A safe systems approach recognises that drivers make mistakes, commit violations and that crashes will occur. All parts of the system need to be strengthened so that if one part fails, other parts will still provide road user protection. One way in which organisations are strengthening their systems is to improve their safety culture across a number of different elements. These include in-vehicle technologies, driver recruitment and implementing health and safety policies. Focusing on the ‘human’ system is one of the key ways that organisations manage their risk.
Here are three essential steps to changing high risk driver behaviours and reducing risk in your fleet.
1 – Identify the drivers most at risk from high risk behaviours
The first stage in an effective driver risk management strategy is to understand the different overall risk levels of drivers in your workforce. An evidence based, online driver risk assessment such as the DriverMetrics® Profiling enables you to segment your drivers based on high, medium and low risk scores. For organisations with large fleets or urgent safety issues; overall risk scores enable a broad segmentation of drivers to inform training interventions.
2 – Understand the specific behaviours causing the risk for drivers
Whilst making decisions based on overall risk scores is useful, you should combine this with an insight into specific behavioural risk factors. For example, each DriverMetrics® Profiling report provides risk scores across up to 12 behavioural factors that our research demonstrates are predictive of risk for the type of driver assessed.
The benefit of focusing on specific risk factors is that instead of implementing a ‘one size fits all’ approach to training interventions, you can focus on the specific behaviours that put each individual driver at risk. For example, adapting the content of training interventions to reflect differences between say, drivers that are high risk due to low levels of confidence and those who are prone to aggressive behaviours under stress, will result in a more effective training intervention.
3 – Use interventions to change high risk driver behaviours
Once you have a clear understanding of which drivers are at risk and why, you need to implement the most appropriate training interventions to reduce risk. A range of methods have been shown to be effective in reducing behavioural risk including in-car driver coaching; workshops and e-learning. However, whichever method you choose, to reap the maximum benefit from this approach, it is essential to take account of how drivers score against the range of risk factors and to target the intervention accordingly.