“Start small.” That’s sound advice for the medium-size fleets who want to implement an effective safety program, says Eric Dowling, a Lytx client success manager with a deep background in helping fleets become safer.
Dowling said getting a safety program operational doesn’t have to be daunting, and he breaks it down with his five best tips for the fleet owners who are testing the safety program waters and looking forward to diving in.
Begin by benchmarking where your fleet stands on safety. “When launching a fleet safety program, it’s important to first understand where your company stands on safety,” Dowling said. “Assessing your safety culture will help you see where your biggest needs are. How are you going to use the DriveCam program to get the most value from it? Once you know that, you can set reasonable, attainable and progressively more ambitious goals.”
You can assess your safety culture by identifying how engaged the organization is on safety. Do you have a safety policy? How are your drivers trained? Knowing the answers to these questions will spotlight your organization’s current stance on fleet safety and your most immediate needs.
To develop a benchmark, Dowling recommends asking how many collisions, driver complaints, customer complaints, traffic violations, and major repairs your fleet has experienced in the last six months to two years. “When a fleet looking to build a stronger safety culture or add safety technology asks these questions, it gets a benchmark on its current state of safety and can make plans for ways to improve safety in the future, Dowling said.
For the best possible results, bring your whole company into safety goal setting. Once you’ve benchmarked your organization’s safety culture, you’ll need to determine where you want it to go. Dowling encouraged involving team members in setting safety goals for the organization as well as themselves. For example, do you want to go six months without a collision? By involving every team member in goal setting for the safety program, they will all feel ownership for its success.
“If everyone in the company, from the mechanic to the CEO, has a role to play in reaching the company’s goals, you’re likely to see program support across the board—because everyone will have something at stake,” Dowling said.
Inspire the entire organization to feel excited about the safety solution you’re choosing, such as the DriveCam program. You can do that by learning the product from front to back before it’s in place, Dowling said. By knowing the benefits of the solution fully, you’ll be able to relay those benefits to your organization and specify the goals you’re looking to achieve from the program.
“The most effective companies have gamified DriveCam; they’ve created a competitive environment that is based on positive recognition,” Dowling said. “Finding creative ways to make it engaging, such as building a rewards program around seat belt use or not following too closely, can generate really positive results. It’s not about what your drivers are doing wrong. It’s about what they’re doing right. And it all comes back to creating extra reasons for them to engage.”
Keep the conversation positive. “This will allow your organization to use the [Driver Safety] program to educate your team and become safer,” Dowling said. “Focus on improving driving skills and exoneration. If the program is presented positively and clearly, there will be less driver push back and more immediate results.”
Help drivers be open to change. In the first month of using the [Driver Safety] program, if you identify a common behavior that’s an issue—for example, if team members are following too closely or texting while driving—you can look at that as an opportunity to improve. “The [Driver Safety] program can help adjust behavior,” Dowling said. “The payoff is a reduction in claims and complaints, and a positive turn in fleet morale.”