Driver Safety Focus at 2013 NAFA I&E

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While telem­at­ics was a key theme addressed at this year’s NAFA con­fer­ence, the main rea­son for this pop­u­lar­i­ty had to do with dri­ver safe­ty. Fleet man­agers are look­ing care­ful­ly at the data and get­ting team feed­back on what it takes to increase safe dri­ving habits. Here’s a few points that were empha­sized by fleet man­agers, fleet man­age­ment com­pa­nies, and telem­at­ics providers….

For Judy Sparks, Fleet Man­ag­er at Advanced Home Care and a nom­i­nee in the Excel­lence in Cor­po­rate Fleet Safe­ty award, acknowl­edg­ing and award­ing safe dri­ving behav­ior has made a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence with employ­ees. The fleet team also has been con­duct­ing in-depth reviews of acci­dents and find­ing out what’s been hap­pen­ing with dri­vers, and what’s need­ed improve­ment. Their pro­gram has reduced acci­dents and the costs that come with them.

Anoth­er tac­tic that’s worked well for Advanced Home Care has been train­ing employ­ees in defen­sive dri­ving habits, and get­ting them to see dri­ving as a fun­da­men­tal part of their jobs. They’re deliv­er­ing home health equip­ment to cus­tomers that can be very crit­i­cal in their med­ical treat­ment. It’s been impor­tant to get employ­ees to see how dri­ving is an essen­tial part of safe­ly and con­sis­tent­ly deliv­er their ser­vices to cus­tomers.

Bill Horne, Super­vi­sor – Fleet Safe­ty, City of Edmon­ton Fleet Ser­vices and win­ner of the Excel­lence in Pub­lic Fleet Safe­ty award, learned a lot of tough lessons about safe­ty – and the lack of it – dur­ing his years as a police offi­cer in Edmon­ton with traf­fic col­li­sion duties. As he tran­si­tioned over to the city’s fleet depart­ment, he under­stood that get­ting dri­vers to think dif­fer­ent­ly about their respon­si­bil­i­ties was a key ele­ment. Horne has a hard time using the word “acci­dent” when dis­cussing vehi­cle crash­es – “col­li­sion” was a word the police depart­ment used that he brought over to his cur­rent posi­tion. The word “acci­dent” can help some dri­vers dis­tance them­selves from their part in the col­li­sion. Find­ing the right train­ing pro­grams and safe­ty poli­cies for all of these dri­vers is chal­leng­ing but needs to be done, Horne said.

Dur­ing many of the pre­sen­ta­tions and inter­views with fleet man­agers, fleet man­age­ment com­pa­nies, and telem­at­ics sup­pli­ers, the issue of deal­ing with prob­lem­at­ic dri­vers usu­al­ly came up. There’s a minor­i­ty of employ­ee dri­vers who tend to speed, brake hard and ear­ly, prac­tice dis­tract­ed dri­ving, and end up in minor-to-seri­ous col­li­sions. There’s no one sin­gle train­ing or account­abil­i­ty method to resolve this prob­lem. How­ev­er, there are improve­ments being made. The cen­tral theme seems to be hav­ing a clear pol­i­cy in place that gets enforced, and is empha­sized with employ­ees. They need all the train­ing and edu­ca­tion that can be pro­vid­ed, but they also need to under­stand their respon­si­bil­i­ties as safe dri­vers.



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