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A well-designed and implemented driver safety recognition and award program is a significant component of effective fleet risk management efforts.
Safe driving recognition or incentive programs reward and reinforce good driving performance. These programs can be generated internally within the company, provided by a fleet management company or specialized safety program vendor, or developed through participation in a national safe driver award program such as the National Safety Council.
The following steps outline a basic fleet driver safety recognition program.
Step 1: Research
Explore the scope and options of safety award programs through industry publications and associations, peer research, fleet management companies, and safety program suppliers.
Step 2: Sell to Management
A critical element in a successful award program is visible management support and approval. To make the case for the expense of a safety recognition program, prepare a cost-benefit analysis. How much would the company save preventing accidents through proactively promoting safe driving behavior?
In 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated costs of traffic crash incidents were approximately $230.6 billion.
According to Dan Shive, vice president, risk management services at LeasePlan USA, a reward program can pay dividends beyond what most would expect. By rewarding drivers for their good behavior, a company fosters a culture of safety.
"Reward programs have proven to be a very effective way of saying thank you to drivers for maintaining a clear driving record, avoiding accidents and the associated costs, and thus mitigating a company's risk exposure," said Shive.
For the cost side of the presentation, develop a program budget, considering the following factors:
- For an internally developed program, the cost of administration and implementation.
- If outsourced, the supplier's program costs.
- The cost of the incentives/awards themselves.
- Internal marketing costs, i.e., announcements, recognition events, and newsletters.
Step 3: Determine Program Parameters
An effective safety recognition program is designed to each company's culture, fleet driver and vehicle profile, and budget. Questions to consider include:
- What is the award criteria? Will minor violations be counted? How will drivers qualify for awards?
- Who is eligible to participate?
- What are the time parameters in which awards are earned: quarterly, semiannually, yearly?
- Will there be tiered award recognition, i.e., awards increase in value for longer safe driving periods?
- How will the program be coordinated with driving records tracking data?
"The key to safety awards is doing something good for drivers for following the rules," said Lou Mene, president of ITC Safety, a division of Industrial Training Consultations, Inc., a one-stop source for corporate driver training programs and safety equipment. ITC Safety also has behind-the-wheel training, customizable specialty gifts, and awards.