Fleet managers have a range of key issues to deal with, and the human factor of driver risk is one of the most challenging. A number of fleet risk management strategies can be employed to improve driver management, from tailored driver training to fleet maintenance, helping minimise the risk of accidents, damage and insurance claims.
Driver Risk Management Strategies for Fleet Managers
Consolidate Your Policies
Strong business management relies on clear policies that are transparent and regularly refreshed. Every department including fleet management should ensure they have clear, well-understood policies across the operation.
This should cover all business and driver imperatives from safety precautions to speed requirements.
Any overly complex or dense policies should be redrafted with clarity in mind and made available to drivers within apps or portals for ease of access. Quick online quizzes can ensure drivers understand the policies and reinforce training.
The Value of Training Your Drivers
All new drivers should be put through a comprehensive training program, with regular refreshers. Each driver must be trained to your exact specifications and in business policies.
Training enables the business to judge the skills of fleet drivers, while regular training reinforces best practices that reduces the risk to drivers and other road users, further reducing the risk to the business.
Data from your fleet and drivers can help create a bespoke training programme. What are the recurring risks? For instance, information collected on speeding and harsh braking can determine which decisions and errors are leading to driver incidents and accidents, and training can zero in on these issues.
Driver Management Remains A Key Task
As companies become more automated, it is easy for fleet managers to rely on the dashboard. However, fleet managers can show their value to the business when it comes to managing drivers across all areas from training, adherence to policies and dealing with non-compliance. Creating a strong relationship with drivers and handling the balance between their skills and the need for increasingly automated monitoring and metrics will help maintain a motivated driver force and prevent turnover problems.
Staying on top of insurance rates and incidents remains a lead priority for fleet managers. They must ensure the company is getting competitive rates while providing the most comprehensive cover to protect the firm as some incidents or accidents are inevitable.
Insurance represents between 13-24% of the TCO excluding the asset and the driver, therefore the best insurance policies include in-built risk management allowing premiums to be reduced in real-time in-line with risk reduction, with cost reductions implemented in-policy rather than post-policy.
As increasing use of data-based insurance systems help produce fairer policies, fleet managers must be aware of the changing levels of automation, data collection and their impact on the driver to ensure value for the business and good relations with insurers and drivers.
Maintain Your Fleet
Proper fleet maintenance remains key to maximising vehicle availability and managing driver risk. It also reduces the risk of accidents and improves vehicle performance. Data-led insights can be used to implement predictive maintenance, helping fleets prevent vehicle breakdowns while reducing upkeep costs by predicting when parts will fail based on performance data and other information. This, in turn, leads to less downtime and increased revenue generation.
Whatever the pressures on a business, fleet managers must fight for the best possible maintenance and service options to help mitigate risk and deliver business value.
Implement Management Software
Fleet management software is invaluable for managing driver risk. Connected apps and dashboards alerts fleet managers to incidents, maintenance timelines and insurance renewal deadlines. Dashboards make it far easier to track and implement vehicle maintenance promptly, while some firms still rely on spreadsheets or paper-based solutions.
Other management software can track whether or not your drivers are complying with safety policies. This is used with dash cams and speed recorders to monitor driver behaviour.
As a fleet manager, juggling the competing concerns of a business to minimise cost and maximise fleet availability and efficiency requires paying attention to many moving pieces of the fleet. Modern digital services and applications present the vital data at the right times to ensure they make the best decisions for all parties, and reduce the risk to drivers, the fleet and the company.