Make Drivers Part Of Your Safety Team

Prevent accidents by bringing drivers into your company's safety culture.


Incentivizing Performance

With the new technology, fleet managers can find it much easier to reward positive behavior with such things as incentive-based pay.

"You can reward the guys on the leader board," says G&C Foods' Kolodzie, which utilizes the Cadec report on a monthly basis. "We're giving Duncan Donuts cards for being the most improved and for first, second and third places. Positive is the way to go."

Companies can also identity those drivers that need additional training in order to avoid such things as tail-gating and panic braking. Sometimes though, they don't need to.

"Their egos get involved if they're in the middle of the pack and they're not the best," says Kolodzie. His lower performing drivers actually approach him about their standings and want to know what they can do about the sudden decelerations they're having each month. "They don't want to be on the bottom of the report, meaning they have a lot of 'reds.'"

However, to maintain the safety culture at a company, officials need to be ready to step in and discipline drivers who may be engaged in unsafe behavior.

Mendel Milling's Strausbaugh has a system in place that involves pulling the unsafe driver into the back office and talking to him about the unsafe behavior he's been exhibiting and the corrective actions that he will be required to take.

"We have a series of progressive steps of discipline that we take if he doesn't correct the behavior," he adds.

The NPTC's Petty says to perpetuate a culture of safety, a company must regularly discipline drivers that break protocol by retraining or even removing them and, alternately, rewarding good behavior. "If this isn't done, the driver will say: 'If the company doesn't care, why should I?'"

Are You A 'Green' Or 'Red' Driver?

According to Frank Moreno, vice president of marketing and product management for Cadec, the following are driver behaviors that are consistent with safe driving practices and make a driver "green:"
• The proactive monitoring of truck speed;
• An increased anticipation of turns and stops (better knowledge of routes for fewer rapid decelerations);
• Shutting off of the truck engine during delivery, fueling, coffee breaks, etc.;
• Efficient shifting techniques;
• Using the on-board computer for electronic logs vs. paper driver logs;
• Switching from "drive" to "on-duty" status on the OBC during unknown stops to save drive time for Hours of Service compliance.

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