Basic Elements of a Truck Fleet Safety Program

There are more than 400,000 accidents that involve trucks and large accidents every year. The top causes of these accidents include driver error, vehicle error, and environmental factors. While environmental factors such as weather, highway conditions, and traffic cannot be controlled, fleets can devise safety programs to minimize the risk for driver and vehicle errors.

Complying with truck driver rights is a critical aspect of fleet management. To ensure that driver rights are upheld at all times, fleet managers should consult with a trusted truck driver rights lawyer when devising a safety program for their fleet. Aside from that, a fleet safety program must have these essential elements.

Employee identification

Fleet managers must identify all of their employees, both those who drive for the business and those that use personal vehicles. Determine which employees are using company-owned vehicles off the clock, and ensure that clear authorizations are made for those who are allowed to drive company vehicles and for which purposes.

Management commitment

When the management shows full commitment to the fleet safety program, managers and employees are more likely to embrace the program with open arms. If the opposite is true, the safety program may not be given as much importance as it should or worse, be brushed off completely.

Driver training

The leading cause of large vehicle accidents in the country is critical driver errors, including speeding, overfatigue, illegal maneuvers, and driving distractions, among many others. The best way to minimize the risk for these errors is to provide adequate training for all drivers, with which they will learn how to drive safely, manage stress and fatigue, as well as proper vehicle use.

Vehicle maintenance

truck driver

The second leading cause of road accidents involving large trucks is critical vehicle error. Establishing a defined vehicle maintenance plan is critical in ensuring that vehicles don’t cause accidents on the road. Moreover, regular maintenance will help reduce unexpected truck breakdowns, which can minimize expenses for expenses and replacements.

Proper scheduling

Driving while overfatigued is one of the most common causes of critical driver errors that lead to accidents on the road. That said, proper scheduling must be done to ensure that drivers have reasonable schedules to adhere to, leaving low risk for driving while sleepy or falling asleep on the road. More than that, proper scheduling will help reduce the risk of driver burnout, thus promoting higher levels of productivity and motivation on the job.

Accident response plan

No matter how much preparation and planning is done, accidents are still a very real risk on the road. As such, drivers must know what to do in case they get into an accident, who they need to call, and what evidence they need to document on the scene. In doing so, companies can better mitigate losses, especially if the accident is caused by the driver.

Thorough screening

A thorough screening process must be done for every driver hired to create a reliable team. At the very least, the screening process must include a criminal background check, drug/alcohol violation history, traffic violation history, as well as a pre-employment drug testing and physical assessment.

Driver behavior monitoring

Even with a thorough screening process in hiring, drivers must be monitored to ensure that they adhere to traffic laws and driving standards set by the company. Luckily, vehicle safety technology that tracks driving speeds, location, and braking is available that can help fleets track how their drivers behave on the road.

Safety policies and guidelines

As with any other safety program, safety policies and guidelines must be outlined clearly for all employees who use company vehicles. The list must include policies for safety restraints, distracted driving, off-the-clock vehicle use, and defensive driving, among others.

Having a comprehensive fleet safety program is the best way to avoid significant losses for the company, most especially the loss of life or livelihood for drivers. When creating a safety program, fleet managers must ensure that these elements are clearly outlined in the plan and upheld at all times, ideally with the support of management and legal counsel.

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