How to Make ‘Safety First’ a Reality


By Chris L’Ecluse, Solution Specialist, Teletrac Navman

In any transport business, vehicles pose a significant risk to employee safety. Trucks are involved in 16 per cent of all road crash fatalities, even though they make up less than three per cent of all registered vehicles. This means a ‘safety first’ approach should be everyone’s top priority. But when you’re responsible for a large fleet of vehicles, implementing a culture of safety is easier said than done. One of our customers, Life Without Barriers, takes a proactive, high-risk approach that allows them to respond to incidents immediately, while also keeping safety top of mind at all times.

Build a company-wide safety culture

As Victorian Trucking Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson said at the opening of this week’s Technical and Maintenance Conference in Melbourne, inadequate driver training is a major issue facing the transport sector. Education is key to shaping a safe company culture. This means holding regular training sessions, sharing frequent updates on trends and addressing any continuous poor habits before they lead to a collision. With ongoing training, fleet managers can make sure safety is the number one priority for everyone in the Chain of Responsibility, from despatchers to drivers and senior executives.

Life Without Barriers runs drivers through a training program as soon as any incident, speeding event or safety infringement is recorded. Regular education sessions are also held with the wider team to highlight common hazards and urge drivers to re-think entrenched behaviours. In consultation with the Teletrac Navman team, this will soon be upscaled to include workshops for senior leaders on safe driving and compliance. “The training program is all about driving a safer culture for the whole organisation,” says Nathan Reynolds, Asset Services Manager at Life Without Barriers. “We care for a lot of clients across the country and we’re concerned about their safety as well as our drivers. It’s an important part of our journey.”

How to Make ‘Safety First’ a Reality

Address unsafe behaviour proactively

While this methodical approach to cultural change is essential, it’s also important to respond to safety breaches as they happen. Without visibility into how drivers are behaving on the road, this is near impossible. Life Without Barriers implemented GPS tracking technology in every vehicle to send out speeding alerts and tackle their highest safety risk. If a driver travels over the speed limit by less than 10 per cent, they’re sent a message straight away to an in-cabin screen so they can slow down. If they’re going faster than that, both a manager and an HR rep receive an SMS alert so they can speak to the driver as soon they’re back from the job. This has reduced speeding by 97 per cent over 12 months. “We’ve found it to be an innovative way of reducing speeding across the whole fleet,” says Reynolds. “A driver only goes over the speed limit once before they get a reminder. They can change their behaviour then and there, rather than a month later when we issue a report.”

Make safety everyone’s priority

Accurate fleet data arms you with the necessary insights to monitor, enforce and improve safety across the business. With these insights in your arsenal, you can respond quickly to incidents while helping everyone understand the impact of unsafe behaviour and curb habits that are putting your drivers, and your business, at risk.