Summer 2004

Simplifying Fleet Safety
By John Davenport

Nearly one-quarter of all work-related deaths in Texas occur behind the wheel. If your business puts drivers on the road, you need a good fleet safety program.

Fleet safety programs vary, but each program has to address three common factors: people, vehicles and records.

People– Before you hire a new driver, conduct a background check and review the applicants’ motor vehicle record (MVR). The recent two-to-three year history is most important. Make sure the applicant signs a release for the MVR review.

If possible, let applicants test drive the vehicle they will use on the job. A real-world driving test may provide the best indication of an applicant’s driving abilities and habits.

Vehicles– Keep your fleet vehicles well maintained, and make sure each vehicle has its own safety equipment. A basic kit may include: a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, rope, matches, a flashlight, a "send help" sign, a reflective triangle, a blanket, and road flares.

One of the best pieces of safety equipment is a cell phone. In an emergency, the driver can report an accident or, with the help of a 911 operator, render first aid until emergency medical help arrives.

Record keeping – Maintain accurate records on your vehicles and your drivers. Cross-reference your accident statistics by cause, severity, repair cost, mileage, and frequency. Compare your fleet program’s accident statistics against an independent standard, such as the Highway Loss Data Institute, and use the information to track company trends and measure progress.

For more information on fleet safety, visit our online safety resource catalog.

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