How to Plan and Implement a Fleet Safety Program

Fleet Compliance Forms

Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral.

An effective fleet safety program is crucial to a successful fleet operation. It ensures your fleet is compliant with federal and state vehicle tracking laws. A safety program can also save your business money, improve your business’s reputation and, most importantly, help prevent harm to your drivers and the general public.

A recent study in the International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology looked at sample size of fleet safety programs and found they reduced serious accidents and injuries by 40%.

In this article we’ll look at why you need a fleet safety program, what to cover when creating a program, and a step-by-step guide to rolling your program out.

Why Should You Implement a Fleet Safety Program?

Preventable road deaths can be reduced with the right fleet safety measures in place, making the roads safer for us all. Between January 2023 and June 2023, there were 21,150 preventable deaths on US roads, according to the National Safety Council.

In addition to preventing road death and injury, there are other highly important reasons to implement a fleet safety program.

  • Legal compliance: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs commercial fleet operators. It manages a Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program which identifies commercial fleet operators with safety concerns. If your business is flagged, the program will help to improve the safety of your fleet. Keep in mind that your business’s safety compliance will then be subject to regular investigation.
  • Financial impact: Some of the financial costs associated with fleet accidents and injuries include soaring insurance premiums, loss of business due to drivers recovering from injury, and repair or replacement of vehicles. A robust fleet safety program can help mitigate future accidents.
  • Reputational impact: If accidents happen frequently, your business can develop a bad reputation, losing you valuable business, and make it harder to hire the best drivers.

What Does a Fleet Safety Program Consist Of?

You’ll find that the Department of Transport has created a lot of online documentation about the creation of a fleet safety program. At state level, local government bodies and fleet safety associations produce guides and toolkits, like this useful one from the Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Below we’ve summarized the key components of a fleet safety program

Clear and Achievable Goals

Before you create a fleet safety program, set out some clear goals you want to achieve. This will give your program structure and help you focus on the core problems your business faces. For example, one of your goals may be to reduce vehicle collisions by 60% or improve overall driver behavior. Analyze the current state of play in the whole fleet before you do anything

Regular Vehicle Safety Checks and Maintenance

Fleet vehicles, like any other machinery in a business, go through significant wear and tear over time. Fleet vehicles need regular safety and maintenance checks to ensure they are still roadworthy. Failure to do this can have serious consequences should a vehicle cause an accident on the road due to mechanical failure. A regular schedule of safety checks and maintenance should be a key pillar of your fleet safety program.

Driver Selection and Ongoing Training

The quality of your drivers will be key to the success of your fleet safety program. Implement policies around hiring the best drivers possible. This should include a clean safety record, full driving license, and any other qualifications necessary for your fleet. Putting this into practice during the hiring process is a proactive measure to ensure there’s a lower chance of accidents in the future.

For your current drivers, create a schedule of continuous coaching around all aspects of fleet safety – we will explain how to roll this out in the next part of this article. You will be able to spot any issues drivers have early and intervene to correct their behavior and ensure the highest standard of driver safety possible.

Leadership and Company Wide Buy-In

One of the biggest challenges with launching a fleet safety program is getting buy-in. We’ve highlighted a few ways to mitigate this:

  • Management needs to make it a priority. Engage with the leadership team and encourage them to make fleet safety a priority in the business and part of official company policy. The program will then be taken seriously and increase the chances of buy-in from drivers and other fleet employees. A Connected Fleet survey from 2021 found that 60% of fleet owners are motivated by improving driver safety.
  • Involve fleet drivers and staff early on. Encourage input from drivers during the program’s development. They’re on the road everyday and can help you shape safety procedures based on real-world experience instead of theory. The result? A higher quality safety program that has greater buy-in from your employees.

Concrete Written Policies and Procedure

After finalizing your goals and getting company buy-in, ensure that all policies and procedures are down on paper. Here is some of the key documentation you will need to create:

  • Overall written statement: Create an overall statement of intent about your fleet’s safety program. This could include the goals you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve them. Circulate this statement throughout the business so everyone is aware of the purpose of the fleet safety program.
  • Policy documents: Have policy documents to cover every aspect of your fleet. This should include a drugs and alcohol policy, route management policy, seat belt policy, accident protocol policy, driver etiquette policy, and cell phone use policy.
  • Forms and checklists: Write up agreement forms to the policies mentioned above, vehicle safety checklists, and driver coaching checklists. These are just some of the day-to-day documents you will need to carry out your fleet safety program.

How to Roll Out a Fleet Safety Program

Once you’ve decided on the important components of your fleet safety program, it’s time to roll it out. In this section we’ll cover planning the program, setting up the systems to monitor the program, driver coaching, and program refinement.

Plan the Program

There are a couple of different elements you will need to plan out. The first port of call is to ensure that you are fleet safety certified, ensuring you are trained and qualified to carry out the program. Fleet certification isn’t required by the DOT or state agencies, but is necessary if you want to run a successful program. Once complete, plan out these areas of your fleet safety program:

  • Host an introductory session for your drivers to let them know what the program is about, what’s expected of them, and the goals of the program.
  • Schedule any ongoing maintenance and safety checklists for the vehicles in your fleet.
  • Distribute policy documentation, including any documentation your drivers need to sign up.
    Schedule coaching sessions for drivers.

Set Up the Systems to Track Your Fleet Safety

Video monitoring is one the best ways to record driver behavior, helping you spot any safety issues that may occur during a trip. Dash cams will need to be installed to do this – you will need to get buy-in from your drivers to implement this. Dash cam laws vary from state to state but generally you should ask for consent before recording video and audio.

Software systems like Samsara have coaching platforms that allow you to track driver behavior in real time and add notes on any safety incidents that occur. It will also will alert you if drivers engage in risky behavior like harsh braking.

Implement Regular Driver Training

By tracking the behavior of your drivers on the road, you can see what specific pain points need to be addressed. Focus on the high-risk drivers first, utilizing the data gathered from a system like Samsara to build out specific points that each driver can action to improve their overall driving. Some software systems also provide an app that allow drivers to keep track of the points they need to work on most.

Create a set of modules based on the areas your drivers need to improve in so they see a clear path to becoming a better, safer driver. Most software systems with a driver safety platform will allow you to assign your drivers a score based on their progress.

Monitoring and Program Refinement

Once your drivers have completed their training, they still need to be monitored to ensure they stick to the new safety regulations. A great way to do this is through gamification. This method has become popular in recent years and involves reinforcing positive behavior through competition.

Some fleet management software systems have safety leaderboards for drivers. The safer the journey, the better score the driver gets. They will be shown where they are placed against other drivers in the fleet. By giving rewards to the safest drivers in the fleet, it encourages better buy-in from drivers overall.

Monitoring drivers after their training also shows if they still need improvement when it comes to safety. By identifying this early on, you can go back and refine the coaching modules to help the driver better understand and implement safety procedures


Fleet safety is the foundation of any successful fleet and needs to be taken seriously by fleet managers. The most important reason is to keep your drivers and the general public safe.

After that, implementing a fleet safety program will keep you compliant with the law, save your business money, help retain better quality drivers and improve the reputation of your business overall.

Written by:
Eamonn is an experienced B2B writer and content manager, having managed and grown several B2B business blogs in the fitness and hospitality space.