Fleet Risk Management and Road Safety Measures to Protect Drivers and Your Company.

In a previous blogs, we discussed how to hire drivers for your distribution business, focusing on key aspects to attract the right talent to improve business operations and reduce staff turnover. In this article, we want to tackle another important aspect: your company's fleet management program and how it contributes to drivers' safety on the road. This is critical for the overall wellbeing of your employees and for retaining truck drivers in a competitive job market.

We've all faced the annoyance of car troubles or road mishaps that eat into our time and disrupt our productivity. These situations are both stressful and expensive for everyone, but more so for businesses in distribution, transportation, and delivery. And while issues on the road can impact employees across the company, the drivers responsible for delivering products and services to customers are the ones exposed to most risk and bare the brunt of the immediate consequences.


The Importance of Fleet Risk Management

Every business should have a risk management plan.  A risk management plan identifies and analyzes potential risks to a business and sets solutions to minimize or avoid them.  Having risk management policies and procedures in place is one way for companies to protect the organization and the employees against potential risks, and influence the company culture make safety and best practices a priority.

For distributors, field service, and delivery businesses, investing in a Safety Program to address operational risks and promote the well-being of drivers not only protects them in the event of work incidents but also protects the business against potential risks that put operations and company at risk.  Prioritizing road safety for drivers shows commitment to their well-being and recognizing them as integral members of your team.  This builds a strong company culture foundation of trust and loyalty and fosters a positive work environment.  It's no secrete that when drivers feel valued, they are more likely to feel company loyalty, are more motivated and dedicated to upholding the company's standards of safety and service excellence.  This, in turn, contributes to a stellar reputation in the industry and positions your business ahead of competitors who may not place the same level of emphasis on driver well-being and road safety. 

Now, let's delve into some things you can implement to ensure your drivers' safety and safeguard your business from potential road-related risks:

Fleet Risk Review

Driver Records and Background Checks

Vehicle Inspection Program

Establish and Review Company Policies

risk review truck driver


Fleet Risk Review

Conducting a Fleet Risk Review, also referred to as a Fleet Safety Review, involves an examination of the company's fleet and driver safety programs.  A Fleet Risk Review is a process under Fleet Risk Management, which entails identifying potential issues that may compromise the compliance and safety of a fleet and developing the structure and practices to address these issues and make necessary improvements.  The goals of any risk assessment are to ensure the safety of drivers and other motorists, the protection of assets, the minimization of financial risks, and the optimization of fleet operations.

Needless to say, in the realm of distribution, transportation, and logistics, a Fleet Risk Review is crucial to safeguarding drivers and the fleet.  The full assessment of potential hazards and risks associated with work-related driving will guide policies and suggest procedures to fix risk issues. Fleet Risk Reviews vary from company to company depending on their operations, but the assessment generally centers around several core areas:

Policies and procedures

Review all standing policies and procedures currently in place and ensure that they are remain relevant and aligned with the current company goals and operations. If there are no policies in place, establishing robust safety policies and procedures that address the identified risks and align with industry best practices and legal requirements would be essential.  These policies and procedures need to be communicated to all drivers and stakeholders.  Their importance and potential consequences for non-compliance should be emphasized.

Drivers selection and training programs  

Review the hiring and training process in place for all drivers.  This includes an assessment of the qualifications required, the interview process, and onboarding procedures.  Once hired, the proper training must be in place to ensure new drivers follow all safety protocols established by the company.  The Fleet Risk Review should examine that the training is up to date and meeting compliance requirements.  Good training programs include defensive driving techniques, vehicle handling training, and safety regulations training to enhance driver's skills and awareness. 

Vehicle Maintenance

Another key area to review for Fleet Risk is the Vehicle Maintenance program. Regular vehicle inspections, maintenance schedules, and prompt repairs ensure that vehicles are in optimal condition and meet compliance regulations. They also reduce the chances of breakdowns or accidents caused by mechanical failures.  When doing a Fleet Risk Review, look for daily driver pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspection procedures and preventive maintenance schedules.  Ensure that documentation and record keeping is systematic and consistent and that issues are reported effectively so that necessary repairs are done in a timely manner.

Technology: Telematics and GPS

The use of technology can greatly assist fleet managers establish safety protocols and evaluate training needs.  Telematics systems and GPS tracking devices allow fleet managers to monitor driver behavior such as speeding, harsh braking, and idling, while  GPS tracking can show instances of route deviations in real-time.  This insights into driver habits and vehicle performance allows organizations to take corrective actions and enforce safety policies and therefore should be reviewed at least annually to ensure they continue to be relevant and consistent.

Accident management

In the unfortunate event of an accident or breakdowns on the road, an accident management plan provides managers and drivers with the guidelines on what steps to take to handle the situation safety and legally. This can help mitigate accident and insurance costs. It also helps the company understand the exposures and can reduce the potential for future losses. During the Fleet Risk Review, ensure that there is a step-by-step action plan to deal with emergencies on the road, including the protocols for alerting the authorities and medical assistance, documentation requirements, and reporting.  

Monitor, Analyze, and Improve 

Every company should have a system in place to constantly monitor and evaluate the Fleet Risk Management program. This entails collecting data for selected key performance indicators (KPIs) and establishing a time frame when they  should be analyzed to see if you are meeting the Fleet Management Program's goals and objectives.  Part of the review process should also include conducting audits that can identify problems before they happen. It's a good idea to get feedback from drivers and stakeholders who execute the associated jobs on a daily basis as they can give specific insights that may not be immediately obvious to fleet managers.  The findings from data analysis and audits need to effectively be reported to fleet managers  so that they can make informed decisions, implement targeted interventions, and track the effectiveness of risk management strategies.

So why is this process is crucial for maintaining a secure and efficient operation?

Proactive Risk Identification:

A Fleet Risk Review goes beyond merely reacting to incidents. It involves a proactive analysis of potential risks. This can include everything from driver behavior assessments to vehicle maintenance records. By identifying areas of concern beforehand, you're better equipped to implement preemptive measures.

Regulatory Compliance:

In an ever-evolving landscape of transportation regulations, compliance is non-negotiable. A Fleet Risk Review ensures that your fleet not only meets current standards but also stays ahead of emerging requirements. This helps prevent costly fines and legal complications.

Driver Performance Evaluation:

Your drivers are the backbone of your operation. A Fleet Risk Review allows for a detailed evaluation of their performance. This covers areas like adherence to traffic rules, response to emergency situations, and compliance with company policies. It's a chance to reward commendable practices and address any concerns promptly.

Vehicle Maintenance Integrity:

Well-maintained vehicles are safer vehicles. The Fleet Risk Review scrutinizes maintenance logs, ensuring that each vehicle is in optimal working condition. This reduces the likelihood of breakdowns, which can lead to accidents or delivery delays.

Data-Driven Decision Making:

The Fleet Risk Review process leverages data analytics to guide decision-making. It provides valuable insights into areas where improvements can be made. This data-driven approach ensures that resources are allocated efficiently and effectively.

Insurance Premium Management:

A comprehensive Fleet Risk Review can positively impact your insurance premiums. By demonstrating a commitment to safety and risk mitigation, you're more likely to negotiate favorable rates with insurers. This directly impacts your bottom line.

Crisis Preparedness:

In the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance, being prepared can make all the difference. A Fleet Risk Review often includes a crisis management plan, outlining steps to take in various scenarios. This level of preparedness minimizes panic and confusion, allowing for swift and effective responses.

Continuous Improvement:

A Fleet Risk Review isn't a one-and-done process. It establishes a framework for ongoing safety enhancements. Regular reviews and updates ensure that your fleet remains in peak condition and in compliance with evolving industry standards.

In conclusion, a Fleet Risk Review is an indispensable tool for any organization relying on a fleet for its operations. It not only fortifies the safety of your drivers and assets but also enhances your overall operational efficiency. Don't view it as an expense, but rather as an investment in the longevity and success of your business.

Conduct MVR and Background Checks

A key part of the safety program is conducting background checks and motor vehicle records reviews.  Beyond verifying the validity of a candidates documentation, background checks and Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) reviews offer valuable data for assessing potential risks associated with hiring and whether the candidate is a right fit for the company. 

Performing background checks can help reduce the risk for criminal activities such as workplace violence, abuse, and theft.  Background checks can be very thorough where you can do criminal records searches, ID searches, conduct professional verifications and international screening.  Some companies handle the drug testing process and even do social media screening.  Companies like Verified Credential make the process simple and efficient for both the company and the applicant, and the engaging format of the mobile App make the process feel less procedural for the applicant.

Motor Vehicle Records provide information specifically on the person's driving history.  They contain details about traffic citations, license suspensions, DUI convictions, and accident reports.  States sometimes have MVR records that contain two sections: standard records and lifetime records. In standard records,  violations are tracked between 5-10 years depending on the state.  Lifetime records show information about the person's entire driving history.  When hiring drivers,  conducting MVR  reviews can help hiring managers evaluate if the candidate's history poses a risk for the company. 

Companies can create an assessment based on the driver's license review, considering factors such as:

  • The number of accidents or violations on the road within a specific timeframe.
  • The number of "at-fault" accidents over a designated period (e.g., accidents in the last 2 years).
  • Whether the employee's license has been revoked or suspended. If so, evaluate how many times within the last 3 to 5 years.
  • Assess the number of violations related to driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

With this insight, you can make informed decisions about hiring the right people for your company.

Inspect Your Vehicles

As per official data from the Department of Transport, "most breakdowns are preventable, and simple vehicle checks can contribute to a safe journey."

Evaluating the safety of company vehicles driven by employees is of utmost importance, especially when your business doesn't own these vehicles. Safety assessments play a vital role in identifying potential safety risks, and conducting them regularly significantly reduces breakdowns on the road.

Vehicle safety checks do not need to be complex. Even by implementing straightforward vehicle safety policies and reminding drivers to inspect key elements like tires, rearview mirrors, and windshields, you can make a substantial improvement in enhancing safety. Here are the top 5 actionable steps to implement when inspecting your vehicles for enhanced safety:

Establish a Routine Inspection Schedule:

Implement a regular vehicle inspection schedule that all drivers are aware of. This could be daily, before each trip, or on a weekly basis depending on your operational needs.

Provide Clear Inspection Guidelines:

Furnish drivers with a clear checklist of what needs to be inspected. Include crucial components like tires, brakes, lights, mirrors, and any specific equipment that's pertinent to your industry.

Offer Proper Training:

Conduct training sessions to educate drivers on how to perform vehicle inspections effectively. Ensure they understand the significance of this routine in preventing breakdowns and ensuring road safety.

Encourage Reporting and Documentation:

Foster a culture where drivers feel comfortable reporting any issues they encounter during inspections. Make it easy for them to document and communicate any identified concerns.

Implement Corrective Action Procedures:

Have a structured process in place for addressing any issues found during inspections. This may involve immediate repairs, scheduled maintenance, or, in severe cases, taking the vehicle out of operation until it's deemed safe.

Remember, consistent and thorough vehicle inspections are not only a safety measure but also a cost-saving one. By preventing breakdowns and accidents, you're not only protecting your employees but also safeguarding your assets and minimizing potential liabilities.


road safety

Review Company Policies

It's crucial to regularly review and update your company's road safety policies. Creating handbooks and providing easily understandable guides to all staff can greatly enhance their understanding.

We shouldn't assume that employees will automatically read and remember these policies, even if they're contractual obligations with significant penalties for non-compliance. As a company leader, it's your responsibility to ensure that all employees are introduced to these policies and have the opportunity to ask questions if needed. It's also important that employees understand the reasons behind these safety policies:

  • For Their Safety and Well-being: To protect themselves.

  • For the Safety of Fellow Travelers: To ensure the safety of colleagues traveling with them.

  • For Public Safety: To keep the public on the roads safe.

Moreover, employees should feel encouraged to contribute ideas or raise concerns to help further improve the company's safety policies.

Remember, a strong safety program involves all employees. These policies should be integrated into everyday company processes, just like having a coffee area or a first aid policy. They should become part of the standard way of doing things in your company.

road safety measures

In addition, consider taking these steps to reduce risks to your business and ensure the safety of your employees on the road:

  • Flexible Work Hours and Safe Driving Practices:

    When possible, encourage employees to adjust their work hours to avoid heavy traffic, road rage, and encounters with aggressive drivers. Emphasize the importance of safe driving practices, such as obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions (e.g., texting while driving), and not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol..

  • Employee-Owned Vehicles:

    If employees use their own vehicles, ensure they are well-maintained and have proper insurance coverage. While vehicle maintenance is typically the responsibility of the employee, it also becomes your concern when they drive for your company.

  • Safety Equipment and Emergency Response Kits:

    Supply personal protective equipment like weatherproof, high-visibility jackets, and warning triangles in case of vehicle breakdowns. Equip them with navigation tools and provide phone chargers to prevent getting lost and ensure they can call for assistance if needed. Ensure that each vehicle is equipped with an emergency kit containing essentials like first aid supplies, flares, flashlights, and other items that may be needed in case of an emergency.

  • Thoughtful Scheduling, Route Planning and GPS Systems:

    Create schedules that allow drivers ample time to implement safety measures. Rushing due to poor planning can lead to fatigue and risky behavior. Encourage the use of reliable GPS systems that provide real-time traffic updates and suggest safe and efficient routes.

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  • Promote Safe Behavior:

    Encourage safe driving practices among your employees. Monitor and analyze driver behavior, including actions like speeding, harsh braking, and mobile phone use, using software tools. Consider integrating digital tools into your vehicle fleets to facilitate this.

  • Weather Conditions and Emergency Situations:

    Educate drivers on how to handle adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or fog. Provide guidance on what to do in emergency situations like breakdowns or accidents.

  • Driver Feedback and Recognition:

    Encourage open communication with your drivers. Actively seek their feedback on safety measures and recognize and reward safe driving behaviors.

  • Continuous Training and Refresher Courses:

    Safety should be an ongoing priority. Offer regular refresher courses to reinforce safe driving practices and update drivers on any new regulations or technologies.

Remember, safety is a shared responsibility between the employer and the driver. By implementing these measures and fostering a safety-conscious culture, you can significantly reduce risks and promote a safe working environment for your drivers.


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Topics from this blog: Fleet Management Drivers Safety B2B