Posted on: November 7, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 1

From Hilton Mango Veckranges; We have 600 vehicles on the road daily, and 45 vehicle incidents per month. Please help with my fleet plan.

I am initiating a road vehicle fleet safety management plan. Please help with comments and suggestions;
• Fit vehicles with tracking of routes and driver behaviour, like acceleration and braking, with printouts monthly.
• Set tolerances for deviations and driver behaviour.
• Assess drivers for their licence and again by our corporate certification body.
• Investigate motor vehicle incidents and make recommendations like advanced driving training, recertification, and disciplinary procedure.
• Introduce breath alcohol testing on a routine and random basis. Is there anything I have left out? Please share your insights.

Interventions need cultural support

SHEQafrica.com editor SHEQafrica responds; Hilton, your fleet safety intervention plan is good, but you seem to be starting in the middle.

Fleet mangement would change little if you do not first assess and activate company culture, which is probably latent or unactivated.

Measure cultural climage, communicate, make a social compact to define and activate an ideal corporate culture. Use policy to back up interventions, use commitment, announce commitment to stakeholders, including suppliers, cllents, families.

Set procedures and set goals. The greatest problem in traffic behaviour is the poor quality and of enforcement, geared to perpetuate violations and fines.

The SA Transport Department initiative in late 2011 to inspect trucks, buses and taxis for roadworthiness, is long overdue and a step in the right direction. Do not rely on legislation like the heavily faulted and skewed AARTO, due for redraft, or its supposed points demerit system.

Link your interventions to other initiatives, like the worldwide UN Decade of Road Safety initiatives, business initiatives for road safety, like chemicals sector programmes for load identification, MSDSs, driver training, traffic officer training, toll road and emergency services programmes and facililties for emergency response.

Use rechnology to increase communication, visibility and driver identity of yoiur own and other drivers in your area. Signpost two telephone numbers on your vehicles, one for your driver, and one for your public relations manager.

Driver public identity should be mandatory for buses and taxis. Also empower your drivers against other road violators, by a bad driver reporting system, with recourse to other fleet owners, in parallel to current reporting systems that may be dead ends.

Road rage plays a significant role in dismal traffic culture, and fleet owners, including taxi fleet owners, should enable positive outlets for this negative energy.

Your corporate and fleet culture has to be stronger than the default South African road traffic culture. Good luck, and keep us informed of your progress.

Driver incentives could work

T Anthony Rudd; Try a driver incentive program. It’s good to have a tool to correct bad driver behaviour, but approach is paramount in promoting good driver behaviour. Let drivers know what is being monitored on the vehicles and set parameters promoting good driver behaviour, offering reward for compliance.

Drivers’ medical and drug tests

From Zama Mkhize; Induct, train, retrain, coach, and mentor, suspend (without pay) then terminate errant drivers.

From Natalie Skeepers; Do you do medical tests of drivers? Don’t you have a fleet manager? They are supposed to manage this. You are an advisor, not a policeman. The problem with policing is that people only remember your badge.

From Hiliton Veckranges; Medicals are done prior to certification. This is not going to be easy but it its definitely necessary. We have a fleet manager but they have abdicated health and safety functions to us occupational health and safety specialists, and I do agree with Natalie that it is a line function so I am reversing the tide, albeit gradually. Fleet managers need tangible interventions right now. Fleet risk brings our highest fatalities. Once the fundamentals are in place, we could definetely move toward engendering a corporate culture. Zama, disciplinary procedure and dismissal would not change much, tut, tut, tut.

From Natalie Skeepers; Go a step further than alcohol testing, do drugs testing. Many companies shy away from this, because bratherlisers are easier. But test people for ‘recreational’ drugs and see how all hell breaks lose. You could have the union on your case. At medicals, many employees do not disclose all their conditions. Survey the impact of some of their medication like anti allergens. Verify drivers licences, I mean not just checking the paperwork that they offer.

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  1. From Koos Dafel; About the driver test query, fleet operators should test and appoint the right people as drivers. In terms of fluid intelligence, I would have loved to test you drivers, just to prove a point, or go to the nearest vendor who can do Vienna Dover Testing and you will find that they dont have the hand eye co-ordination OR depth perception to drive.
    Pick any three drivers whom have had an accident the past 6 months and you will see why they crashed your vehicles.
    Vienna Dover is a pre requisite to drive a vehicle on any mine. More than 80% of all drivers with code 10 licences Fail Vienna Dover tests and should technically not be driving any form of work vehicle.

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