SPONSOR SEGMENT – FLEET MANAGEMENT

Thursday 17 March 2022

The most important factor in fleet management is to ensure drivers work in a safe environment and don’t put their lives or the lives of others at risk. 

According to RoSPA, most road accidents have several causes, the main ones being human error, followed by environmental problems, then mechanical faults. Human error is a factor in 95% of all road accidents.

How to manage the top three safety risks in vehicle fleets

Preventative maintenance

Preventative maintenance is proactive. Software can provide an invaluable tool to schedule annual MOTs, services, and regular safety inspections for vehicle fleets.

Maintenance plans should include safety inspections, with consideration of different vehicle types and their usage. Older vehicles, or vehicles that acquire higher than expected mileage may need more frequent safety inspections.

These can be easily overlooked unless tracked specifically. Software can provide alerts and notifications to prompt maintenance work and safety inspections, ensuring roadworthiness and proactive maintenance of the fleet. 

Unroadworthy vehicles that are removed from service until defects are rectified can be added to the system too. A robust audit trail of management and maintenance can provide evidence if there was a future insurance claim.

Vehicle safety compliance

Drivers share responsibility for vehicle roadworthiness with owners and operators. Drivers should be suitably trained to carry out and record daily detailed vehicle safety checks.

Whenever possible a driver check should be carried out immediately before the vehicle is used. This should cover lights, tyres (tread and pressure), oil, water and fluids, brakes and steering, warning lights, and battery. 

A motor inspection app can provide drivers with the means to carry out thorough vehicle checks. This data can be stored against the vehicle providing proof that checks were carried out, when they occurred, plus the driver’s comments.

Best practice fleet management also expects a system for reporting and recording daily defects, which feed into the maintenance system. In the case of serious defects, there must again be a reliable process to remove a vehicle from service.

Driver management

To minimise risk to drivers and others, comprehensive and regular licence checks, regular medical tests, eye tests, random drink or drug testing, and annual driving assessments should be carried out.

Comprehensive inductions and training are of equal importance. It can be beneficial to introduce driver incentives for good behaviour and best practice driving.

Software can provide the platform to store all driver data, including licence details, tests, training courses, email evidence of communications, and health & safety talks. Alerts can be set to prompt refresher training, vehicle specific training, and repeat licence checks for example.

This type of software supports fleet managers, operations managers, and insurance managers to monitor inspection activity, manage reported defects, and minimise risk and maintain compliance.

Alphatec provides an app to easily access records of all driver and vehicle data, with a wealth of reporting available. It integrates with our claims and incident software application and can integrate into business intelligence tools and other data sources, including the DVLA.

Simon Davies (sdavies@alphatec.net) is Director at Alphatec.

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