Safety For Fleets
Did you know that the accident rate of commercial fleet vehicles in a year is about 20% and the average value of loss incurred is about $70000 for a vehicle accident? Of all the vehicle accident that occurs in the US, a big chunk (about 40%) include commercial vehicles. On top of that, fatalities in big truck crashes have risen to about 12% which include drivers, passengers in the other vehicle, and even pedestrians.Now some of you might wonder “what is fleet management?” and some of you might already know. So for those who don’t know, in simple words fleet management is referred to the management of a fleet (which involves all the commercial automobiles a company owns) and it is very important for a company to maintain as well as to manage all the automobiles it owns.
Due to all these accidents, the fleet businesses suffer from huge losses. The company’s assets like the vehicles and employees become their liabilities, this can often lead to a loss in productivity, reduction in revenue, paying insurance costs (if it’s the driver’s fault), medical costs, and collateral damages cost.Traditionally fleet managers used to be appointed for this purpose, but due to the advancement and rise in number of automobiles owned by a company, a single person cannot handle all the automobiles, inspect drivers, maintain the fleet and perform rest of the tasks done by a fleet manager.
Accidents occur due to many reasons, bad weather, poor road conditions, poor judgement, over speeding etc. Even though we cannot control everything, we can take precaution to avoid such mishaps. Fleet safety is one of the critical responsibility that should be adopted by all organizations.That’s when the need for fleet management software arises. But wait, you might say that the fleet manager can make sub departments, assign one person to each department and manage those people. Unfortunately that idea is not too effective and it also raises the expenditure of the company due to an increase in the number of employees. Thus now a days the need for a fleet management Software is quite vital.
Drivers play a pivotal role in any fleet, hence their screening and selection process should be thoroughly completed. Appropriate training should be provided to all drivers to eliminate issues like rash driving, aggressive lane changing, speeding, and to promote defensive driving, collision prevention, ways to safely share the road with other drivers, ability to drive in extreme weather conditions, and efficient ways of driving to minimize the possibility of accidents.
Restriction on drugs and alcohol and compulsion to put on a seat belt should be stated under a written safety regulation policy that should be signed by the driver (for both in-office and driving scenarios). The safety regulation policy should also state the penalties and other safety instructions that should be followed by the driver. Phones are also major distractions nowadays, so strict policies regarding the usage of phone while driving should be implemented.
Quarterly or yearly meetings on safety issues with drivers should be organized and appropriate strategy should be made based on the driver’s feedback. In this way, the fleet managers or the owners can find the root cause of problems in their fleet and ultimately eliminate them. The company should also provide good facilities and adequate rest for a driver making him fit to drive within his shift hours. Drivers can also be given bonuses/incentives when they perform well which will also motivate them to maintain and even improve their performance.
Investment in upgrading the vehicle and equipping it with safety technologies like dashboard and road safety cameras, parking sensors, voice-assisted guiding systems, accelerometer and gyroscope systems etc. will help to prevent accidents. A dashboard camera is highly recommended because some countries have a “dashcam car insurance” discount and moreover the footage from the dashcam acts a proof to avail insurance.
Not only safe driving techniques but also a driver should know the proper steps that should be taken in case of an accident because the wrong decision after accidents can make the situation even worse. The action to be taken after the accident by the driver includes mainly, effective investigation of damages to the vehicle damage and human injuries, preparing a report of all the observations, and then taking the appropriate action based on the observation.
Some tips for the drivers when met with an accident are-
- Stay calm, most drivers become restless which can make the situation worse with the other driver or the police.
- Pull to the side of the road to and help if anyone’s injured.
- Utilize the emergency kit in your vehicle.
- Call for medical assistance and police if the condition is severe.
- Contact the employer and collect information about the accident by either documentation or visual proof like video/ photo.
The companies should have a proper management system for vehicle inspection and repair, dealing with expected breakdowns, and also to give support to affected drivers.
And before taking any vehicle for a drive, a driver should check:-
- The dashboard, to take a look at all the gauges (speedometer, odometer, fuel, oil, coolant etc.) and other indicators like seat belt sign, battery, and engine light etc.
- Tire pressure, the proper arrangement of the goods within the load limit, testing of communication and GPS systems.
- The driver’s window should be open, mirrors should be adjusted and the windshield should provide a clear view of the surroundings.
- All the light (signal, tail and main lights) should be functional.
- Rest of the systems like the defroster, emergency flashers, brake fluid etc.
- All the necessary documents like IDs, insurance, goods receipt etc. should be available.
- The emergency kit that should include the basic first aid, a mechanical tool kit, flares, a flashlight (with charged batteries), etc.
- And last but not least, before beginning any trip, the driver should study the route, current weather and traffic conditions to analyse any delays or route changes if necessary.
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