By: Matt Brunelle, SmartDrive Systems, Inc.
This past Sunday marked the beginning of Operation Safe Driver Week—an annual event launched by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2007—to shine a spotlight on safety and help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and cars. And with good reason. Large commercial vehicles were involved in a staggering 400,000 crashes, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths and 116,000 injuries in 2015 alone.
At SmartDrive, we support all efforts to draw attention to the importance of fleet safety, and like CVSA and FMCSA, we know safety isn’t just a one-week commitment. Safety must be a priority all year round, for every department of a company—not just the safety division. Creating a culture of safety starts at the top and should be a factor in every decision a company makes. To that end, here are three steps fleets can take to create and sustain a company culture focused on safety:
- Integrating Video—Video-based safety is quickly becoming a standard technology for fleets looking to reduce risk and protect drivers, as well as the company as a whole. Adopting video is a critical step to preventing accidents before they occur, by identifying areas of risk and providing opportunities for proactive, customized coaching for drivers who need to improve certain skills.
- Consistent Coaching—Whether you have drivers who are new to the industry, or veterans who have been driving 20+ years, nearly all have room for improvement when it comes to safety. Video-based solutions pinpoint exactly which drivers need improvement on which skills, allowing fleet managers to provide tailored coaching unique to each driver before a habit becomes a collision. By providing consistent, proactive feedback rooted in hard data and video evidence, fleet managers can support drivers and provide the necessary resources for them to become safer behind the wheel.
- Incentive Program—Drivers are, first and foremost, professionals who pride themselves on doing their job well. Creating an incentive program where they receive positive recognition among their peers for maintaining or improving their safety record motivates them to maintain a safe driving record, while providing a platform for friendly competition. Fleets can further incentivize with a bonus program, or something similar, for meeting or exceeding safety benchmarks. Hear how Cypress Truck Lines leverages video for their bonus program
As a company focused on making the roads safer for commercial vehicles and the motoring public, SmartDrive applauds the progressive commercial trucking fleets who have improved their safety program immeasurably by taking the proactive approach of integrating a video-based safety program, incorporating consistent coaching sessions and adding an incentive program to their safety culture. By combining video with vehicle and environmental data to gain a critical understanding about how and why an incident occurred, fleets are able to reduce the number of incidents and help drivers improve and become safer on the road.
Safety is a shared responsibility. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the fleets, regulatory agencies and organizations committed to making our roads safer, today and every day.