When an employer makes a large capital investment in a number of automobiles, trucks, long-haul vehicles, commercial boats, airplanes, off-road construction vehicles, police cruisers, fire trucks, etc., the cost is often formidable and should be taken care of and protected to ensure long-term operation and longevity of the investment. With vehicles that are mobile, continuous maintenance must be performed to insure their safe operation. Also, a process to obtain, hire, and train the best and safest operators (drivers) is part of the process to assure that safe operation is occurring. These two components are critical to protecting these expensive vehicles. Thus, the reason for a preventive maintenance program that cares for vehicles and assures their safe operation is just as critical as the hiring of successful, safe, and responsible drivers and operators.
Any problem that arises with a vehicle in the fleet is usually an expensive undertaking. This is why regular maintenance is invaluable in protecting such from long-term wear and tear. Replacing worn parts will prevent potential failures from causing accidents and incidents, which can be more costly due to damage of the vehicle or injury/death of equipment operators.
Fleet safety is often viewed as operator safety, which is definitely a key component of a company's attempt to protect its large dollar investment in vehicles and mobile equipment. It goes without saying that many of the accidents that occur are a direct result of driver error. But driver error is not the fault of the individual. It is the fault of management's failure to institute a fleet safety program that provides organization, direction, and accountability for the fleet of vehicles that the company owns.
Commitment to a fleet safety program communicates the value that the company places upon their property and employees. The care given to both vehicles/equipment and employees conveys the company's true view of the value of accident prevention.
A fleet safety program should consist of the following:
- • Written fleet safety program.
- • Vehicle/equipment maintenance procedure.
- • Record-keeping process.
- • Operator selection process.
- • Operator training requirements.
- • Operator performance requirements.
- • Operators' health and physical well-being.
This is why fleet safety is usually viewed as an accident prevention technique. It is a systematic approach to addressing the safe operation of a fleet of vehicles.