify previous employment and check the applicant’s driving record. In many states, insurance companies are prohibited from sharing MVRs with you, but a good agent will be able to provide a service that allows you to order your own MVRs.
Ongoing training is an important part of any Driver Safety Program. After you outline qualifications, make it clear what training is required, and establish a time frame for completion.
Training can take many forms, from informal weekly “toolbox talks” performed by a supervisor to formal classroom training. JJ Keller offers an excellent video training series complete with handouts, quizzes, and attendance forms.
Your insurance agent should be able to provide training assistance as part of your risk management plan.
Establish Company Policies
Following traffic laws is an obvious start, but fleet managers should go above and beyond that. Consider hours of operation, distance between breaks, parking, passenger guidelines, and a cell phone use policy. Create clear rules and when necessary, consequences for breaking them.
All drivers should be required to read, understand, and sign off on company policies.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – there are several Driver Safety Program samples available online. You can find one similar to your company and just use them as a jumping off point. Your insurance agent may even have some samples.
Measure, Monitor, Control
What would it be like trying to improve your golf game, but never keeping score? How would you know if you’re actually getting better or not?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
Clarifying expectations, defining success, measuring, analyzing, and adjusting are the right steps to creating winning processes.
- Are drivers attending training sessions?
- Are they passing the quizzes?
- Has the number of traffic violations decreased?
- Are maintenance costs going down?
- Has the number of claims been reduced?
- Is the company investing in safety equipment?
- Do your drivers feel that your program helps them be safe?
These are all questions you should be asking and monitoring, among others.
Community Insurance Group offers several resources to help you create an effective Driver Safety Program, including a comprehensive quarterly FMCSA Score Review. Contact us today to get started. Let us show you how we helped one client reduce their score by 39%.