A Three Pronged Approach to Fleet Safety

Judy Sparks

Judy Sparks

Fleet Administrator, Advanced Home Care

Judy, tell us about the Three Part Safety Pro­gram and how you have imple­mented it.

We are really excited about improv­ing safety with our Three Part Safety Pro­gram imple­mented this year.  The first part is our Star Dri­ver Pro­gram, acknowl­edg­ing our dri­vers when they have done a great job. We look at when our dri­vers have gone with­out an acci­dent for the course of the year or not received any neg­a­tive calls in response to the “How is my Dri­ving” stick­ers located on our vehi­cles.  If inci­dent free, our dri­vers are then cel­e­brated as a STAR.   They are given an award, a safe dri­ving jacket, have a cook-out and really com­mem­o­rate their suc­cess. Our dri­vers have responded well and feel encour­aged know­ing that we appre­ci­ate that they are doing a great job.

The sec­ond part of our pro­gram is our acci­dent review process. Any­time we have an acci­dent, find any dam­age to one of our vehi­cles, or receive an egre­gious call-in about dri­ving behav­ior, we con­vene a com­mit­tee that reviews what has hap­pened.  The review includes the dri­ver, their man­ager, and a com­mit­tee of Senior Lead­er­ship and Human Resources.  We get the driver’s point of view, dis­cuss what has hap­pened, what we can learn from this, what could we have done dif­fer­ently, and how they have applied the train­ing they have received.  In this review we assess any points that might be assigned to them within our company’s pol­icy and we also look at what we as a com­pany could do dif­fer­ently. Is there any equip­ment that is needed for them to be suc­cess­ful that we have not pro­vided?  Are there other tools that we can be giv­ing them when we are train­ing? We have learned a lot through that process, it has been very successful.

The third part is our safe dri­ver train­ing. We require all dri­vers to par­tic­i­pate in both an in-class and on-the-road defen­sive dri­ver train­ing. We teach them how to maneu­ver their vehi­cle effec­tively and cre­ate space to keep them safer. Our com­pany has found that by using these three dif­fer­ent aspects we have seen a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in acci­dents as well as a bet­ter atti­tude from the dri­ver that is more focused on safety.

What about the results you are get­ting on acci­dents, costs and reductions?

We track and trend the num­ber of acci­dents we have and the amount that we are spend­ing on those acci­dents includ­ing vehi­cle repair and lia­bil­ity.  This pro­gram has resulted in a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in the num­ber of acci­dents as well as the sever­ity of accidents. 

We are also con­cerned about giv­ing our dri­vers the keys they need to stay safe. The finan­cial return we are see­ing is sig­nif­i­cant, but keep­ing our driver’s safe is crucial.

What are you see­ing about good habits and rou­tines?

It is impor­tant that our dri­vers have a stan­dard in the way that they drive, that they have the abil­ity to have a rou­tine, or be able to know for sure what is expected of them behind the wheel. We help them estab­lish good dri­ving habits that can help with their day-to-day rou­tines so that they can safely arrive at our patients’ homes to deal with the more cru­cial part of our busi­ness which is patient care.

What is the best way to deal with and ana­lyze your data?

We look at data con­cern­ing fuel spend, main­te­nance costs, depre­ci­a­tion – all of the things that come into play, but up until this year it has been dif­fi­cult not to look at each ele­ment exclu­sively. This year, we have estab­lished a data­base pulling every­thing together. We are now ask­ing more in-depth ques­tions; how one aspect is affect­ing the other. This has facil­i­tated a process where we pull reports and review them on a reg­u­lar basis.  We are now trend­ing and learn­ing more from the past as we plan for our future in fleet.

How do you make sure your vehi­cles are uni­form and clean?

One of our objec­tives for this year is to estab­lish SOPs or stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dures for every­thing that we do for fleet across the com­pany. We are look­ing at try­ing to make sure that what we do is repeat­able so that we are not rein­vent­ing the wheel every time we do some­thing; mak­ing our processes uni­form and effec­tive, not only in our time but in the process of mak­ing sure that every­thing is taken care of.

In addi­tion to the SOPs we have estab­lished brand­ing that is uni­form. We have approved specs for what the vehi­cle will look like on the out­side, hop­ing that as our mov­ing bill­boards go down the road they are rec­og­niz­able. We also have more uni­form stan­dards for how the vehi­cle is out­fit­ted on the inside. This addresses what type of shelv­ing we have and what equip­ment is needed so that when we add a new vehi­cle we are bring­ing that into our fleet uni­formly.   These actions help assure that any dri­ver can drive any one of our vehi­cles and know exactly where to find nec­es­sary equip­ment or safety devices. 

Con­grat­u­la­tions on being named a final­ist for NAFA’s 2013 FLEXY award for Excel­lence in Cor­po­rate Fleet Safety.

We were pleased to be one of the final­ists for the safety pro­gram. It has been a busy, intense year in devel­op­ing the safety pro­gram. We went from incep­tion to imple­men­ta­tion in one year, which has been a big process. It was been an honor to be rec­og­nized for our efforts. I have learned quite a lot from work­ing with and talk­ing to oth­ers at the NAFA I&E about their fleets and processes. Our com­pany has been excited to be a part of the awards event.

I am happy to be a part of a com­pany that val­ues safety in our fleet and sup­ports ini­tia­tives to improve.


Judy Sparks is the Fleet Admin­is­tra­tor for Advanced Home Care, Inc.    Advanced Home Care has approx­i­mately 170 vehi­cles and grow­ing.   After work­ing with Advanced Home Care in a dif­fer­ent role, Judy tran­si­tioned into this role in Jan­u­ary of 2012.