How To Oversee The Safety Of Commercial Drivers

Posted on January 29, 2014

It’s one thing to have to take care of your own automobile, but quite another to oversee dozens if not hundreds of vehicles.  Such is the responsibility of persons who have to look after entire fleets at commercial enterprises.

We tend to underestimate how many of these vehicles could be on the road at any given time.  Yes, the most high-profile commercial vehicles are tractor trailers on the interstate, but you must also realize that businesses of all sorts require employees to use company trucks or vehicles during the normal course of business.  And some may let their employees drive their own cars during business hours and at other times of the day.

In order to increase safety and even to avoid potential liability, the persons who manage all these vehicles have to take certain steps.  A new report out of the United Kingdom offers some insights in this regard, and fleet managers here in California should remember them when it comes time to make safety upgrades.

Preventative maintenance is going to be key, and oftentimes, you can improve safety by not leaving the decision-making up to each specific driver.  There should be rules in place in regard to how often commercial drivers are required to check things like tire pressure, tread depth, and other things that are going to be vital to proper driving.  Problems should be reported and fixed at once so that there is never an opportunity for someone to be piloting around an unsafe vehicle.

Although not mentioned in the report at the link above, we would like to add two more policies that need to be implemented:  no distracted driving and no drunk driving.  Employees should understand that violations of either of these rules are grounds for punishment.  For distracted driving, that could mean a reprimand or a suspension or a firing, and in the case of drunk driving, an immediate firing may be warranted, especially if the incident leads to a crash.

Every employee who is going to be asked to drive for work should be put through training that emphasizes best driving practices.  Before they’re ever allowed out on the road, drivers should be required to provide proof of insurance and a valid license, and these must be updated as necessary over the course of the employees’ tenure.  This should be something to stay up to date on even if employees provide their own automobiles.

Finally, consider investing in the types of systems that monitor driver behavior and can alert you when unsafe actions are being performed.  These are a great way to instill a sense of responsibility in drivers, as they’ll be hesitant to engage in unsafe maneuvers if you’re looking over their shoulder.

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