As a fleet owner or manager, you know that it’s not enough to simply tell your drivers to be accountable, without feedback mechanism or system to actually hold them accountable. A culture of accountability really starts in the hands of management and the processes put in place to protect drivers and your vehicles.
At the end of the day, driver accountability is something that not only will keep your fleet safe, it’s something your best drivers will appreciate. Keeping good drivers happy starts with having a system to hold your team accountable, especially in situations where damage may go undocumented and fingers begin to point.
So what are a few things you can do? In this blog, we’ll cover 3 simple strategies to boost driver accountability, and why it’s so important to keeping and retaining your best drivers.
1. Prioritize road safety and policy education for your drivers
The best way to keep your drivers accountable is to educate them on what you expect from them.
It’s a good idea to always have policies and procedures that will address the most basic things (and also some of the more rare things) they may encounter on a day-to-day basis.
Start with a basic onboarding or company training session to set expectations
Since every company is different (including yours), drivers should know what their expectations are when starting, and if any of your policies and procedures change.
Here are a few ideas to implement in your onboarding process:
- Instructions on keeping trip logs or histories
- Vehicle maintenance
- How to handle crashes
- How to conduct a pre-trip inspection
- How to conduct a post-trip inspection
- How to submit work orders and forms
- Avoiding dangerous driving habits like texting (and the consequences)
For every point you discuss, ensure that you emphasize their importance. It’s one thing to explain trip logs or inspection instructions, but stressing the compliance and safety consequences that will result if these activities are neglected shouldn’t be ignored.
This all starts with a good internal education or training program, in addition from any qualifications that are required for employment.
Education and training for drivers and fleet managers
Another big factor for staying on top of things like DVIRs, is to continue to prioritize education and training for both drivers and fleet managers. There are quite a good selection of online training courses drivers can take (as well as managers).
Check out our post 5 Fleet Management Training Courses that you can use as a starting point.
For drivers in particular, it’s important that you take the time to explain these policies in simple terms so that they understand them clearly. Examples and illustrations that are relevant to their every day job duties are a great starting point.
As an example, Whip Around provides our customers with resources to help train their drivers on using our application for the first time as seen below.
It’s also a good idea to create driver training presentations, so they can explain these new policies to any drivers who may be unfamiliar.
Training and compliance consultants
Another strategy is to invest in compliance consultants that you can bring in periodically that can educate your drivers or managers from time to time in a classroom setting.
Especially with DOT/FMSCA regulations constantly evolving, knowing what new changes drivers should familiarize themselves with can make it worth the investment for your team.
2. Insist on verifying fleet maintenance and inspections are completed
A well-maintained fleet can mitigate repair losses and improve productivity, but can only really happen if inspections checklist items are verified complete and these reports turned in each day.
One of the major problems with that state of vehicle inspections is the fact that so many reports are breezed through because they are on paper, and it’s also way too easy to simply select ‘No Defects Found’ on many of the inspection solutions out there.
Mandatory photos and missed inspection reminders
Fleet managers who have embraced technology can easily monitor the status of their fleet remotely and receive alerts when an issue arises. This includes inspections.
For example, using Whip Around during the inspection process, managers can require that photos be required at certain points throughout a driver’s inspection checklist if they so choose.
While you may not want to require photos for everything, it can definitely help to ensure drivers stay accountable in the event that damage is found during a pre-trip inspection.
Again, incorporating photos and inspection data day in and day out can help to connect the dots when damage or breakdowns occur, and allows managers to be reminded if a particular required inspection hasn’t been digitally submitted.
Record retention and storage
Another key piece of the puzzle when it comes to accountability is ensuring inspection reports and other maintenance records are turned in and retained.
All your maintenance supervisors, managers, technicians, and drivers involved in maintenance and inspection practices must be coordinate and be in communication, since sign-off is critically important when faults are indicated and later repaired.
So while you may have invested in filing cabinets, the good news is by migrating to digital DVIRs, you no longer have to worry about holding drivers accountable for turning these in for retention purposes.
3. Stay in contact
One of the most important aspects of keeping drivers accountable is simply staying in contact. While not a shocker, it’s something that’s not as easy as it seems. Language barriers and technology are a couple of the most common culprits of poor communication in this space, but luckily there are a few strategies you can implement.
Holding drivers accountable doesn’t simply mean only communicating when there is a problem. If the only time your drivers hear from a manager is in the event of a breakdown or traffic stop, you may want to start implementing some informal check-ins.
Simply checking in on drivers periodically throughout the week, and rewarding them is one of the most important (yet overlooked) strategies to ensuring drivers know that while they are accountable, you actually care.
Technologies to explore
While technologies like GPS tracking to monitor driver behavior is good idea especially when it comes to breakdowns or problems (even outside of trucking and delivery), simply start with what you currently have available and the communication channels that work best for your team.
Here are a few different technologies that can help facilitate the communication you need to keep drivers accountable:
- SMS solutions
- Video chat applications (when not driving)
- Daily or weekly emails
- Bluetooth and hands-free communication
- Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance applications
Being able to communicate is one thing, but if you don’t have a system to monitor the health of your fleet using real data, it’s pretty much useless.
How Whip Around helps keep your drivers accountable
With Whip Around, thousands of fleet managers are able to keep their drivers accountable by implementing our digital Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) application.
For many customers, this is used every day for pre-trip, mid-trip, or post-trip inspections. By ditching paper processes, Whip Around helps to create safer vehicles and safer drivers by giving team members instant access to fault or damage data your drivers record in the app.
This ensures your entire inspection, repair, and maintenance process is streamlined, and drivers are held accountable using actual data.
To learn more, start a free trial today or book a time on your schedule to see a short demo. One of our product specialists will show you how easy it is to get started importing your forms and fleet information, and holding your drivers accountable.