5 Points for Developing Your Delivery Fleet Policy
Carrying out a successful delivery fleet operation requires a thoroughly developed and well-thought-out fleet policy. A finely tuned policy will address a wide gamut of topics that specifically detail the best practices as to what makes for an ideal fleet operation.
Generally, some of the common and broader topics that are addressed in a fleet policy include best practices on vehicle usage privileges, maintenance, and driver education and training practices – among the many other safety-specific themes that are crucial to having an optimized fleet operation.
Some of the “bigger picture” points are likely going to be common sense for those who have some hand in what goes into developing a robust delivery fleet strategy. However, it’s important to critically assess the contents of your policy to make sure nothing is missed.
Defensive Driving Practices
A successful fleet policy will prominently feature and detail best practices of driver safety. The policy should address issues that negatively impact a person’s ability to drive, such as distracted driving tendencies or driving under the influence.
But simply having drivers not make poor driving decisions is just one layer to keeping your fleet safe. Fleet managers should also require their employees to be aware of and practice defensive driving. “It is your responsibility to drive defensively and prevent collisions when operating a vehicle for company business,” read one fleet policy’s example. This particular policy states that defensive driving has drivers follow a simple formula: “getting” information, i.e. identify potential hazards; “giving” information, i.e. let other drivers know their intentions; and to act appropriately, meaning to maintain a safety barrier around your vehicle.
Some basic actions of defensive driving include, but are not limited to:
- Constantly scanning traffic conditions
- Effectively utilizing brake lights and turn signals to inform other road users of your actions
- Using a vehicle’s accelerator and brakes smoothly
- Using the horn as a warning signal only
- Slowing down before drivers enter a curve
- Establishing pre-set temperature and radio controls before driving
To solidify some of these intentions, some policies suggest having drivers be required to attend a defensive or safe driving course, particularly if they are considered to be high-risk drivers.
Post-Crash Best Practices
Unfortunately, even if your drivers are doing all the right things on the road, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to experience any collision incidents with other drivers. Because of this, your drivers should understand the post-crash best practices of their organization.
What your drivers say and do after a crash in a fleet vehicle is very important to your business. Some of the immediate “musts” should be common knowledge for any driver on the road, though fleet managers should not make this assumption. Some of these “musts” when there are injuries and/or damage to vehicles, according to one fleet policy, include:
- Stopping the vehicle and contacting 911 immediately
- Move to a safe location off the road, as needed
- Protecting the scene of the collision with emergency reflectors, flares, lanterns, or flags, which should be included in the driver’s vehicle
- Exchange names and addresses of drivers and occupants of any vehicles involved, and any other pertinent details, such as vehicle and insurance information
- Take photos of any vehicle damages or bodily injury, as necessary/available
However, your drivers should not make any statements about the incident, and communication with other involved parties must be kept to a minimum.
The expectations of drivers in this regard are clearly detailed, according to one fleet policy: “Do not make any statements (other than to the police, company officials and company insurance representatives). Do not admit fault to anyone, including the police. Also, do not apologize for anything. Do not sign anything. (The police may request your signature on their report or a ticket. If so, respectfully ask to defer signing until you’ve had a chance to consult your attorney.)”
Telematics Tracking Details
With telematics technologies becoming more commonplace among fleet operators, businesses will need to clearly detail to drivers that they are utilizing the technology in their fleet policies. Some drivers still hold some skepticism of the technology, and may view telematics technologies as being a breach of their privacy, or that they have some other “Big Brother” intentions. Explaining clearly the functions of the technology should help in furthering its acceptance in your fleet operation.
For this area of the policy, your business may want to consider identifying who exactly is reviewing the telematics data, and what it is being used for. Particularly for peace of mind for your drivers. For example, one fleet policy reads that it details the identity of the person who reviews the company’s telematics information, and specifies what the intentions of the review process are for.
“Their responsibilities include monitoring of telematics events, ensuring responsible managers are conducting behavior coaching in a timely manner, analyzing trends, developing ongoing training initiatives, and providing progress reports to senior leadership,” the policy reads.
Vehicle Care & Maintenance on Behalf of Drivers
Properly maintaining vehicles is a significant component of a well functioned fleet operation, but the onus is not entirely on the fleet manager to make sure the vehicles are well-taken care of. Drivers need to do their part to maintain the condition of the vehicles that they use for work.
Indeed, several fleet policies make note of this: “It is the responsibility of all drivers to ensure the vehicle they are operating is well-maintained and safe to operate. Drivers must ensure that applicable vehicle inspections, registrations, and insurance certifications are current and valid,” read one policy
The same policy does go on to note that company-owned vehicles are maintained by technicians, designated service providers, or company maintenance staff, but also expects drivers to perform an inspection confirming the vehicle is safe to operate.
Some items driver should regularly check include:
- Fluid levels and identifying when scheduled changes are
- Oil or grease leaks around or under the vehicle
- The condition of belts and hoses
- Tire conditions (such as inflation and tread wear)
- The vehicle’s suspension
Other Miscellaneous Fleet Items
Because every fleet operates differently, there will be some things that will be necessary additions to your fleet policy that are perhaps only unique to your business.
For instance, how businesses decide to address disciplinary actions for drivers may vary from the company, or how much permission it grants its drivers with regards to using hands-free cell phone devices, the latter of which may vary significantly by state.
The location of the fleet’s business may also dictate what they choose to include in the policy. If the fleet is only based in Southern California, for example, the policy may not need to necessarily include language about dealing with snowy road conditions, whereas this would be a must for a fleet that has business operations based in the North East of the U.S.
Additionally, delivery fleets must always be updating and reevaluating the content of their fleet policy. The fleet industry is constantly evolving and growing so fleet managers should try to make themselves aware of any new industry developments and update the content of their policies as necessary to stay ahead of the curve.
If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.
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