Is your fleet aligned to best practice - and how do you know? An EQSTRA expert answers.
Working with a good fleet management company will be the defining factor in the success of your business. Unforeseen circumstances – like road accidents and the resultant insurance claims – add up to lost time and money and are an expense no business can afford to incur. With that in mind, how can fleet experts ensure their fleet is aligned to best practice – especially in regard to road safety?
How does driver safety affect my business and SA roads?
According to the AA, 2016 saw 14,071 people die on SA’s roads – a significant jump from 12,944 deaths recorded in 2015. This alarming statistic shows the highest number of road deaths recorded in the past 10 years! Without a doubt, driver safety training is paramount to reducing this figure, and will play an enormous part on road safety and in turn, business profitability.
The data shows that human factors are the biggest contributor to road crashes and fatalities, accounting for 77.5%. It stands to reason that most accidents are the result of driver error or lawlessness. That’s where fleet management technology comes to play – actively contributing towards changing the behaviour of many drivers.
For example, speed governing through GPS tracking allows you to remotely oversee the speed of the vehicle. Fleet Managers can either select to have an alarm sound in the vehicle when speed limits are exceeded or to pro-actively govern the speed of the vehicle at an agreed limit. This is just one of the many ways that fleet technology can assist with driver safety.
What is a safety programme, and how do I go about formulating one?
Fleet Managers need to launch effective safety programs within their organisations and these can be approached in the following manner;
- Cultivate a fleet vehicle safety policy. Help them to see that safety is for their benefit and that the policy exists to help protect them from getting into an accident, so they can safely get home to their families at the end of each day.
- Offer clean vehicles in proper working condition. Safety will often depend on basics like regular tire changes, making sure that all the lights and brakes are functional and ensuring visibility by regular windshield cleaning. A preventative maintenance schedule should be incorporated in your fleet safety program to minimise bigger problems down the line.
- Make driver safety training a key priority – through selecting the right fleet partner, your drivers will have access to proper training. That will teach them to 'read' the road ahead of them and improve bad driving habits they may have picked up – such as excessive speeding or hard braking.
- Promote driver safety communications - educate drivers with an ongoing set of bite-sized safety messages to keep them engaged, invested, and compliant with the fleet safety policy.
- Ultimately reduce the amount of fleet insurance claims - introducing a vehicle tracking system can encourage drivers to be responsible for their driving and to be more aware of bad habits. Motivate your drivers and encourage good driver behaviour by rewarding top drivers in your fleet.
What safety features should come as a standard in my fleet package?
There is so much information available on the safety features your fleet should possess. However, many of these so-called advanced features have been around for years, cost less than you think, and really should be part of the standard fleet safety package. Examples include;
- Automatic braking – if a driver doesn’t react fast enough, the car breaks for you. It’s a feature that’s been around for years, has saved many lives, and can be found hidden in most spec sheets.
- Driver alert systems – usually an audible alarm that goes off when drivers veer out of their lane or change lanes without indicating. The goal is to keep drivers alert, and in many cases, it helps create good driving habits.
- Cruise control or speed limiting – this can often be done via telematics systems as well, but this is a great safety feature for small fleets who don’t employ integrated fleet telematics systems. It places less strain on the driver and ensures speed is kept below the legal limit.
How do I manage my fleet's traffic fines?
It’s a fact that fleet managers around the world have nightmares about traffic fine management. Between company policy, the introduction of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO), and incomplete logbooks, the management of traffic fines is overwhelming.
The most effective and error-free way to manage your fleet’s speeding fines is to automate the entire system. By investing in fleet management technology, companies can eliminate all the admin related to managing speeding fines and even put additional measures in place that will prevent speeding in the first place. Automated system technology can;
- Speed govern – allowing the fleet manager to remotely govern the speed of the vehicle
- Biometrics - restrict drivers to specific vehicles and know exactly who drove which vehicle at certain times
- Driver Scorecard - each driver can be individually monitored for speeding
- Automated Logbook – automatically generates a weekly logbook for each driver. It uses driver biometrics and tracking systems to log all important details and ensures data is captured quickly and accurately
Every company that employs a fleet has one end goal - keep customers happy, ensure employees get to their destination safely, and deliver the service offered, all while ensuring the business remains profitable.
To guarantee your business meets best practice, it is of paramount importance to partner with the right fleet management system, who will consult with you and ensure you have the best safety technology, while employing proper driver training and reporting to keep your business one step ahead and in line with best practice.