Every business that operates its own commercial vehicles must uphold its obligation to maintain road safety. From driver training to vehicle maintenance, a business is responsible for minimizing the risk that they contribute to the road and their drivers’ safety.
With that in mind, let’s go over some of the best—and often most essential—strategies that businesses must employ to keep their drivers, vehicles, and roads safe.
1. Perform proper vehicle maintenance
Poor vehicle maintenance is one of the most common causes of road accidents, be it from engine failure, brake failure, or any other underlying problem with the vehicle itself. That said, businesses must ensure that all of their vehicles pass the safety standards before allowing them out on the road. For businesses that operate fleets, fleet maintenance tracking software is often essential to monitor inspection, preventive maintenance, and scheduled replacements for all vehicles.
No vehicle problem is too small to warrant an inspection. Even the slightest difference in things like tire pressure or engine performance can mean a big problem down the road, and in the process, increases the risk of road accidents.
2. Coach and re-train drivers regularly
Hiring competent and experienced drivers is a great start, but it’s not enough to keep top-notch road safety standards. Businesses must coach their drivers about proper driving habits frequently and perform re-training as needed. Using fleet management software or a driver monitoring system that tracks driver habits can make this easier. It provides data on how drivers act behind the wheel, whether they drive too fast, brake too hard, or get sleepy while driving.
With this data, managers can provide feedback to drivers quickly and with proven data behind their guidance, helping avoid nasty accidents before they occur.
3. Avoid overscheduling
Fatigue is another common cause of road accidents where drivers are too tired to pay attention to their surroundings or, worse, fall asleep on the wheel. For most businesses, the best way to avoid this problem is by following proper scheduling procedures wherein drivers do not work beyond 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty (for property-carrying drivers). Similarly, drivers must take at least a 30-minute break after eight cumulative hours of driving, but businesses can allow their drivers to rest for a longer time when needed.
4. Install anti-drowsy driving systems in vehicles
Anti-drowsy driving systems have different functions but have one common goal: to prevent drivers from falling asleep behind the wheel. Some systems detect drivers’ faces to monitor for signs of fatigue (e.g., blinking more than usual, drooping, eyes closing for more than a few seconds), while others simply play music or trigger alarms at random to increase driver alertness.
For businesses that have drivers working late at night or driving long distances, anti-drowsy driving systems are a must to prevent the hazards that come with driving tired.
5. Reward good driver behavior
Positive reinforcement is an effective way to motivate drivers to perform better at their jobs, which includes maintaining proper driving habits on the road. Thus, it makes sense for businesses to measure and reward good driver behavior, even if it’s only the bare minimum of driving safely. After all, compliance is one of the best precautions against accidents, and it helps create a workplace culture that makes road safety a priority.
6. Train drivers in vehicle maintenance
Not all drivers are good vehicle technicians, but they must know how to perform basic repairs while on the road. If they notice something off while driving and an emergency mechanic can’t get to them in time, having the knowledge to fix their own vehicle will help them continue their journey until they can find the next auto shop.
Similarly, basic vehicle maintenance helps make drivers more aware when something is wrong with their vehicle. In this way, they won’t continue driving if there is something amiss, which can lead to an accident otherwise.
7. Install a GPS Device
A great way to prevent distracted driving is to install a Global Positioning System (GPS) device in commercial vehicles. This way, drivers won’t have to check their phone for directions or call someone when they get lost; their GPS should automatically let them know if they are on the wrong route without them needing to touch or look at the screen.
No matter how good a driver is, the risk of road accidents is never zero. Fortunately, making these proper precautions can significantly increase road safety and minimize the risk of nasty accidents, which is the responsibility of all businesses that operate and manage their own vehicles.