Developing a Culture of Safe Driving

Safety is a primary concern to the modern-day fleet manager. Safe driving reduces insurance costs, keeps vehicles at maximum utilisation, reduces maintenance costs and fuel consumption. But most importantly safe driving keeps your staff members in good health.

On average, fleets experience a 20% accident rate per year. That's a huge number given the costs and risks associated with accidents. Reducing these accident rates should be your business's primary objective for developing a safer driving culture.

Breaking through the mental barrier with employees who have been driving for years, are more aggressive in their driving styles and who don't think they need safety training can be challenging.

Developing Awareness & Changing Attitudes

The first step to driving change in attitudes is to get buy-in and recognition from senior management on the financial impacts of accidents. By educating them on the key metrics around accident rates, overall associated costs including on productivity, the drive to change will be more strongly supported from up top.

Some great starting points for this conversation are that:

  • 1/5 vehicles will have an accident per year (on average)
  • The average total insurance cost inclusive of property damage, worker's compensation and third-party costs is $28,122 per incident
  • 80% of organisations believe their fleet safety record could be improved

You can quickly extrapolate from that the hard costs as well as the risks for staff, and if you already have a fleet management system in place, then there will be plenty of data in there to pull!

Educating Staff

The next step is working with and educating your employees around the statistical relevance of accident data within the company and industry. Make sure your employees are aware of the risks on a personal level and relate it to their situation.

  • Road crashes are the most common form of work-related death in Australia.
  • Drivers are 29-50% more liable to have a crash when driving for work purposes.

Attributing and Measuring Driving Records

Finally, work with your employees around their driving performance. Create an individual record for every employee with information of their driving performance including accidents, recorded violations, speeding tickets and fleet policy violations and make sure these records are available to the individuals so they can see how they look on paper.

Once they have this baseline, integrate this driving performance into their overall employee performance reviews and make them attributable to their actions. Both managers and drivers should be held accountable for safe driving records, by making their records visible and responsive, drivers and managers are more likely to recognise what risk profile they are and can alter their behaviour to address it.

It's important for managers to remember that it's just as important to recognise drivers who perform well, not just punishing those who are at risk. The company should be championing those who engender a safe driving culture, not vilifying those who haven't yet altered their behaviour.

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