How much return do you get on your current fleet safety program? Is it a costly exercise that gets neglected when cash flow is tight? What if your safety measures paid for themselves, or even returned a profit? What if you could automate time-consuming safety procedures, such as reporting and driver training?

Obviously, the importance of getting your drivers home safe at the end of each day cannot be underestimated. You can’t put a price on keeping your workers safe from harm. However, by improving the cost-benefit ratio of your fleet safety program you not only improve the quality of your safety program but also increase the chance of the program remaining an active part of your fleet’s day-to-day operations.

Try these five ideas to make your fleet safety program more profitable, no matter the industry.

1 – Help drivers self-train

Tip: Get drivers to manage their own training
Saving: Managers are spending less time training drivers and unsafe driving is corrected sooner.

The feedback loop for driver training has traditionally been drawn out over days, weeks, even months. Managers would review driver reports (before mobile enterprise management software these were often based on anecdotal comments from other drivers or customers, or calls from the ‘How’s my driving?’ stickers) and speak to drivers at a mutually convenient time. This protracted process was time-consuming and largely unsuccessful, often because there was no context to the reports and the events that triggered them were long forgotten.

“Telogis has helped our safety program tremendously … there has been a drastic reduction in accidents and driver mishaps.” Atkinson Construction. See full case study (with video).

Telogis Coach has radically transformed the process, speeding up the feedback loop to near real time and allowing drivers to self-regulate their driving – without any intervention from managers.

2 – Leading safety indicators that can lower cost-per-mile

Tip: Focus on leading safety indicators
Saving: When drivers focus on safe driving habits they generally achieve a higher mpg and put less strain on the vehicle, reducing maintenance costs.

Leading safety indicators are driving habits that are shown to be linked to higher rates of accidents. Think of them as warning signs that a driver is more likely to cause or at least be involved in a collision causing damage or injury.

Miles-per-gallon has often been referred to as the forgotten safety metric but the simple fact is that when a driver pays attention to leading safety indicators, such as hard acceleration, harsh braking or speeding, then you’ll see a commensurate drop in fuel use.

Lagging or leading – What safety indicators does your fleet use?

Safety dashboards within Telogis Fleet and driver training apps like Telogis Coach can help correct these unsafe driving habits, making both managers and drivers aware of issues in near real time.

This simple change can cut your fuel bill by up to 33%!*

3 – Better maintenance improves uptime

Tip: Better maintained vehicles are safer and experience less downtime
Saving: A better maintenance program leads to safer vehicles that provide a better return, a longer lifespan and improved resale value.

A vital part of any safety program is making sure vehicles stay in good mechanical condition. It’s one of the reasons Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) are a legal requirement for commercial vehicle operators.

Interested in easier DVIRs? Learn more about our paperless DVIR solution.

Telogis Fleet makes it easy to run an efficient maintenance program. Data such as odometer readings and diagnostic trouble codes are automatically supplied to your web-based dashboard. Your service team can be automatically notified of any issues that need attention and address them quickly, allowing you to quickly improve uptime.

Driving styles that lead to maintenance issues, such as over-revving or excessive engine temperature can be monitored and suitable training provided (such as matching the right vehicle to pull a given load). When drivers respect the vehicles they drive, maintenance problems are less likely to happen in the first place.

4 – Electronic DVIR improves vehicle safety

Tip: Switch to electronic DVIRs to improve the quality and efficiency of vehicle inspections
Saving: Drivers can spend less time locating the last DVIR and less time (and less paper) completing pre and post-trip inspections.

Keeping fleet vehicles safe is often about catching problems early. Electronic DVIR solutions allow drivers to use their mobile device (phone or tablet) to access the last report for the vehicle** and complete both pre and post-trip inspections.

When drivers have all they need within arm’s reach it speeds up the inspection process – no more searching for the last paper report or deciphering another driver’s handwriting or a weather-damaged report.

Electronic inspections can improve the quality of DVIRs with the option to include photos for additional detail and automatic linking to back-office software, so maintenance issues can be passed directly to the service team. With this advance notice, problems can be resolved early to avoid major breakdowns or accidents due to mechanical failure.

5 – Comprehensive safety reporting uncovers trends

Tip: Use data gathered over time to develop practices that prevent accidents
Saving: Historical reporting can help companies avoid repeating the same mistakes and target costly trends.

Keeping an accurate record of safety incidents allows managers to observe trends over time. Telogis adds another dimension with the ability to reconstruct accidents and determine who is at fault (some fleets charge drivers a fee for avoidable accidents).

Using historical data can allow fleets to make informed decisions about what the best practices are for their drivers. For example, some fleet managers have noticed that many minor (but still costly) accidents occur while reversing. One feature available with Ford Telematics powered by Telogis provides supervisors with an easy way to report on reverse-gear usage so they can manage and modify driver behavior.

Another example is seat belt use. NHTSA estimates seat belts save almost 15,000 lives in the U.S. each year. Additional NHTSA survey data indicates that nighttime seat belt use is often 10% lower than the nationwide average of 82% during the day. With Telogis monitoring seat belt use you can check if this is happening in your fleet.

As well as accidents, a record can be kept of maintenance issues so fleet managers can report on potential safety hazards by vehicle type, vehicle age or location. When a pattern is discovered, measures can be taken to prevent it from happening again. For example, it may be discovered that a particular make and model of vehicle is experiencing severe brake line corrosion – but it’s only affecting crews operating in coastal areas. The problem can then be resolved by using different vehicles in those locations or adding extra protection when deploying new vehicles.

As a side benefit, an accurate record of fleet vehicles and their history also makes complying with recall notices much easier.

Safety is invaluable, but it can also be profitable

Running a safe fleet is generally viewed as a necessary expense. It’s just not worth risking the lives of your employees to save a few dollars. But technology is turning things around and making the safe option more profitable.

If you want to see how Telogis can help your fleet safety program achieve a positive ROI, contact us today.

*The US Department of Energy reports that aggressive driving decreases fuel economy by up to 33 percent.
**While no-defect reports are no longer required by the DOT, drivers are encouraged to continue completing DVIRs and passing all inspection points – this saves time and gives the next driver peace of mind the vehicle has been inspected.