The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

10 Ways to Increase Driver Safety to Policy Compliance

October 2008, by Staff

6. Get Driver Sign-off

Before a new-hire candidate is employed in a position for which a company vehicle is assigned, the process should include an MVR review and the driver must indicate in writing that he or she has read and agrees to abide by the company fleet policy. This step is generally a relatively simple matter. For example, when giving permission to the company to obtain and review the MVR, include such language in the sign-off form.

Fleet policy is a fluid document; for this reason, it isn’t a bad idea for such a sign off to be provided by all drivers every year, at the very least for any changes in the policy that may have occurred during the year.

7. Track Exceptions to Uncover Compliance Problems

While exception tracking is most often used for fleet expense, such as maintenance and repair or fuel, it can be applied to safety policy as well. MVRs are one of the most critical aspects of a safety policy and should be reviewed regularly for existing drivers, as well as new hires and drivers involved in accidents. The larger the fleet, however, the more time-consuming the task can be. The fleet manager is looking for violations — who isn’t driving safely, who has been cited, etc. — not for clean records. Rather than obtaining the full inventory of reports, only those with violations are filtered out, leaving a far smaller number to address.

8. Reward Compliance; Punish Noncompliance

Employees are motivated in various ways, some with the possibility of reward, others by facing discipline. Reward/penalty programs are used in nearly every corporate discipline from clerical to management. Employees undergo annual performance reviews with rewards including increases in compensation and penalties involving perhaps no pay increase or even a probationary period during which performance must improve.

Encouraging fleet policy compliance differs little from encouraging excellence in job performance. A cynic might scoff at the idea of "rewarding" employees for simply doing the job they’re paid to do. However, when the job includes the daily care and "feeding" of a company vehicle, the consequences for not doing so can be expensive and the rewards much less so.

Rewards can take a number of forms. Some people are satisfied simply with recognition, i.e., a photo and/or mention in the company newsletter or perhaps correspondence from a senior manager recognizing excellence in compliance. Still others look for concrete financial reward. Either way, drivers are encouraged to keep fleet policy in mind as they go about their day-to-day duties.

Rewards are often used when reviewing MVRs. For example, drivers who have completed some period of time without violations or chargeable accidents are recognized or rewarded. Such rewards can also be applied to drivers whose overall vehicle operating costs are lower than some benchmark or among the lowest in the fleet. Again, keeping policy compliance in mind is the goal.

Penalties for safety policy violations begin with defining terms: what is a chargeable accident, how will MVR violations be treated, etc. Fair and effective penalties are imposed on a sliding scale, that is, a citation for failure to signal versus reckless driving. Penalties can range from letters of reprimand to suspension of personal use privileges, revocation of company car to termination, etc. Whatever the penalties may be, Tip #5 is critical; penalties are not effective unless they are applied universally from the sales trainee up to the executive suite.

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