While you didn't get into your business to operate a small fleet of vehicles, your employees rely on them to get to the job site and do what they do best. Owners and managers who take safety seriously, comply with OSHA and other regulations, teach best practices and impart their safety culture oftentimes do not extend that out to one of the more dangerous aspects of the job: getting there.
Not getting into the specifics, auto accidents are nothing you want to experience with one of your drivers in one of your branded trucks or vans. Getting calls from other motorists about excessive speed or dangerous behavior about one of your drivers is not the image of professionalism you want to convey to the public. So how do you bridge the gap between safety on the job site and safe driving?
First, you should treat driving as part of your general safety culture. Just like violations on the job can be measured in terms of accidents, procedures not being followed or complaints, so can driving behavior. And by using a system to objectively score drivers, you can monitor and provide feedback to cut down on the likelihood of getting complaints about your drivers and promote a healthy safety culture in your organization.
Step 1: Safety Policy
Create the necessary documents that clearly explain what your expectations are for your drivers and how their performance will be evaluated. This doesn't have to be a novel, but a simple set of rules and guidelines about acceptable behavior that will be taken just as seriously as it would in other areas of your business.
Step 2: The Scorecard
Use data sources such as complaints, traffic infractions, accidents, damage to vehicles, GPS safety data and maintenance repair costs to score the drivers. Find what metrics are most relevant to you business, do your trucks come back with bumper damage from drivings not paying attention or following a car too closely? How about excessive brake pad wear due to a lead foot?
Step 3: Reinforcement
No one wants to be on the bottom of the performance list and generally people want to see how they are doing against their peers. Hold monthly safety meetings, post the scorecard results, share best practices among drivers, hold contests that reward good behavior. These activities will reinforce that your safety policy is to be taken seriously.
Finally, don't let your policy become static. If you set out to achieve certain goals and meet them, re-evaluate and adjust your strategy as needed to keep it relevant and to set higher goals for your team to meet.