The Two-Pronged Approach to Driver Safety Management Programs



Micro-learning videos are an example of proactive training, while reactive training can be based on actual driver behavior from telematics and in-cab cameras. - Image: Canva

Micro-learning videos are an example of proactive training, while reactive training can be based on actual driver behavior from telematics and in-cab cameras.


Every fleet manager worth their salt recognizes that a driver safety focus is foundational to the operational, financial, and reputational health of their organization. And with the National Safety Council’s preliminary estimate of 44,450 motor vehicle fatalities in 2023 —and at least 50 fleet driver casualties annually between 2012 and 2021— building a culture of safety just makes sense.

Driver Safety Risks

To minimize driver safety risk, fleet managers are focused on reducing, and ideally eliminating, high-risk driving habits and behaviors, such as:

  • distracted driving (e.g., texting, adjusting the stereo, eating, and drinking)
  • failure to wear a seatbelt
  • aggressive driving (e.g., tailgating, speeding, weaving in traffic)
  • driver fatigue

Distribution-focused companies may also be dealing with drivers who didn’t complete a driver training course as part of their driver’s license requirements. These unskilled drivers are now tasked with making time-sensitive deliveries or pick-ups and must learn to balance time-sensitive service goals with safety performance.

Why Should Driver Safety be Priority One?

Given that distracted driving behavior caused 8% of fatal crashes in 2021 and vehicle (light and heavy) crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatalities, preventing distracted driving behavior and promoting safe driving habits is essential. Yet without consistent, targeted training, risky driving habits can creep into drivers’ daily routines and quickly become a critical safety issue for the fleet.

Take texting, for example—just one of the many forms of distracted driving behavior flagged as a serious safety risk. In fact, texting while driving is considered the most dangerous type of distracted driving because it combines visual, manual, and cognitive distraction.

Despite 49 states banning texting while driving, 70.8% of drivers in North America admitted to frequently using a mobile phone while driving—a sobering statistic when you consider that drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.

Safety statistics like these shine a spotlight on the importance of implementing a holistic driver training program to foster a culture of safety across the enterprise.

Benefits of a Safe Fleet

Implementing comprehensive training programs that correct bad driving behaviors and teach drivers to embody a safety-first approach promotes benefits across the organization, including the bottom line.

By putting driver safety at the top of the agenda, companies can:

  • Reduce road accidents to keep drivers and those around them safe.
  • Experience fewer claims and lower insurance premiums.
  • Ensure drivers are knowledgeable about the latest safety requirements and instill good habits.
  • Foster a brand reputation for safety to strengthen relationships with customers, partners, and potential employees.
  • Increase driver satisfaction through a safe work environment.

Technology Paves the Way for Driver Safety

Forward-thinking fleet managers are turning to technology and automated tools to simplify safety risk management and create foolproof driver training programs that deliver results for fleets of all sizes.

Digital driver safety training platforms provide heightened visibility into driver behavior in the field by taking advantage of Video Event Data Recording (VEDR) camera systems that continuously record video and data related to the driver, vehicle, and outside environment and roadway.

In addition to intelligent in-cab cameras that can recognize unsafe driving behavior (e.g., using phone while driving) in real-time to help proactively manage safety concerns, telematics data (e.g., vehicle location, speed, acceleration) collected via sensors, GPS technology, and onboard diagnostics can improve driver safety risk using real-time notifications, such as lane departure warnings and collision alerts.

Plus, automated vehicle tracking informs fleet maintenance, helping to reduce fleet costs by proactively addressing potential mechanical issues before they can cause a service disruption or an accident.

The 2 Pillars of Fleet Safety

By leveraging both proactive and reactive automated digital safety training platforms, fleet managers can minimize driver safety risk by teaching and reinforcing safe driving habits to build a culture of safety — without disrupting the daily workflow of drivers or impacting productivity.

  1. Proactive training



















Micro-learning videos are presented to drivers automatically on their mobile device at regularly scheduled intervals (e.g., twice per week). This micro-training, including a short quiz, must be completed before they can access their route for the day.

Without taking drivers out of the field, drip micro-training keeps drivers safe, improves outcomes, and enhances compliance, while ensuring drivers are current with the latest safety and operational requirements.

Plus, fleet managers can reference the digital audit trail to view driver safety activity and performance, helping guide coaching plans and inform staffing and operational decisions.

  1. Reactive training



















Leveraging real-time updates from in-cab smart cameras, reactive training is based on actual driver behavior with the intent of reinforcing safe and more productive driving practices.

Fleet managers can address safety risks by sending drivers tailored micro-learning videos that highlight the relevant safety issue (e.g., speeding, unsafe backing-up, not wearing a seatbelt) and encourage positive driver behavior moving forward.

Final Thoughts

By building a safety risk management strategy on a foundation of proactive training (regularly scheduled micro-learning) and reactive training (coaching based on actual driver behavior in the field), companies can establish an intrinsic safety culture that has a lasting positive impact.

And fleet managers can feel confident that they’re optimizing fleet safety and performance and reducing insurance claims and premiums to protect both their drivers and the financial and reputational health of the organization.

This article was authored and edited according to Automotive Fleet‘s editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of Automotive Fleet.

 



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