The combination of rapid advancements in vehicle and driver safety technology and greater focus on Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) initiatives, require organizations to revise outdated fleet driver policies to avoid excessive risk.
Fleets that do not perform regular policy reviews are more likely to be non-compliant with new laws and regulations, operationally less efficient without the most advanced technology, and unequitable with inconsistent practices.
What Are The Components of Modern Fleet Driver Policies?
Before diving into particular components of a driver policy that are likely to require updating, it’s good to review the breadth of a fleet driver policy. A comprehensive policy will examine:
- Organizational commitment and goals
- Liability issues
- Useage of company vehicles
- Hiring and retention of drivers/employees
- Driver responsibilities
- Enforcement policies
- And more…
Click here to download a detailed checklist of what a modern fleet driver policy contains today. You can also consult industry resources such as the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), and the Natonal Safety Council (NSC) for additional resources in revising your policies.
Where Do You Begin Revising A Fleet Driver Policy?
Start any review by examining the driver policy’s opening section, specifically the Leadership Statement. A safely operated fleet has a positive impact on society and the environment, and delivers overall value to an organization’s stakeholders. Your policies should be aligned with your organization’s position on cultivating a sustainable and socially responsible business model.
A strong statement of support for your fleet safety program from top leaders carries the weight to capture employee attention and gain their cooperation. Additionally, ongoing leadership messaging towards achievement of program goals will maintain focus on your fleet safety objectives.
You also want to ensure your program goals and reportable metrics are aligned with your leadership statement. This enables drivers to see a clear connection between their individual contributions and aspirational organizational goals.
How Does Technology Affect Changes In Fleet Policies?
Fleet data technogy is ever-increasing in speed, availability, connectivity, and actionability. Technologies behind telematics, data exchange, business intelligence (BI), predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) enable immediate risk remediation. The quicker a driver’s behavior can be addressed, the more you reduce your risk for accidents and liability exposure.
Here are some of the areas where telematics has optimized fleet operations and resulted in changes to driver safety and policies:
- Monitoring Driver Behavior: Telematics systems monitor driver behavior and ensure that they follow safety regulations and other company policies.
- Vehicle Tracking: Used to track the real-time location of vehicles, allowing fleet managers to monitor the progress of their drivers as well as the performance of their vehicles.
- Fuel Management: Assist fleets in monitoring fuel consumption and usage, allowing them to identify inefficiencies, reduce idling, and improve fuel economy.
- Maintenance Tracking: Telematics systems can also monitor fleet vehicle maintenance.
- Route Planning: Telematics systems can help fleet vehicles plan routes, reducing travel time and costs.
How Does Technology Impact Other Aspects of Fleet Safety?
Any technology that impacts driver safety can impact your fleet driver policies. These include:
Vehicle Technologies & Telematics:
- Vehicle Safety Features – Examine how advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can be introduced to drivers effectively. These technologies can greatly reduce accident risks if operated properly. Proper training can ensure correct operation of ADAS features, while avoiding the inadvertent chance of increasing driver confusion and distraction. Updated driver policies must acknowledge this potential problem and address administrative remedies such as compulsory new car vehicle walkarounds, managerial intervention, and training modules with testing.
- Connected Driver Technology – Most recently, advanced connected driver apps – using either a smartphone or in-vehicle data system — provide driver performance feedback after every trip with timely transparency to drivers about their safe driving score and where they rank among peers. Fleet managers can blend this real-time data with MVR, license status checks, crash details, red light camera violations, training compliance, and more to create a more accurate assessment of driver risk. These connected driver tools give drivers a view of their driving behaviors, providing insight into how their behaviors are contributing to their risk score and trending over time. By making risk behaviors visible to drivers, connected driver tools enable drivers to self-correct behaviors before an incident happens.
Risk Assessment & Training:
- Motor Vehicle Records – Manual MVR checks have been a long-accepted means of tracking driver performance issues. However, the gap between checks creates an unacceptably-high risk exposure for employers. Many fleets are incorporating continuous monitoring technology into their fleet safety programs to eliminate these gaps. Today, continuous monitoring information is available in virtually every state in the United Sates. A driver policy description of continuous monitoring ensures that drivers are more likely to be cautious and policy-compliant.
- Driver Risk Assessments – Driver performance can now be monitored in real time, because of the ever-increasing number of driver performance data points derived from telematics, mobile phone sensors, and in-vehicle systems. This advantage allows for proactive remediation based on actual driving behaviors. Fleets no longer need to wait for a negative event to happen to identify drivers that need remediation. Additionally, drivers are more likely to be cautious behind the wheel and policy-compliant, especially if poor performance consequences and model safe-driver performance competition are introduced. It has been found that a proactive behavior-based solution resulted in a 21% reduction in accident rates over three years.
- Driver Training – Remedial and New Hire – Provide an overview of the purpose of remedial and new hire training, to demonstrate your commitment to driver safety. Highlight investments in quality training and additional driver aides such as safe driving competitions and gamification, and rewards that help build a safety culture.
How Can Communication of the Fleet Driver Policy Affect Your Safety Culture?
Proper communication of your driver policy is key to ensure awareness and understanding by drivers. Beginning with the driver policy targeted at new hires, communications must overcome the repetitious nature of a single medium such as email.
Make use of a variety of technologies to communicate your policies in an effective manner. An intranet provides a centralized source for viewing policies, downloading forms, viewing executive video messages, and so forth. Some fleet safety providers, such as CEI, can provide a similar structure within their fleet safety & risk management platforms, tailored to your hierarchy. Utilize email as a means for important announcements, and actionable notifications. The idea is to reach your drivers effectively, and multi-channel communications can help.
Consider driver communications as a long-term campaign to build your safety culture. Provide regular communications, and include content with relative news, success, trends, competitive standings, and more for greater engagement with drivers.
What Else Should Be Considered?
Take a broader view of your liability exposure. In the past, many companies with fleets based potential risk exposure on the number of vehicles in the fleet. However, the ‘real’ risk factor is the number of drivers operating vehicles for your organization. Whether a fleet of 1,000 work trucks is shared across 3,000 drivers, or a sales force is using their personal vehicles for company business, your liability exposure is magnified by the behaviors of all drivers. Your fleet driver policies should cover all areas of liability.
An Effective Fleet Driver Policy Never Sleeps
Fleet Driver Policies have grown exponentially as fleet management has become more integral to the company’s success from a sales, service, customer experience, and investor perspective. A good policy remains consistent with an organization’s overall objectives and strategic goals, and current with technology and legislative changes.
To learn more about maintaining an effective Driver Policy and building a fleet safety culture, contact CEI.