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Actionable Steps You Need to Take to Keep Fleet Drivers Safe

Driver safety is one of the 6 biggest fleet management challenges of this year, or any year for that matter. In fact, studies have shown that the annual accident rate for commercial fleets hovers around 20%. Drivers take a lot of risks when getting behind the wheel. Everything from driver fatigue and mobile device distractions to exceeding the speed limit and aggressive driving maneuvers endanger driver safety and put fleets in danger of liability and higher costs. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep fleet drivers safe. That can be accomplished with a balanced mix of safe driving habits, responsible fleet management practices, and the right fleet management software.

What Drivers Can Do

The simplest place to start with keeping drivers safe is with the drivers themselves. Here are five habits every driver in your fleet should have.

  1. Get enough sleep before driving
  2. Don’t use your phone while driving
  3. Follow posted speed limits.
  4. Be mindful of the weather.
  5. Avoid aggressive accelerating and braking

What Fleet Management Can Do

It wouldn’t be fair to put all the responsibility of keeping drivers safe on the drivers themselves. One of fleet management’s key responsibilities is minimizing the risk drivers face on the road. So when it comes to keeping drivers safe, the buck stops here. Fleet management should encourage a culture of driver safety by following these five practices.

  1. Require seat belts to be worn while driving. Ideally, drivers would do this out of habit without needing to be asked. But publicly announcing it as a requirement shows you prioritize their safety.
  2. Regular vehicle maintenance. This is a way of leading by example. If you show that you care about your fleet, the drivers will care about it, too.
  3. Assign drivers to vehicles. American author P.J. O’Rourke once said that the fastest car in the world is a rental car. People generally take better care of things that belong to them than things that don’t. When drivers are assigned to a vehicle and drive the same one every day, they tend to drive more carefully because they think of that vehicle as their own.
  4. Provide incentives for safe driving. Offer incentives like paid time off and bonuses for safe driving or even just bragging rights to motivate good driving habits.
  5. Identify and correct risky driving behaviors quickly. Keep a watchful eye on driving behavior. If you notice risky driving habits, talk with the driver and correct the behavior as early as you can.

How Fleet Management Software Can Help

In a perfect world, management could simply tell drivers to mind the speed limit and drive safely, and drivers would do exactly that. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Sometimes expediency gets prioritized over safety, and sometimes risky driving behaviors get overlooked or aren’t corrected early enough. Even with the best fleet management safety program, it can be difficult to prevent speeding and correct driving habits if you can’t identify them in real-time. The best way to ensure your drivers are safe on the road is by automating aspects of your fleet management for better driver safety. That’s where fleet management software comes into the picture. With the right software, you can manage the vehicles instead of managing the drivers to reduce on-the-road risks.

Here are some of the features you should look for when choosing fleet management software to improve driver safety. 

Speed Governor

Speeding is a serious problem among drivers in general, including fleet drivers. Despite the sense of urgency drivers may feel to get to their destination as quickly as possible, it simply isn’t worth it to risk life and limb for a minute or two of time gained by weaving through traffic or racing through a traffic light. Speeding reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to a dangerous situation and reduces the ability of safety structures to protect vehicle occupants in a collision. 

Limiting the top speed of your fleet vehicles is one of the easiest ways to automate safety and stop speeding violations. The right fleet management software should be able to program the vehicle’s computer to prevent it from going faster than the speed limit set by your fleet policy. That way, no matter how hard drivers push down on the gas pedal, the vehicle can’t drive any faster than the speed limit you set for it.

Distracted Driving Prevention Call Blocking

Distracted driving is one of the top preventable causes of vehicle crashes and injuries on the road. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that distracted driving accounted for 3,142 deaths and more than 400,000 injuries in 2019. While you can tell your drivers not to use their mobile devices while driving, it would be unrealistic to check on every driver during every moment of their drives all day, every day. It’s simply not feasible. 

A far simpler solution is to take the risk of mobile device distractions out of the equation altogether with the right software fix: distracted driving prevention call blocking. The right fleet management software should include a feature that locks the driver’s smartphone as soon as the vehicle is shifted out of park. With this in place, drivers won’t be able to access email, social media, or any other distracting app on their phones as long as the vehicle is in motion.

Safety should always be the first and highest priority in the minds of drivers and fleet managers. With a balanced mix of safe driving habits and a company-wide culture of safety, you can help minimize vehicle damage and avoid driver injuries. 

With the right fleet management software, you can optimize driving behavior without putting all the pressure on the drivers themselves. Find out more about how Derive VQ enhances driver safety and improves fuel efficiency.