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More Fleet Safety Management System Guidelines

Fleet Management System (FMS) is critical for a cost effective and efficient fleet management operation. Whether it is a commercial off the shelf or an in-house system, a FMS can help you reduce paperwork and costs. It is the most efficient way to maintain fleet records so information can be routinely analyzed and delivered to meet any reporting requirements you may have in a timely manner. A FMS can manage your inventory, maintenance and fuel programs including preventive maintenance, replacement cycles, safety and accident program, driver records, and disposal program. You can maintain data on a vehicle from the moment it is acquired until it is time for disposing of it. This historical data can be used to monitor the lifecycle of a vehicle and establish guidelines for its maintenance and utilization. There are many fleet software applications and functions available. When evaluating your needs, make sure that the FMS you select is compatible with other systems within your organization. Funding should be set aside each year for system upgrades as new reporting requirements and missions that may evolve over the years.

These are just some examples of fleet management bad habits to look for when reviewing your fleet operations. An efficient fleet management program can be achieved by reviewing your entire fleet operations. You should analyze your fleet operations to ensure you have the required types and numbers of vehicles needed to meet your organiation's mission. You should also have written policies and mechanisms in place to meet any mission changes your organization may have in a timely manner. Some organizations may be downsizing, but others, such as security organizations, may be increasing their fleet sizes. You should evaluate your fleet periodically to ensure that proper use and full utilization are maintained. Many “targets of opportunity” exist for reducing fleet costs, for example:

  • Eliminate vehicles from the fleet that are not being properly utilized or that are unnecessary to meeting your organization's mission. Consider not only the vehicle’s monthly mileage, but also the time a vehicle is used.
  • Increase fleet utilization through pooled use of vehicles rather than numerous vehicles assigned to individuals or single departments.
  • Encourage the use of local modes of transportation such as taxis, public transit, privately owned vehicles (POV’s), shuttle services, and rental vehicles.
  • Downsize to vehicles that will still enable your drivers to perform their duties. The acquisition of 4 x4 sport utility vehicles should be carefully analyzed to investigate whether or not a smaller 4 x 2 may be more appropriate.
  • Justify maintaining medium and heavy vehicles that have very low utilization (time and mileage). Consider pooling these vehicles for centralized use or lease the equipment on an as needed basis.

The fleet manager should have established clear objectives/goals for your operation? The organization should have written policies and procedures for fleet management including manuals, driver guides, and handbooks. Internal controls should be in place for managing the fleet. Fleets may be centralized or decentralized, depending on the nature of the operations. It's important to conduct driver satisfaction surveys and gather the results to fine-tune the fleet management system.

You should determine what is the goal of your safety program. The goal could be to reduce the number of crashes each year and minimize the expenses associated with crashes. The expenses associated with motor vehicle crashes not only include the vehicle repairs, but also the vehicle downtime and personnel time spent on managing the repairs and reporting requirements.

Fleet Safety Program

Fleet Safety is becoming an increasingly important factor in fleet management programs. Your fleet safety program should include a:

  • Driver selection and screening process. Initial driver screening and selection can help eliminate any problem drivers who may have a history of crashes and/or motor vehicle violations. Screening drivers on a routine basis can also help with regards to liability if your driver is found to be negligent in a crash.
  • Driver-training program. Driver’s training should also be routinely administered to your employees. Most Agencies accomplish this task in-house by purchasing commercial off the shelf training manuals and videos. There is also web-based driver training available for a fee from commercial companies.
  • Crash reporting system. Your organization should use a standard procedure for reporting crashes and handling the repairs of your vehicles. The procedures should communicate to your driver what to do if he/she is involved in a crash. Your driver should never admit liability for a crash on the scene. Be sure to seek advice from your organization’s general counsel’s office for more information on your organization’s and driver’s personal liability with regards to crashes. You can also get information from your organization’s designated safety office on motor vehicle crashes and other pertinent policies including the use of wireless telephones while driving. A fleet management system can also be tailored to maintain the data on your organization’s motor vehicle crashes. The data should be analyzed for trends and the proper actions taken against drivers who have multiple crashes.
  • Safe driving incentive awards program. A FMS system will help you analyze and evaluate the repair costs and warranty program for repairs. These records can facilitate the development of a safe driving incentive awards program. It is important to recognize your drivers for good driving habits. A formal safety program for encouraging safe driving will help reduce the number of crashes your organization has each year and reduce your fleet expenses.

Fleet Management has evolved over the years as a profession. Fleet Managers have complex activities and responsibilities within fleet management that require more knowledge and comprehension then ever before. It is not just a “motorpool” anymore. A comprehensive study of your fleet operations will help you gain a better understanding of your operations and give you a forum for highlighting your best fleet practices and recognizing opportunities for improvement. System audits are designed designed to help recognize those areas where you can reduce your fleet costs and if necessary downsize your fleet. Your fleet program will be successful in “rightsizing” your fleet if you have written polices and procedures for effective and efficient fleet management, are able to manage your fleet with a fleet management system, and are able to keep your drivers and field personnel abreast of the latest polices and procedures in your fleet program.

Source: Adapted from the Federal Fleet Management Desk Reference

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Copyright ©2000-2019 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).