Did you know the annual number of fleet driver accidents rounds out to about 20 percent?

If you are a small fleet manager and your drivers are not properly trained, it could hurt your private fleet business and potentially cost you a small fortune in insurance charges.

Reading this bit of information might make you nervous as a small fleet owner. After all, your goal is to make sure your business runs as efficiently as possible with minimal room for error.

Here’s the thing, you cannot account for every risk that may occur on the road, but you can monitor driver behavior by training your employees on defensive driving safety. That way, they will be better equipped to handle emergencies out on the road.

By educating your drivers on road safety, implementing safety rules, and enrolling them in a Drivesafe Defensive Driving Course you can successfully minimize the risk of danger.

If your business runs a small fleet, it is important to follow these six fleet driving tips to make operations for your fleet drivers more effective.

What Is Fleet Driving? 

You know when you call a plumber and they show up in their specialized cars or vans? That’s a fleet driver. They often work for privately-owned companies with a small fleet manager who staffs about 5-20 drivers.

These company services usually involve a great deal of transportation and include a range of different services such as pest control, gardening/lawn, home improvement, and even your favorite delivery services.

1. Understand Fleet Driving Can Affect Your Company

This is the first step to successfully managing your fleet business. If your employees are reckless, it will impact your small fleet in several ways that you might want to avoid.

It Can Cost You

The cost of fleet driver accidents could start anywhere from $74,000 and skyrocket from there. Not to mention that your insurance rates will go through the roof, maybe even canceled if enough incidents happen under your business.

You could also be fined or dragged into a third-party lawsuit which would entail a mess of legal fees and lawyers to represent your small fleet.

Not to mention that you would be responsible to pay workers’ compensation costs for any number of days the injured employee(s) are out of work. A cost that has been reported at topping nearly $2 billion for small fleet owners across the nation.

You Will Lose Valuable Time

On top of the costs comes the time spent to manage those costs and legal matters. If you are busy assessing fees, talking about a lawsuit, or checking vehicle damage, that is precious time taken away from your small fleet tasks.

Your duties as a small fleet manager would pile up and cause you more stress than needed.

Low Employee Productivity

Your employees will be out of work if they are involved in a car crash. They might even quit if their injuries are bad enough or if the risk of driving makes them worry for their safety. A small fleet losing an employee for any period would drastically slow down the business’s productivity level.

Bad Reputation 

Bad word of mouth might begin to circulate if your fleet business has too many accident reports. Don’t let your business rating suffer because of poor driver behavior and management.

2. Review Driving Stats

It is always a good idea to look at an overview of driving statistics over the years. These stats will show you the increase in traffic accidents, and highlight the number of fleet driver accidents on the road.

By reviewing these fleet accident statistics, based on your drivers’ level of performance, you could determine the likelihood that your business would be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

3. Set Up Driving Rules

You may want to put into action some basic driving rules for your employees to follow while out on the road. Having your safety measures for drivers to follow will give them a set of standards to follow.

Driving Time Limit

The leading cause for fleet accidents is the number of hours they spend on the road. There are a legal number of hours set across the nation stating how long a person can drive safely.

The maximum is 12 hours, although you should keep in mind that drivers nearing that twelve-hour mark will most likely be fatigued and their alertness impaired.

No Texting Or Eating

According to the CDC, eight people per day are killed because of texting and distracted driving. Due to these statistics, every state has now set up a ban on texting, even speaking on the phone, while driving.

You can review your specific state’s guidelines and make sure your drivers are aware of the consequences if they are caught.

Texting isn’t the only form of distracted driving, either.

Many accidents happen when the driver is eating a meal. They will often be more focused on their food or drink and less likely to be aware of what is happening around them. Meals should be eaten when the vehicle is in park or during designated break times.

Must Wear Seat Belts

All of those “buckle up” signs cluttering the highway are there to remind you that out of every 37,000 car crash fatalities, 47 percent involved improper use of a seat belt. Stressing these facts to your drivers, and requiring them to wear their seat belts, could prevent the risk of death.

Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Provide a checklist for your drivers to go over before hitting the road. They should inspect their vehicles for crucial things such as low tires, dirty windshields, windshield fluid, brake lights, and much more.

You might also take fleet vehicles to a shop for regular maintenance. This way, a mechanic can check: oil levels, wear and tear on tires, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and make sure the inner workings of the car and engine are in good shape.

4. Create a Safety Policy

Safety policies promote a safety culture in the workplace and lay the groundwork for your employees to follow safe driving behavior.

A few things to add to your safety policy would be:

  • All vehicles must contain a GPS monitoring system
  • Driver safety rules such as never driving while fatigued or otherwise impaired
  • No extra personnel allowed in vehicles
  • When parked or left alone, the vehicle should remain locked
  • The keys should be with the driver at all times to prevent theft
  • The car should be free of litter
  • Road safety measures to be followed when it comes to changing lanes, speed limits, and stopping at red lights

You should also have a Driver Eligibility section that outlines what employees need in order to be eligible to drive, such as drug tests, background checks, and an active driver’s license.

 5. Hold Drivers Accountable

There are two types of reward systems fleet managers can use to control employee performance: negative and positive reinforcement. These proven strategies will either give your employees something to work toward or something they will want to work harder to avoid.

Positive Rewards

Fleet business owners may want to reward their employees for their safe driving behavior on the road. It could benefit you to implement a set of rewards such as:

  • A gift card
  • Free lunch/dinner
  • Event tickets
  • The “Driver of the Month” parking spot
  • Office party

You should explain the guidelines for your reward system to your employees and let them know that positive reinforcement is awarded should they excel. This will surely encourage safer driving behavior and boost employee morale.

Negative Reinforcement

On the other hand, setting up violations containing negative results will drive employees to work hard to keep from getting into trouble.

Consider these methods:

  • Verbally reprimanding employee
  • Random drug testing
  • Close monitoring of employee
  • Saturday added as a workday
  • A “Reckless Driving” sticker on the back of the vehicle with a number that people can call to report reckless behavior

By using negative reinforcement in the workplace, you will ensure that your staff practices safe driving behavior and understands the consequences that will follow should safety violations occur.

6. Use Drivesafe Training

The best way to ensure your drivers are safe out on the road is to enroll them in one of our Drivesafe training courses.

No matter what, your drivers will experience unsafe conditions out on the road like crazy drivers zipping in and out of lanes, poor weather, or low visibility. All of these scenarios can come about unexpectedly, which is what our courses specialize in teaching.

Drivesafe will also cost you less money for enrollment, lower insurance premiums, and help reduce driving fines, all while re-educating your drivers on basic road rules and safety measures.

Drivesafe courses are virtual. Once completed, your drivers will receive an instant certification of completion, walking away with refreshed road rule knowledge that will lower your risk of liability, prevent vehicle damage, and, most importantly, save lives.

A Final Word on Fleet Driver Safety

Fleet driver safety is your most important focus when running a private company. There are a number of variables you must take into consideration just to keep your driver’s safe and your company protected. That’s why Drivesafe is here to keep you informed with all the best tips and training.

If you want to ensure that your employees’ driving habits are top-notch, as well as find the best cost of virtual defensive driving courses on the market, then we encourage you to check out our free demo today!