As a fleet operator, one of your highest priorities should be making sure your drivers are properly trained to manage risks while driving. By combining a clearly-defined best practice safety policy along with ongoing awareness-raising programs, you can help improve the odds that your drivers -- and the road users around them – will remain safe on the road.
All employers have a duty of care to ensure that employees and members of the public suffer no unreasonable nor forseeable harm as a result of work-related activities. Equally, however, drivers have a duty to ensure they are operating their vehicles within the bounds of the law, and that they look after their own personal safety. It is crucial, then, that your drivers are equipped with all the skills, knowledge and experience required to drive safely before hitting the road.
When writing your fleet policy you should ensure you include key information about road safety for your drivers’ reference. It’s important you have your drivers read and agree to this policy for it to be worthwhile. The safety policy ought to include legal information regarding road safety, such as speed limits, seatbelt restrictions, drink and drug driving, and driver eyesight requirements. The policy should also make clear the legal requirement of having a full driving licence, and should explain your organisation’s licence checking policy. It’s critical that your policy outlines the fleet’s vehicle maintenance standards and procedures that must be followed for safety and cost-management reasons. Make sure the policy also provides details about driver hours, and guidance about what to do if a driver becomes fatigued . Finally, it’s essential you clarify your company stance on mobile phone use while driving . While it is against the law to use a handheld mobile at the wheel, the use of a hands-free devises is left to the organisation’s discretion. Many organisations have altogether banned the use of mobile phones in their vehicles due to the risk of distraction they pose.
Supplementing your safety policy with frequent awareness-raising schemes is an effective way of reinforcing driver safety standards. It’s important, however, to carefully consider how best to go about additional training – some drivers might feel undermined if the training is too rudimental or intrusive. Such training could focus on safety issues that might not be immediately obvious to even the most experienced drivers, as well as revisiting the basics. For instance, eating, drinking or smoking at the wheel can potentially be a fatal distractions, yet many people are unaware of the risk.