You’ve invested a large amount of time and money in your brand new set of vehicles. The last thing you want is for anything to happen to it. The sole job of any commercial vehicle fleet is to deliver a service or product efficiently and safely. When fleet owners do not take the required precautions to protect their trucks and drivers, both the company and its employees are at risk. In addition to accidents and damage to goods, lawsuits may result.
To ensure a high quality of service and safety for both your drivers and customers, consider the following secrets to protecting your fleet.
Every business is required to purchase specific types of insurance. For companies with a fleet of vehicles, the law requires commercial vehicle insurance that offers protection in the event of theft, damage, or injury. Fleet insurance policies cover multiple drivers.
Note that insurance rates vary depending on employee driving records and general driving history. In addition, the value of the fleet vehicles also sets the insurance rate. Remember to select a fleet policy that offers ample liability coverage to protect the entire company.
The importance of global positioning systems (GPS) in your vehicles goes well beyond providing directions. GPS fleet tracking is a valuable tool for guaranteeing the safety of a fleet. GPS positioning devices and tracking software allow a fleet owner to monitor the progress of the trucks from any location. You can also provide assistance to your fleet, when needed, in a number of different ways from alerting drivers to bad traffic and accidents to steering them clear of nasty weather.
GPS also allows you to keep track of your truck drivers to ensure that they are driving and working in a responsible manner, including maintaining posted speeds and delivering goods in a timely fashion. In the event of a robbery, a GPS can identify the location of the vehicle.
One of the best ways to maintain a solid team of fleet drivers is to provide regular training. No quantity of tracking devices or insurance can take the place of comprehensive driver training programs that address rules of the road as well as safety measures. Since commercial vehicles vary significantly in both size and range of visibility from the driver’s seat and since safety is largely dependent on driver responsiveness and alertness, training is important to keep drivers properly prepared for all types of on-the-road situations.
Basic road safety training is a minimum requirement, but you may want to provide specialty training as well, such as for transporting hazardous materials. It is also important to customize classes to fit the specific needs of your fleet. For example, in many ways the training for large truck drivers is different from the training for small van drivers, so different class instruction may be needed.
Safety is a serious concern for all fleet owners and operators. As such, it is an important part of the secret to protecting your fleet. Safety takes on many different forms from vehicle theft protection to ensuring the safety of the drivers. Vehicle theft is a common occurrence. It can happen quickly even for well intentioned drivers who are doing their best to look out for themselves and their trucks. The following measures reduce the incidence of vehicle theft.
- Tint vehicle windows. When truck windows are tinted, items that are in view of passersby are less visible.
- Install shatter-resistant film or safety glass. Both materials make it more difficult for a thief to break into a truck.
- Give regular reminders. Regularly remind your drivers about being aware of and alert to their surroundings at all times. Also urge them to hide valuables or take them out of the trucks entirely whenever possible.
- Provide education. Periodically, educate your drivers about theft prevention techniques including keeping windows closed, doors locked, and valuables secure.
- Implement surveillance or security cameras. Consult professionals and the Internet to learn about the security software and hardware available to ensure the safety of your fleet. This technology also documents the who, what, when, and where of every situation in which your fleet is involved, providing valuable information if a problem occurs.
About the author:
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.