Your logistics fleet is a crucial part of your business. Without your fleet, and the individual vehicles and drivers that make it, your products would never reach the end user. Driver safety is just one aspect of a complex job, but it can have an impact on efficiency and bottom line.
Why Logistics Fleet Driver Safety is Important
There were over 93,000 road traffic accidents last year, many of which were preventable. As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees, which includes reducing the risk of accidents.
Not only do accidents put your drivers in harm’s way, but they also cost your company money. Whether it’s in replacing vehicles and fixing damage, legal expenses, loss of work and productivity, or hiring new drivers, it can really add up.
Everyone should be invested in working to improve logistics driver safety. Here are our five tips.
- Continuous Driver Training
Even people who consider themselves good drivers can make mistakes and misjudge situations. However, providing training to all your drivers will equip them with the knowledge to better understand different scenarios – such as heavy traffic, hazardous road conditions, and bad weather – as well as the practical, hands-on experience to know how to handle them. You can also train your drivers in economical driving, and not only save money on fuel but contribute towards reduced carbon emissions as well.
Most companies train drivers at the start of their employment but, to ensure ongoing safe driving and best practices, you should implement driving courses once a year.
- Distracted Driving Policy
Distracted driving can be deadly. There are a number of things that can distract you from driving, the most well-known being using a mobile phone. However, it can range from drinking and eating or applying makeup to simply using your satnav or changing the radio station.
It is currently illegal to use your mobile phone while driving, with tighter restrictions in talks to come in. Regardless of the law, it pays to make your company’s stance on distracted driving clear. Create a policy that prohibits controllable distractions while driving, i.e. use of phones or eating and drinking should be limited to when the vehicle is safely parked.
- Vehicle Maintenance
Some road traffic accidents are down to poorly maintained vehicles, so managing vehicle health is key. As a company you can ensure that every vehicle receives regular maintenance, encourage drivers to report any issues and hold regular vehicle inspections.
Telematics allow fleet managers to monitor driver behaviour and encourage safe practices. Telematics devices connect with the vehicle’s engine, which means that you can monitor the way a driver is driving and the condition of the vehicle itself. You can identify any drivers that might need more training, or vehicles that need an inspection.
Drivers not getting enough rest should be a logistics fleet manager’s worst enemy. Drivers suffering from fatigue are more likely to make mistakes and potentially cause an accident. Encouraging logistics drivers, and particularly HGV drivers, to be mindful of how rested or fatigued they might be will benefit everyone.
“Lorry Lawyer” (created by DWF, a British Law Firm) has several simple steps that you should encourage any logistics drivers to take. They include:
- Include a 15-minute break for every two hours on the road
- Check traffic and weather reports to incorporate into plans
- Do not begin a journey if you are already tired, especially if it’s long haul
- Be alert to the signs of fatigue and tiredness, such as drowsiness, difficult focussing, yawning, etc
- If you do notice these things, stop somewhere safe, drink a coffee and have a nap
As a company, you should also be mindful of the pressures that logistics drivers are under and whether your policies encourage drivers to chase a bigger paycheck instead of being safe.