STC recently hosted the latest in its series of webinars focused on trucking safety issues. This one highlighted recent research by VTTI on proven safety strategies to improve fleet safety. Researchers interviewed several trucking fleets to discover what they believe were the keys to a great safety program and how to measure their improvement over time. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of fleets claimed that fostering an overall corporate safety culture is one of the primary factors in successfully improving their safety programs. This begs the questions: What is Safety Culture in a Fleet? and How is it measured? We reached out to several of the most successful safety directors around the country. They agreed on few important themes.

What is Safety Culture in a Fleet? 

  1. Safety culture is a living and breathing thing. It needs to be owned by all parts of an organization who must be willing to make decisions in the interest of safety that may be contrary to near-term operational goals.
  2. It is embodied in the relationship between the safety manager and/or dispatcher and the driver. It must be a part of daily conversations and a priority for both parties.
  3. Safety technology, used as tools to help drivers improve, rather than a way to monitor a discipline them, can lead to a stronger safety culture.

How is fleet safety measured?

  1. Observe the conversations happening in the hallways, around the lunchroom, and between driver and dispatcher. If you hear the safety message in these ordinary settings, that’s a good indication your programs are working.
  2. Measure what the driver is doing when no one is looking. Things like on-time training percentage or time spent conducting pre-or post-trip inspections can tell you whether a driver is always committed to safety or is just trying to check the box.
  3. Perhaps most obvious, review your driver retention metrics. Drivers want to make the safe decision, and those empowered to do so are more likely to stick around.