When someone is in charge of a fleet of vehicles they carry a great deal of responsibility. The vehicles need to be safe to use and be operated by competent drivers at all times. When mistakes are made, it can endanger both the drivers and other pedestrians and road users.
From a business angle, much attention must be given to mitigating risk. This can only be achieved when there are clear policies drawn up, and effective measures established to implement them. If you have recently taken on such a responsibility this article will provide you with six helpful tips to help you mitigate risk.
Let Technology Help You
Companies have many options available, ranging from fleet management systems to specific software. With the help of monitoring and scanning equipment, it’s easier to understand the status and location of every vehicle in real-time. Valuable telematics can become available for analysis so you can further improve your business functions.
The internet provides rich pickings for information and advice on this. If you are picking a dash cam you can learn that they reduce distracted driving and can provide video evidence for insurance claims. You can be automatically notificed if an accident occurs, and ensure your drivers are always wearing seatbelts.
Choose The Right Vehicles And Drivers
Whilst your company budget will influence your choice of vehicles, it can be a false economy to purchase cheaper cars or lorries that regularly need maintenance. While they are being fixed your vehicles will be unable to make money, and your bills will be mounting up. Your vehicles also need to be up to the job if they are required for multiple tasks or rough terrain.
It’s essential that you carry out full background checks before you employ new drivers. Make sure their qualifications are valid and double-check the references. Look thoroughly at each person’s driving records, including their driver’s license (re. type and class). You’ll also need to be confident they will be able to read the safety manuals and understand the training.
Perform Regular Maintenance
The money and time spent on this can protect your fleet from unnecessary accidents and issues which could prove costly and dangerous. Timetables need to be created for vehicle inspections and services, and in turn this will maintain their productivity.
The goal should be to optimize your vehicles, making them more efficient and lower on emissions and fuel costs. Key areas to address are the wheels and alignment, lubricants, fluids and transmission systems.
Monitor Your Vehicles And Staff
If you know where each vehicle needs to go, you can make sure the best routes are being used to avoid traffic and delays. The most direct routes will also help bring down fuel costs. With the help of monitoring technology, you can have data instantly available without needing to contact the drivers directly. You can view each driver’s itinerary and progress for the day, to assess their productivity.
Regular drug and alcohol tests need to be a part of your risk management policy, otherwise the drivers’ response times and road control could be dangerously compromised. Whilst your staff may be defensive or not feel like they are being trusted, it’s essential to think of the lives they could endanger should they breach protocols. Your zero-tolerance policy needs to be documented, communicated and implemented.
Draft A Compliance Policy
It needs to be integral to the company’s business plan because you won’t want your drivers or vehicles to fall foul of the law (through external audits or incidents). Every aspect of the policy needs to be clear and consistent so it can be easily understood and enforced.
The policy should apply to pre-employment testing (e.g. drugs and alcohol) and continue throughout peoples’ careers. You’ll need to think about accountability and reviews, record keeping and accident reporting. Peoples’ working hours and rest breaks also need to be factored in, because they can contribute to road accidents.
Communicate And Train
Don’t just create manuals that nobody reads. Have an induction program and regular refresher courses on fleet policy. There may be new equipment and technologies the drivers need to learn as well as new legislation to adhere to. If drivers receive regular feedback they will feel more cared for than if they are left to their own devices.
When all these different aspects are fully implemented, your company will be more compliant and robust. The drivers and vehicles will be up to the tasks required, and peoples’ safety will be enhanced. In turn, your business can be set to prosper and grow as it regularly meets the needs of others.