Vehicle Safety Program
Vehicle safety is a management responsibility to develop, implement and effectively direct. Goals of this management program should be to reduce vehicle accidents involving bodily injury and/or property damage; reduce operating costs; protect the public and protect the image of your dealership. The written program should include the following:
- Management Policy Statement
- Driver Selection
- Driver Training
- Driver Supervision
- Accident Investigation/Reporting
- Vehicle Maintenance
- Safety Motivation - Recognition
- Vehicle Operating Safety Rules
A vehicle safety program is most effective when everyone feels they have a role in the process. Owners/General Managers must commit time and resources, department managers must implement the program and employees must be involved from the start. A safety program should begin with a clearly worded statement of policy from management indicating:
- The vehicle safety program will apply to ALL employees, departments, and operations.
- The cooperation of ALL employees is expected and required.
- Vehicle safety is important for humanitarian and economic reasons.
Every effort should be made to hire the most qualified person to drive company owned vehicles. Management should define the specifications/requirements of the job and determine the driver's ability to meet those requirements. Some sources and techniques to use are:
- A completed application form by the applicant.
- A valid and current drivers' license for the state of vehicle operation.
- A check of motor vehicle records (MVR's).
- A check of previous employer references.
- A personal interview with department manager.
- A physical examination.
- A written test on traffic regulations and driving attitudes.
- A road test in a vehicle of the type to be driven over a similar route.
- Successful completion of probation period.
The most important aspect of a vehicle safety program is to ensure hired drivers receive the proper training in safe vehicle operation. As a minimum, they should receive:
- Orientation on company policy for vehicle safety.
- Review of rules and procedures stressing the driver's responsibilities for vehicle safety.
- On-the job training covering vehicles to be used, maintenance and safe work practices.
- Continued training as needed based on periodic performance evaluations.
A manager's attitude toward safe driving can affect the performance of drivers responsible to the department. Managers should be held accountable for safety performance in their department by the owner/general manger. Managers should supervise through proper and safe job performance:
- Observation of the driver's performance.
- Periodic reviews of driver personnel file/MVR.
- Listening to comments and/or complaints of others.
- Remaining alert to personality or performance changes.
- Evaluating vehicle use (or abuse) and maintenance practices.
- Always encouraging a safe and high level of performance.
The primary purpose for accident investigation is to determine the cause of the accident and implement corrective action to prevent similar recurrences. It can also assist management to determine whether an accident was preventable or not. Some procedures are:
- All accidents should be reported, investigated and reviewed to standard procedures.
- Accident report forms, witness cards, and list of persons/telephone numbers to contact should be maintained in all owned vehicles.
- Initial investigation should be done by the immediate supervisor of employee involved.
- Accidents should be reviewed by designated person or accident review committee to determine preventability and to recommend control measures.
- Designated person should maintain a master accident report file and coordinate all investigations to ensure reports are completed.
An effective vehicle maintenance program can reduce mechanical failures which could contribute to accidents. Some criteria for a maintenance program are:
- As minimum, enforce regular maintenance schedule which meets manufacturer suggested guidelines.
- Pre and post trip inspections of the vehicles.
- Priority scheduling for safety related deficiencies.
- Out of service criteria should be established.
- Scheduled and unscheduled review of vehicle exterior and interior conditions.
- Individual maintenance records in each owned vehicle.
Safe driving deserves to be recognized by management to demonstrate their interest and commitment for safety. One way to accomplish this is an Awards or Incentive program for accident-free driving over a period of time. Some guidelines are:
- Administer fairly to all drivers of owned vehicles.
- Awards of money, merchandise, or plaques or benefits (vacation day).
- Use accident review committee to determine driver's eligibility.
- Drivers should have right to appeal decisions of awards.