One of the most important groups of people for any fleet is the drivers. They are out there on the road and have to deal with every aspect of the job. Accidents are also a regular part of any fleet’s operations. Most of them are preventable as they happen because of the driver’s risky behaviour. For instance, aggressive driving increases the like chances of accidents by 35%.
As a fleet manager, you can use several measures to eliminate such behaviours. This can ensure a safer fleet with a lower liability for your business and bring down your overall costs. In the following sections, we’ll take a look at the 9 best practices to improve your drivers’ behaviour.
1. Get the senior management onboard
For any kind of meaningful change, the directions coming from the top must be coherent. The position of a fleet manager allows you to introduce some changes, but many things can be above your pay grade. Before you start implementing changes in operations to target the behaviour of your drivers, it’s better to get the top management on board, so you won’t face issues down the line.
2. Set baseline metrics and mandatory practices
You must give your drivers a clear idea about your expectations. Using parameters like fuel consumption, revving, idling, acceleration, and deceleration can give you an idea of your driver’s habits. Fleet managers across the industry have different benchmarks to gauge the performance of their drivers, so you need to choose according to the nature of your fleet.
3. Leverage the power of data to understand your shortcomings
Adopting a data-driven approach allows you to understand the areas where you’ll need the most effort. For instance, your fleet drivers may have a habit of accelerating and decelerating frequently on the road. An excellent fleet management system can recognize this pattern, so you can develop strategies to specifically target this issue.
4. Involve the drivers while strategizing
Perhaps the most important stakeholders in this activity are your drivers. You’ll notice a significant improvement in their driving behaviour if you involve them in the decision-making process. No one likes to be told how to do their job, but collaboratively coming to solutions eliminates this thinking.
5. Train your drivers
Simply making policies would not be enough. You need to train your drivers to follow the best practices when they are on the road. Both targeted and general training sessions are necessary for your fleet. So, you’ll need to come up with a balanced training schedule.
6. Motivate your drivers to perform better
Positive reinforcement is a great tool for bringing meaningful and long-lasting change. You can set aside an award or a prize for the best drivers in your fleet. Perhaps have a small ceremony for your best drivers to show your appreciation. This will motivate other fleet drivers to work on their behaviour and improve your fleet’s performance.
7. Review and revise the company’s fleet management policies
Sometimes, rash driving and other dangerous behaviour of your drivers stem from serious issues from the top management. The drivers might be overworked or dealing with unrealistic deadlines. If that’s the case, you must sit together with the top management to improve them.
8. Allow handsfree cell use instead of an outright ban
It’s commonly believed that allowing limited hand-free cell phone use works better than outright banning it. Cell phones are now used for many essential functions of the job, so a blanket ban is not practical. Drivers are more likely to comply with the regulations when they are allowed a certain degree of freedom on the job. Some companies even invest in Bluetooth devices and other hands-free devices for their drivers’ convenience.
9. Continue to revise and reinforce best driving practices in your fleet
Finally, remember that improvement in any existing setup requires an iterative approach. As a fleet manager, you are responsible for regularly revising the policies and reinforcing the importance of best driving practices through training sessions and other activities.
To sum up, the behaviour of your driver has a significant impact on your fleet’s overall safety and performance. Many companies bear a lot of costs and face operational delays because of preventable accidents on the road. Through a systematic approach, you can make things better and keep your business alive.