Create a Culture of Safety with Your Fleet
Originally published: 06.01.15 by Kevin Burnett
Because your technicians spend much of their time in the field traveling from job to job, driver safety must be top of mind as the business owner.
To protect your employees, prevent motor vehicle accidents and minimize the risk of liability and accident claims, there are certain steps that should be taken.
Implementing a fleet management solution and providing technicians with in-house driver education courses can help to improve the safety of your drivers, vehicles and reputation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), motor vehicle crashes are the leadig cause of fatalities in the workplace — more than fires, explosions, trips, falls and equipment incidents combined.
In addition to speeding, aggressive driving behaviors such as harsh braking, rapid acceleration and sharp cornering can put your drivers and other motorists at risk.
GPS fleet tracking not only pinpoints aggressive driving behaviors, it ranks the top and bottom performers, so you can determine which drivers are following the rules of the road and which drivers need more coaching.
Sure-Fire, Inc., a residential and commercial HVAC and electrical company in Horicon, Wisc., uses this data to create driver incentives, which is an effective way to get technicians on board and promote safety.
Along with aggressive driving, distracted driving is a major concern among field service businesses. Finding a fleet tracking provider that offers a distracted driving solution is crucial.
Using this technology, you can prevent technicians from calling, texting, emailing and surfing the web while driving. This will help to keep technicians focused on the road rather than their cell phones.
Driver training and GPS fleet management technology goes hand in hand to improve all aspects of fleet safety.
Being able to use a fleet tracking solution to monitor driver behavior allows you to determine if there are safety issues and if so, what they are. With that information, you can provide your technicians with the appropriate training and reinforce the importance of safety.
Certain fleet tracking providers actually offer driver education courses, so you or your fleet manager can use a complete driver safety solution.
When looking into training, keep in mind there are different options to choose from, such as classroom sessions and online courses.
Since schedules often vary among employees, it's important to find the solution that works around the priorities of your business. Online education courses can be a valuable resource, as they are self-paced and allow field technicians to study online at home or in the office.
Online training also allows you or your fleet manager to assign courses to individuals or the entire team, whereas classroom sessions don't leave much room for flexibility.
Driver training courses can be used as a proactive and reactive approach to safety. The courses can be used to educate new hires on safe driving techniques, reinforce safety measures for those with multiple policy violations and continuously educate technicians on safety best practices.
As with fleet management technology, being able to streamline processes is ideal for business owners and fleet managers with busy schedules. By decreasing the amount of time it takes to train technicians, you can increase productivity and keep your business running as usual.
Being able to better understand the driving habits of your employees and provide the necessary tools for improvement can enhance your bottom line and keep your fleet operating at the highest level possible.
Kevin Burnett is operations manager at NexTraq. NexTraq's applications — Fleet Dispatch, Fleet Metrics and NexTraq Connect — deliver real-time data needed to optimize fleet operations. For additional information, visit nextraq.com.