Addressing unsafe driving habits can be an awkward experience for both business managers and drivers, but disciplining (or rewarding!) your drivers is an essential component of any effective fleet safety program.
It can be tempting to avoid confrontation by turning a blind eye to common, unsafe driving behaviors like speeding and harsh braking, but these habits can lead to collisions and other moving violations that can be extremely costly to your business.
Speaking to your drivers about unsafe driving habits doesn't have to be an uncomfortable experience. Make it simple with these easy steps:
In a perfect world, your drivers would operate their vehicles safely and efficiently at all times, but total compliance is often an unrealistic goal, especially when your fleet consists of multiple vehicles.
Clearly communicating your expectations regarding driver safety is the most effective way to prevent unsafe behaviors before they become a problem, and the best way to accomplish this is to create a formalized fleet safety policy. A good fleet safety policy will:
Gaining support from your drivers and employees is essential to successfully creating and implementing a fleet safety policy. If you're crafting a brand new policy, be sure to include your employees in the entire process by soliciting their feedback on proposed rules and regulations, asking for suggestions on how to improve fleet safety, and making yourself available to answer any questions or concerns.
It's especially important to involve your employees in any decisions regarding disciplinary strategies. If your employees are familiar with the consequences of non-compliant behavior, it will be easier for you to address unsafe habits.
When you rely on anecdotal evidence and self-reporting to assess driver safety in the field, it can be difficult to identify and address unsafe behaviors before they become a serious problem.
Tools like GPS tracking devices monitor driver behavior remotely and alert you in real-time to any unsafe behaviors. They also provide detailed driver safety report cards for individual vehicles or your entire fleet, which can help you identify unsafe driving patterns and drivers that require individual coaching, or even drivers with a proven record of safe driving.
Learn more about monitoring driver safety using GPS tracking devices.
You may wish to complement your GPS tracking data with periodic motor vehicle report (MVR) checks. These checks will alert you to other moving violations not captured by your GPS devices, such as failing to signal, improper lane changes, following too closely, or even DUIs.
When you can rely on accurate data instead of anecdotal evidence, you can approach your drivers confidently to encourage safe driving or address breaches and non-compliant behavior.
Read more about using GPS tracking devices to identify unsafe behaviors and prevent unnecessary accidents.
Always address non-compliant drivers according to the rules and regulations set out in your formalized fleet safety policy.
Before you take disciplinary action, have an open conversation with your driver. Sometimes, safety alerts can be triggered through no fault of the driver, such as braking harshly to avoid something suddenly entering the road. It may also help to involve a human resources representative, especially in the case of frequent or severe breaches.
Points-based systems are common and effective methods for disciplining employees. A good point system will include progressive levels of discipline based on the severity or frequency of the breach.
Annual or semi-annual training sessions, as well as regular reminders to watch speeds or buckle up, keep driver safety top-of-mind and can help create a culture of safety that will translate to how your employees operate their vehicles in the field.
Specialized re-training seminars can also be an effective method of coaching drivers with a history of unsafe behavior without immediately resorting to more drastic disciplinary measures like fines or even termination.
You may also want to train your drivers on GPS tracking software and how the data tracking devices collect can help improve driver safety and fleet productivity. GPS tracking can seem like an invasion of privacy, but when your drivers understand that GPS tracking can benefit them directly, they're more likely to support its implementation.
Get our tips for getting your drivers on board with GPS tracking.
GPS tracking devices and MVR checks can also help you identify safe drivers. Rewarding drivers (or your entire fleet) for driving safely can be an extremely effective method of maintaining and promoting driver safety. Common rewards include:
Confronting drivers about unsafe driving habits doesn't need to be awkward. Formalized fleet safety policies that clearly outline driver safety expectations and the consequences for non-compliant behavior can help you encourage driver safety, as well as ease tensions when disciplinary measures are required.
Learn more about how GPS trackers can help you improve driver safety.