You hear it all the time: Safety is important. But what does that mean? And what are you supposed to do about it? When you’re out on the road, there’s only so much that you can control, right?
You have more control than you realize and there are some very real (and hefty) costs of not making safety a priority. Here’s what you need to know to make your fleet safer in 2021.
Why Fleet Safety is So Important
There are a lot of reasons to prioritize safety, but a big one is cost. There’s a very real cost when drivers and their trucks aren’t safe including everything from directly tangible fines that you pay to costs that are harder to calculate to the penny. Take a look:
- Repair and replacement costs for damaged trucks and equipment
- Loss of productive time from a driver who can’t be out on the road while a truck is repaired
- Multiple insurance claims lead to higher premiums
- Court fees, attorneys fees, and legal settlements add up — both from your insurance carrier and out-of-pocket
- Loss of reputation as deliveries are delayed due to accidents or you earn a bad professional image for lack of safety
- Loss of good drivers as they leave your fleet to work where they can get more miles and better pay
Ignoring safety often leads to expensive (and deadly!) accidents out on the road. It also leads to smaller annoyances like roadside inspection violations and too many truck repairs outside of regular maintenance.
How to Prioritize Safety in 2021
You know what the costs of ignoring safety can be, but what are you supposed to do about it when you’re out on the road? How can you ensure that everyone works safely? There are several things you can do.
Act Like Safety is Important
Even in the smallest companies, everyone looks to the boss to set expectations. If you act like safety is important, others will follow suit. This is easier than it seems. You need to talk about safety a lot, create rules and expectations and communicate them with your drivers, and then hold people accountable for your expectations. If they can’t do their job safely while working for you, then they don’t need to work for you. For owner-operators, this is even simpler as you only need to worry about yourself.
Train Your Drivers
You might hire an experienced driver thinking you don’t have to train them much. Think again. Maybe you pick a newbie and assume safety was covered in their very recent CDL training. Don’t rely on that. Those things might be true, but you need to train your drivers to work the way you want them to. This includes having conversations about DVIR reports, safe driving practices, and more. Most importantly, training should be ongoing. Schedule quarterly or semi-annual training opportunities to reinforce your expectations for your drivers.
Keep Vehicles Maintained
A truck on its last legs isn’t as safe as a well-maintained machine that’s been taken care of. To avoid unnecessary accidents or stalls on the road — which also lead to expensive repairs — take care of your trucks. Create a schedule for service and repair. Keep your mechanic in the loop. Talk to your drivers and make communication about needed repairs as easy as possible for everyone.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Between ELDs and dash cams, you have enough technology to let you know what goes on behind the wheel even though you aren’t there. Check speed, routing, idle time, and braking thanks to your ELD. After an accident, use dash cam footage to figure out what really happened. Most of the time, your driver is doing everything they can. But sometimes you’ve got a dud who needs more training or to find a new career path.
You have more control over the safety of your drivers and your equipment than you realize. All you have to do to gain control is to treat safety like it’s important — because it is. If you need a reliable and inexpensive ELD as part of your 2021 safety plan, look no further than Clutch ELD. We make it easy and affordable. Sign up for Clutch, today!