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Managing fleet safety – what are the key success factors?

Andy Price

Assuming that you’ve already decided to manage the safety of your fleet - because you want to minimise the risk of harm to employees and other road users, or you want to enhance your Corporate Social Responsibilities, or you want to manage your Total Cost of Risk, or perhaps for all three reasons – then what are the key success factors you need to get right to achieve continuous improvement in your collision and claim rates?

It might be tempting to initially focus on employees making work-related road journeys, as after all they are the ones driving vehicles and having collisions, aren’t they? This would be a mistake. Developing safer drivers is an important element of any work-related road risk management program but first they must be driving in an environment in which they can, should they choose to do so, drive safely. So it is critical that you create this safe working environment initially. But how do you do that?

The first thing to address is your management systems. It is important to remember here that it is not just the driving and vehicle safety policies that need to be developed – it is equally if not more important to look at your operating policies, procedures and practices that might have an impact on how an employee behaves behind the wheel. You can have the best driving policies in the world but if there are conflicting operational demands on the employee then they are inevitably going to take risks, no matter how safe a driver they are.

It is also important to remember that it is not just about having good management systems – you need managers to embrace these and take responsibility for managing their direct reports. Line Managers should be trained to understand the critical role they play in managing fleetsafety, and how to engage with their direct reports to discuss their driving, such as in post-collision debriefs and discussing trends and exceptions in telemetry data.

This is what we at Fleet Safety Management focus on – helping organisations, based on their risk appetite, develop their management systems, and their managers, to help achieve sustainable reductions incollision and claim rates.

The first key success factor is having operational polices, practices and procedures that allow employees to drive safely, supported by strong driving and vehicle safety policies, to create an environment in which employees can drive safely.

The challenge then is getting employees to drive safely – driving is a very emotive issue, and everyone thinks they can drive safely don’t they? As such, it is critical that you get employees to realise that they might not be the best drivers in the world, making them more receptive to change. You need to develop a strong on-road safety culture that is an easy thing to say but in practice takes a long time to achieve. This is the second key success factor – the subject of a future blog perhaps...

Andy Price

Director – Fleet Safety Management