Each year within the transportation industry there are thousands of accidents reported in the UK alone, with some of these even being fatal. Consequently, there are strict regulations in place that work to prevent such occurrences. And so, if your business possesses a fleet of vehicles, it’s imperative to maintain that your procedures abide by the applicable set standards. This is what’s referred to as fleet compliance.
Saliently, in addition to cancelling out the inherent risks of being on the road, guaranteeing that your fleet is compliant also results in general improvements in operations which determine a business’s overall efficiency. As such, it is, in fact, in your best interests, as well as those of other road users, to uphold regulatory compliance. Namely, failing to fulfil fleet compliance inevitably leads to hefty financial penalties and detrimental reputational damage which can be difficult to recover from.
Taking all of this into consideration, compliance is a fundamental aspect of proper fleet management. Simply defined, it is what keeps your drivers safe and healthy while they’re carrying out their jobs in order to negate accidents and downtime. However, the area accounts for a variety of facets, the responsibility of which solely falls onto the figure of the fleet manager. Therefore, ensuring fleet compliance is a task that often proves to be overwhelming. To assist you with this crucial part of fleet management, we’ve put together this guide which covers fleet health and safety compliance best practices, so that you can form a comprehensively infallible approach to it.
Have a fleet safety policy
Fleet compliance begins with your drivers. Specifically, how they behave when handling their vehicle on the road. This is because careless driving is the primary cause of the majority of on-road incidents. Followingly, before your drivers set foot in their vehicles, it’s vital that they are aware of what’s expected of them, and that they consistently act accordingly thereafter.
For fleet managers, this means developing a fleet safety policy. A fleet safety policy is a written document that stipulates drivers’ requirements in the form of a pledge. For instance, this may detail that they should not exhibit frequent over-acceleration & harsh braking, that they agree to regular risk assessments and vehicle checks, that they undergo driver training, that they report incidents correctly, and that they remain aware of their fatigue levels while working. On this latter point, within the EU, it is law for drivers to not exceed four-and-half hours on the road before stopping.
Once a safety policy has been outlined, it must then be clearly communicated - whether digitally or in-person - to each and every driver within a fleet by management so that it is reliably assimilated. Essentially, such policies make it easy for businesses to lay out safety protocols alongside the consequences for breaching them, thereby heightening commitment to road safety.
Carry out vehicle checks and maintenance
Besides keeping your drivers themselves safe, it’s likewise integral that every vehicle which comprises your fleet is roadworthy, i.e., safe to operate. After all, even if your drivers adhere to a safety policy which you have set out, vehicular issues like faulty brakes have the potential of directly causing an accident or breakdown. This is not only relevant for certifying the safety of road users, but also maintaining efficient performance standards for your fleet’s operations.
This intrinsically regards monitoring the physical conditions of your vehicles by carrying out regular checks and, subsequently, arranging maintenance repairs when they are necessary. It’s important to state that ensuring fleet compliance is a proactive process. In practice, this relates to fleet managers keeping accurate reports on the inspection and servicing of each vehicle. Not to mention, this is of further significance because it will make it easier to dispose of certain vehicles at the end of their life cycle to make way for the acquisition of new ones.
Enforce driver training programmes
To a considerable extent, your drivers are at the very centre of your fleet. And, notably, their actions are substantially dictated by how well you direct their behaviour. Thus, if you want to get the best out of your fleet’s drivers, it’s essential that they are afforded corresponding instruction.
Driver training programmes are how fleet managers instil complaint conduct so that it permeates throughout the entire organisation. These programmes commonly consist of lessons both behind the wheel and in classes to maximise retention on the subject. Ideally, a driver training programme should cover everything from how to handle the vehicle, to including information on how to respond when something goes awry.
As opposed to being dull routine, as they might initially appear, driver training programmes have actually shown to be attractive for current and prospective fleet drivers alike. For this reason, the encouragement of safe & compliant driving behaviour is usually incorporated within fleet managers’ recruitment methodologies.
Use fleet management technology to your advantage
On top of all that has been mentioned, there is the added factor that a great many on-road regulations change from year to year, especially since the need to make the industry more sustainable by increasing fleet fuel efficiency has grown in urgency, owing to the current environmental crisis. This places a singular strain on fleet managers who must remain up-to-date and implement appropriate responses, all while tackling other duties simultaneously.
Having said this, there are favourable developments in the area of fleet management technology, from both a hardware and software perspective, that enhance the efficacy of fleet managers. For the former, immediate in-cab feedback devices exist which support and reinforce safe driving behaviour. And for the latter, fleet management software provides systems which are designed to give fleet managers real-time visibility over every vehicle and driver under their care. In essence, integrating these tools together equates to ensuring an all-encompassing degree of regulatory compliance, in turn, signalling unprecedented improvements in safety and efficiency.
We at MICHELIN Connected Fleet offer such solutions for fleet managers so that they can reliably ensure the health and safety of their fleet, in addition to avoiding the penalties and fines that unmistakably arise from breaches in compliance. The benefits of using fleet management technology to your advantage even go so far as to increase a business’s overall productivity. So, If you’re interested in our services, then be sure to make an enquiry into how we can help you today. For more reading material, feel free to browse our resources center.