In 2020, more than 40,000 motor vehicle fatalities were reported, despite a lower total number of vehicles on the road. Where volume was lacking, however, trip length made up the difference: With supply chains pushed to their limits during the pandemic, many logistics and transportation providers looked to put more vehicles on the road, more often. The result? An inevitable uptick in accidents.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal occupational injuries in transportation significantly outpace those of other industries, more than doubling the next-nearest category of falls, trips and slips. Non-fatal crashes, meanwhile, mean time lost for staff and significant costs for your business. On average, these incidents cost nearly $70,000.

Fleet and driver safety programs can both reduce the risk of accidents and boost ROI. Not sure where to start? Here are three key components of effective safety frameworks.

Develop Driver Training Programs

Safer fleets start with safer drivers. But there’s often a disconnect between policy and practice — with companies under pressure to deliver more goods, more quickly, it’s easy for driver safety solutions to become paper policies rather than cultural cornerstones.

To tackle this challenge, create clear and consistent expectations around mandated seat belt use, compliance with all traffic laws and courtesy to other drivers. Have staff read, understand and sign these polices and regularly review your fleet safety plan to ensure it’s working as intended.

Here, commitment to safety pays dual dividends: Not only are fewer crashes less costly to your company, but safer drivers can also lower your commercial vehicle insurance rates.

Reward Safe Behavior

While safe driving policies form the core of fleet safety plans, it’s also critical to reward staff for following the rules and making road safety a priority. Consider that 2020 reports an ongoing shortage of large fleet drivers: In the fourth quarter of last year, turnover rates averaged 89%, up two points from 2019.

While it’s critical to continually monitor driver behavior and call out non-compliance, the reverse is also true to ensure great drivers stay the course with your company. From an ROI perspective, reduced staff turnover means less money spent hiring, onboarding and training new staff.

Implement Targeted Technologies

New fleet monitoring technologies are also a critical components of effective safety programs. As noted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can significantly reduce the risk of fatalities, injuries and crashes. According to recent survey data, air disc brakes helped avoid 2,411 accidents in 2020, lane departure warning (LDW) systems cut down crashes by 6,372 and video-based monitoring led to 63,000 fewer incidents.

Companies can also benefit from the deployment and integration of powerful and easy-to-use fleet management software that combines real-time GPS tracking, fleet reports, automatic alerts and mobile dispatching to create an end-to-end safety solution.

Comprehensive safety programs can help limit total costs and increase your ROI. Ready to boost driver safety and reduce fleet risk? Start with Smart Fleet. Let’s talk.