by: Karen Bradley
The challenge of developing a safety program for your fleet has been eased in some ways by the advance of technology. Not only can policies and standards be established, but they can also be monitored using fleet tracking, dash cams or smart cams, and GPS technology. Coaching plans can now be robust, meaningful, and driven by data.
One of the prime benefits for business is that an established safety program can help ease rising insurance costs, help fleets save money by operating more efficiently, and can prevent accidents and reputation-harming events by fundamentally changing driver behavior.
However, setting up a safety program does take some work in the background before you roll it out to drivers, and it’s important to lay that foundation before you get started. Here are some tips on how to set up a safety program for your fleet and make it work for you.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that drivers are reluctant to embrace dash cams, especially driver-facing ones. Some are even hesitant about telemetric data gathered by GPS tracking and vehicle sensors. Many drivers feel like they are “being watched” and their privacy can be potentially invaded.
Everything you do in your initial setup of a safety program should be geared toward reassuring your drivers and illustrating the benefits of fleet tracking to them. It can help to explain that fleet tracking benefits them as well as the company by helping keep them safe. You want your drivers to think differently about safety and vehicle monitoring, and coming to their own conclusion that the pros far outweigh any cons.
Besides setting your driver’s minds at ease, you’ll next need to determine exactly what equipment you will use. Dashcams and additional GPS tracking should ease your workload, not increase it. There are choices: some low-level cameras cost less initially but require manual review of any footage and may lack some features of more expensive dashcam models.
More advanced cameras may cost more to start with but can automatically pass on information to managers and will often analyze footage and events for you. They also have AI features that can detect things such as seat belt use, distracted driving, cell phone use, and more. Here’s an example of a video capturing a red light infraction:
In addition to your equipment, you will want to determine what events you want to monitor, what notifications you want to receive, and who will be responsible for the analysis of data and the resulting driver coaching. Once you have set these things up, you will need to make a few more decisions about your fleet safety program.
Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to implement it. Training your drivers is essential to the program’s success. Fleet tracking helps to monitor driver safety, but any safety program is only as good as the drivers themselves. There are some simple steps you should take.
The key is to make your fleet safety program as appealing to drivers as possible, focusing on how dashcams and GPS vehicle tracking can protect them in the event of a complaint and assist them in their efforts to become better drivers with active feedback.
Through this process, you must show that you trust your drivers, and in turn, they need to be able to trust that you will not misuse their data or any images and that you will protect their privacy as well. Trust is a two-way street, and the right safety program will enhance that feeling of trust rather than taking away from it.
One way to ensure drivers embrace your fleet safety program is to clearly outline a positive feedback plan. One way to do this is through driver scorecards and even rewards for safe driving practices. A typical driver scorecard will include:
Those with the best scores (the least number of any of these things) can be rewarded, and drivers can be coached on a one-on-one basis in areas where they need improvement. Dashcam footage can help illustrate what happened in a given situation and what could have been done differently along with what the driver did well.
Dashcams also enhance the ability to monitor things like distracted driving. Footage can illustrate the potential danger the driver might be in as a result. Drivers who follow distracted driving guidelines explicitly can be rewarded and can also serve as examples to others.
Driver safety should be a cornerstone of your company culture. This means constant coaching. While some of your drivers may become superstars, others may become used to dashcams and vehicle GPS tracking, slipping back into old habits.
You will always have new employees who need training. Safety is never a matter of “mission accomplished” as much as it is constant vigilance.
Make fleet tracking and dashcams a part of your everyday operations and safety the cornerstone of who you are as a company. Ready to get started with fleet tracking and dashcams? Give us a call at EcoTrack. We’re here to help.