The importance of road safety is highlighted by the devastating 10% single-year increase in road deaths across the UK in 2022. The provisional figure of 1,711 fatalities is more than a concerning statistic. It represents a huge number of tragic incidents, that have irrevocably impacted so many families.
Therefore, in support of Road Safety Week 2023, we’re outlining fleet strategies that can make our roads safer.
Advancing road safety through responsible leadership
Companies operating vehicle fleets have a moral duty to implement safety frameworks that permeate all aspects of driving culture. A comprehensive strategy for occupational road safety sets the standard and is focused on three key areas.
All drivers should be issued a clear policy document that outlines expected road safety practices, legal compliance, and driver responsibilities. This guidance establishes a culture of accountability right from the outset. Management must also lead by example in following stated protocols.
The policy should clearly stipulate protocols, responsibilities, and duties that drivers are obligated to follow. This includes maintaining safe speed limits, avoiding distractions, accident reporting procedures, and banning alcohol consumption. The guidelines should also include instructions on maintenance checks, load distribution for heavy goods vehicles, and outline repercussions for violations.
However, fleet safety policies only provide a framework. Management must take ownership to see full implementation. Senior personnel and supervisors lead by example by visibly adhering to protocol. This gives employees confidence that the procedures are important and must be followed.
Additionally, managers have a duty to ensure drivers understand policy aims and provide ongoing road safety advice. Annual refresher training assists comprehension and adaptation as regulations evolve. With consistent guidance from the top down, fleet drivers become actively engaged in sustaining a cautious road culture.
Gathering qualitative data through telemetry systems and driver monitoring provides invaluable insights into risks. Sophisticated analysis can identify high-risk driving, dangerous road segments, accident trends and other actionable patterns. However, the human perspective through testimonials and dashcam footage provides a more comprehensive picture.
Gathering and analysing telemetry data from fleet vehicle tracking systems delivers invaluable visibility into driver behaviour. Subsequently, this information can indicate danger areas and potential risks. This technology can assess average speeds across different road types, breaking instances, rapid acceleration patterns, harsh cornering and heavy braking events. By aggregating such measurements across the fleet over time, in addition to geo-mapping locations, risk profiles can be constructed for each driver. Several road risk trends are discernible through comprehensive analytics platforms.
Hard data delivers decision-useful insights, but a more holistic perspective incorporates human experiences that metrics alone cannot capture. This comes from testimonials, witness accounts, law enforcement reports and dashcam footage. Lived context around dangerous occurrences complements the statistical risk models.
Together, metrics and human narratives build a credible evidence base to implement preventive action through guidance and driver training. Fleet operators gain a comprehensive view into risk factors along the road network, within the organisation, and critically, related to individual behavioural patterns. Capitalising on these risk insights drives continuous, proactive enhancements in safety protocols that protect vulnerable road users.
Once guidance is clearly established and data is analysed, fleet operators can deliver impactful education programmes. Company-wide road safety awareness campaigns convey the profound ethical implications of driver actions to everyone within an organisation.
Insights from data analytics should inform targeted training for high-risk drivers most in need of attitude reform. Supplementary group workshops facilitated by road trauma psychologists can encourage peer accountability and change negative driving habits.
However, training works best when incentivised through existing fleet programmes. For example, safe annual mileage targets that bring bonus payments, along with rewards for online course completion, can encourage participation. Here drivers recognise safety skills as assets rather than externally enforced requirements. Therefore, this fosters a greater personal investment to practice and consolidate new techniques.
Through these multi-layered education channels, fleets nurture a positive road safety culture where employees appreciate their role in protecting lives, including their own.
With every tragedy on the road, the onus is on all of us to recognise where more could be done. Complacency has caused a society that implicitly accepts road deaths when each one is highly preventable.
If you’d like to find further road safety resources or support, or you’d like to get involved in Road Safety Week, check out road safety charity, Break.