Top Job Hazards Currently Facing Fleet Operations
Your non-CDL driver accidents and injuries are costing you money. Worse yet, they result in pain and suffering. If you want to reduce accidents, injuries, and cost of loss, you need to invest in risk-reduction measures. However, not all risks are created equally. This article will cover the top three job hazards currently facing fleet operations and how you can reduce them.
Why Is It Important to Prevent Accidents?
This seems like a question that’s too obvious to cover. Even so, fleet managers and operators repeatedly fail to reduce the risks and hazards that result in driver accidents.
Driving is the most dangerous thing your non-CDL drivers do. Whether they’re spraying for pests, fixing plumbing issues, or repairing an electrical box, they face the biggest risk of accidents and injuries when they get behind the wheel.
That means you face risk as well.
According to OSHA, a minor vehicular accident will cost a company over $16,000. An accident that results in any sort of injury will cost over $70,000. An accident resulting in a major injury or death will cost a company $500,000 or more.
Even if this has never happened to your company, you still face this risk. The companies it happens to thought it wouldn’t happen to them either. A major accident has the potential to put you out of business.
Luckily, accidents are entirely preventable. Accidents happen as a result of unsafe behaviors. If you invest in effective training solutions, you can reduce unsafe behaviors and prevent accidents.
Taking into account the cost of accidents, if a training program could reduce even minor accidents, it would pay for itself and then some.
What Are The Top Three Job Hazards For Fleet Operations?
Like we said, not all risk was created equal. Your drivers face countless hazards when behind the wheel. However, some of these are much more likely to result in accidents than others.
If you focus on reducing the following three unsafe behaviors, you can prevent a large number of accidents at your company:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to maintain a safe following distance
- Unsafe driving at intersections
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents. If you think it doesn’t impact your company, you’re wrong. Nearly every person is guilty of distracted driving at some point.
Distracted driving can include:
- Talking on the phone
- Talking to passengers
- And much more
Even one second of not paying attention behind the wheel can lead to an accident.
Not only is distracted driving a major cause of accidents, but it often leads to more serious accidents. Distracted driving is a leading cause of fatal accidents due to high-speed collisions and pedestrian/cyclist strikes.
We guarantee that your drivers are putting themselves at risk by driving distracted.
Preventing Distracted Driving
The first step a company should take is implementing rules and policies on distracted driving. This sends the message that you care about safety and that, when behind the wheel, nothing matters more than driving.
However, on their own, rules and regulations will do little to prevent accidents. People break rules all the time.
We cover it more in-depth in this article, but you should take these steps to reduce distracted driving accidents at your company:
- Educate your drivers on the dangers of distracted driving
- Train your drivers to be attentive behind the wheel
- Only select and hire safety-conscious employees
2. Failure to Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Another leading cause of accidents is the failure to maintain a safe following distance. When your drivers don’t leave enough room in front of them, they put themselves at risk of serious accidents.
It’s simple: if you can’t stop in time, you’re going to have accidents.
Improper following distance often results in the following accidents, all of which can have severe consequences:
- Rear-end collisions from not being able to stop in time
- Being hit from behind after suddenly stopping
- Sideswipes from avoiding rear-end collisions
- Off-road incidents from making evasive maneuvers
- Rollovers from suddenly needing to change directions
These accidents can and often are fatal. Worse yet, we guarantee it’s a problem for your drivers.
How to Ensure Your Drivers Leave Enough Room
As common as the accidents we mentioned above are, they’re so easy to prevent. Your drivers just need to leave enough room in front of them.
How much room should they leave? It depends on the vehicle type. See below for minimum safe following distances based on vehicle class:
- Class 1 & 2 vehicles (Vans, sedans, and light-duty trucks): 3 seconds
- Class 3 & 4 vehicles: 4 seconds
- Class 5 vehicles: 5 seconds
- Class 6 vehicles: 6 seconds
- Class 7 vehicles and up: 7 seconds or more
Your drivers should have their minimum safe following distance for their vehicle type memorized. And, they should never follow someone too closely. Of course, you need to implement effective safety training to get them there:
- Invest in online defensive driving training focused on maintaining a safe following distance
- Host monthly safety meetings to discuss loss-leaders like not leaving enough room
- Do ride-alongs with your drives to ensure they leave enough room in front of them
3. Unsafe Driving at Intersections
Intersections are the most dangerous driving environment your employees face.
Intersections pose the risk of:
- Rear-end collisions
- Fixed object strikes
- T-bone accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Pedestrian and cyclist collisions
Your drivers’ risk of these collisions goes up at intersections because of all the variables. Other vehicles, people on the road, and changing traffic patterns increase the chance of accidents.
Your drivers need to know how to safely navigate intersections in order to prevent these common and costly accidents.
Preventing Accidents at Intersections
To reduce your accidents and cost of loss, implement an online defensive driving program that teaches drivers the following:
- Look Ahead for risk at intersections. As you approach an intersection, Look Ahead for other vehicles, pedestrians, turn-only lanes, and the status of the light.
- Cover your brake as you approach an intersection. You must always be prepared to stop.
- Yellow means stop. Never speed up to make a yellow light. Slow down and come to a safe stop. Remember: it’s better to be late than it is to have an accident.
- Look Around before entering the intersection. Scan the intersection for risk. Before entering the intersection, should look left, right, then left again to make sure it’s clear.
- Look Around before turns. Turns are a common cause of accidents at intersections. Look around, check your blindspots, and check the intersection before making a turn.
If you educate your drivers on these safe practices, you will have fewer accidents – guaranteed.
Accidents Can Be Prevented
Accidents don’t “just happen.” They are caused by people and their unsafe behaviors. When your drivers don’t prioritize safe, defensive driving, they put themselves and your company at risk.
The good news is that accidents can be prevented. If you invest in safety programs that reduce your non-CDL drivers’ unsafe behaviors, you will have fewer accidents.
This means your employees make it home safe, you will have a more efficient operation, and your cost of loss will plummet.
Investing in safety is a win for everyone involved.