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Each year, 1,200 people are killed on Australian roads, with a staggering 35,000 injured in the same time span. In the year to date, 430 people have already lost their lives. National Road Safety Week highlights these shocking statistics and raises awareness for much needed change – but it’s an issue that should be addressed by everyone in the transport industry all year-round.

Working together, we can create a safer culture and make serious leaps towards reducing incidents on our roads. Here are some simple tips to help your business stay on track with safety.

Address driver mental health and fatigue early

Drivers spend many hours on the open road, particularly when they’re taking on long haul and rural travel. Those hours can be lonely, and have an impact on mental health, well-being and driver fatigue levels. It’s important for fleet managers and job schedulers to be aware of their driver’s location and health out on the roads – and for drivers to adhere to recommended rest and work hours.

An Electronic Work Diary helps to encourage drivers to take appropriate rest breaks and maintain their safety commitment even in the face of tight deadlines or external pressures, while satellite communications technology opens up a direct line between drivers and their back-office. While it might seem like a small thing, it will help drivers feel safer and more connected on the road.

Carefully maintain vehicles

An important step to achieve fleet safety is managing vehicle maintenance in a timely and proactive manner. Vehicles should be in the best operating condition – this will not only save you time and money on replacing defective vehicles, but it will also ensure your drivers are operating safely.

GPS fleet tracking software provides alerts when vehicles are in need of a service, allowing you to create a proactive plan to reduce future breakdowns and ensure your fleet is running smoothly. Pairing this with a pre-trip safety checklist before every trip can also prevent unexpected breakdowns because these checklists help drivers to identify vehicle safety risks before they head out on the road and gives them a clear view of their vehicle’s operating capabilities.

In the long run, these processes can save your business money on costly repairs, reduce bottlenecks and ensure the safety of your drivers.

Educate your staff on unsafe driving behaviour

It’s hard to spot unsafe drivers unless you know what to look for. Training your staff to recognise poor behaviour and practice defensive driving is key to building a safer fleet.

Some habits to educate drivers about include:

  • Swerving or braking suddenly or unexpectedly
  • Not sticking to a consistent speed as conditions allow
  • Having trouble staying within a lane
  • Listening to loud music or other distractions

Teaching your drivers how to avoid these behaviours and to take steps to accommodate others on the road will help them maintain a safer road for everyone.

Build a culture of total safety into your business

While integrating safety into your business doesn’t stop at these tips, they’re an important step towards building a culture of total safety in your business. Committing to safety means changing your business practices and ingraining safety in everything that you do. Making little changes here and there will go a long way, and show that you’re invested in the well-being of all your employees.

It’s important for everyone to implement safe practices during their on-road journey, and every business has a role to play in this change. National Road Safety Week is a brilliant campaign that raises essential awareness about the issues facing all Australian drivers – but we all have a responsibility to continue the conversation long after it’s over.

Chris L'Ecluse is a Solution Specialist - Enterprise at Teletrac Navman.

Chris L'Ecluse is Solution Specialist at Teletrac Navman and a Work, Health & Safety guardian angel. A qualified Master Driver Trainer, Chris has extensive experience, knowledge and background to educate industries on work, health & safety laws and safe driving behaviour.