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September 11, 2023 / by Yurii Kolomiiets

8 Useful Tips for Keeping Your Fleet Safe This Summer

Summertime is a fun time for many. Most kids are out of school, adults take their vacations from work, and many families head out on road trips. This can lead to crowded roadways full of people driving to their summer destinations.

The increased summer road traffic makes it the most hazardous time of year to drive. According to the National Safety Council, June through August see more vehicular accident deaths, on average, than any other three-month period of the year. That makes summer an important time to prioritize fleet safety. Here are some helpful safety tips to protect your drivers during the summer months.

Promote a safety-first culture

Stressing safety in every aspect of fleet management has its benefits. Regardless of a person’s role in the organization, a safety-first mindset can help each fleet team member focus on the safety of everyone involved. You can promote a safer fleet culture through new driver training, route planning, and electronic monitoring that reduce the possibility of risky driving behaviors.

Prioritize your drivers

Supporting and concentrating on your drivers does more than just boost driver retention. It also helps to promote a safe working environment. From the new hires to your seasoned driving corps, your daily attention to their well-being can reinforce a healthy and safe workplace, whether on the road or not. Your driver-oriented approach should include proactive risk prevention, innovative health and wellness initiatives, incident mitigation, incentives, and growth opportunities.

Start a recognition and reward system

Fleet management software allows drivers to monitor their progress through a mobile app. Management can also use app data to establish a cash reward system for drivers reaching their safety goals for a specified period. After setting measurable goals and standards, you can use videos to routinely highlight safe driving habits and showcase award-winning drivers throughout the organization.

Schedule regular vehicle maintenance checks

The  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates 35% of large truck crashes involve brake and tire problems — issues easily addressed by routine maintenance. That’s why a regular preventive maintenance schedule can lower the risk of accidents in your fleet. Streamline the process by using a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) with electronic logging devices to schedule vehicle maintenance and inspections efficiently.

Provide continuous driver training and coaching  

Since driver error is a contributing factor in about 65% of big-truck accidents, ongoing fleet driver safety training and driving coaching are essential in a safety-first fleet. You can use a combination of in-class instruction, behind-the-wheel training, webinars, and video systems to teach your drivers the best methods for reducing accidents on the road.

In addition, a TMS with a logistics platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can help fleet managers get more perspective on driver behavior through persistent monitoring, reporting, tracking, correcting, and coaching. Even long-time veteran drivers can develop safer skills through ongoing training and coaching.

Recruit and retain quality drivers

Recruiting and retaining quality drivers is essential to overall fleet safety in several ways. Unfortunately, the drug and alcohol problem in the U.S. makes this process more difficult. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an alcohol-impaired driver is responsible for 32 deaths from vehicle crashes a day. That equates to one death every 45 minutes.  For this reason, implementing drug screening and background checks in the hiring process can enhance fleet safety. You should also require all new hires and current drivers to have a Motor Vehicle Report before operating any fleet vehicles.

Once you acquire good drivers, you can establish mentorship and career development programs to help retain them. It’s also important to develop convenient communication channels through in-person and online forums or phone conferencing.

Implement a distracted driving policy

Distracted driving is extremely dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that distracted driving took the lives of 3,522 people in 2021 alone. By definition, any activity that takes a driver’s mind off controlling a large vehicle is an unsafe distraction — and it could have tragic consequences. You can significantly improve your fleet driving safety program by taking a firm stance against distracted driving. Your policy should also prohibit cellphone use while operating fleet vehicles, especially text communications.

Be an advocate for compliance

The U.S. government enforces rules and regulations to keep commercial drivers and the public safe. Strict compliance with these rules is an effective way to enhance fleet driving safety. It’s also essential to abide by local and state commercial vehicle and driver regulations.

Driver fatigue and illness are factors in 16% of commercial truck crashes. As a result,  the FMCSA emphasizes the enforcement of drivers’ hours of service (HOS). You can make HOS compliance more manageable with a web-based transportation management system that includes electronic logging devices (ELDs) for tracking HOS and video systems for monitoring driver behaviors, including signs of drowsiness, speeding, and distracted driving.

Ensuring a safe and successful summer

The dangers of summer traffic are real for commercial fleets, and this raises the stakes for all your drivers. Fortunately, you can address specific fleet safety challenges and improve your overall safety strategy by using advanced Solera fleet management technology. To explore how we can help you enhance your fleet safety, visit Solera Fleet Solutions today.