An Investment In Your Employees, Your Company, Your Future

How to Implement a Fleet Safety Program--Driver Training, Orientation, Company Expectations

Defensive Driving & Other Education
Each driver in your fleet should take a safe driving course within six months of being hired or immediately on the implementation of the fleet safety program. The course can be:

  • One of the numerous driving courses available, including the National Safety Council Defensive Driving course;
  • A program you develop in-house; or
  • A program offered by or through your fleet insurance carrier. Often insurance companies outsource the driver training to other companies that will provide the training in a classroom setting or online.

After the initial training, drivers should receive periodic brief refreshers which may include:

  • Short discussions;
  • Memos;
  • Payroll stuffers; and/or
  • Newsletter articles.

Drivers who have previously completed a defensive driving course or similar class may be exempt from the initial training, but still should participate in the refreshers. Be sure to document the training and all refreshers.

Vehicle Orientation
Employees must be familiar with the vehicle(s) they will be operating. The orientation to the vehicle should include any of its unique characteristics and features, such as:

  • Anti-lock brakes;
  • Remote control mirrors;
  • Seatbelt and head restraint adjustments; and
  • Anti-theft devices.

Vehicles with diesel engines also have unique characteristics. You should also point out the location of the MSDS binder.

Orientations should be provided to:

  • Any employee who's assigned to a different vehicle; and
  • All employees whenever new vehicles are added to the fleet.

Company Expectations

Of course, you expect your drivers to handle their vehicles safely. But to be clear, your fleet safety program should outline these expectations. Your drivers should understand that you expect them to:

  • Conduct regular vehicle safety inspections per department policy, keep the vehicle in good operating condition, and report any mechanical or equipment problems to their supervisor.
  • Practice defensive driving and courtesy to prevent accidents and traffic violations.
  • Observe all the rules of the road, including the use of turn signals, yielding the right of way, adhering to speed limits and maintaining safe following distance.
  • Use headlights (not parking lights) during times of reduced visibility, such as snow, rain, drizzle, fog and twilight.
  • Allow only authorized persons to operate or ride in vehicles.
  • Never use the vehicles for personal use (e.g., hauling furniture, driving children to school, shopping, etc.).
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Never leave the vehicle unattended with the key in the ignition and/or the motor running.
  • Always lock the vehicle when it's unattended.
  • Use seatbelts at all times and ensure that passengers do so as well.
  • Report to the supervisor immediately any moving violations, accidents or changes in license status.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If medication is prescribed, the doctor or pharmacist should confirm that it will not affect the ability to drive. The same is true of over-the-counter medications, such as cold remedies containing antihistamine, which can cause drowsiness.
  • Avoid using a cell phone while driving. If it is necessary to use the phone, pull safely off the road, make the call and then safely resume driving. Hands-free devices have limited value in reducing the distractions associated with phone use while driving.
  • Review and be familiar with the MSDSs provided in the vehicle for all chemicals present including fuel, lubricants, coolant, brake and power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid and battery acid along with any de-icing and cleaning products kept in the vehicle.