Communication 101: How to improve driver communication

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In an ever-changing landscape of technology and communication platforms, distracted driving and subsequent accidents have been steadily on the rise. Your drivers know better than to consult a cell phone or other device while they are driving, but you still need to find a safe and effective way to communicate with them, especially when it comes to urgent updates or safety information. Read on to learn some helpful tips for improving driver communication while still making safety a top priority.


Know your options


Now more than ever, the options for safety and communication are increasing at a rapid rate. Many fleets maintain a strict policy of absolutely zero cell phone use by drivers while on the road in order to ensure fewer accidents and distractions. Instead of phones, consider incorporating technology like a traffic camera system, which can be operated by a third party so the drivers can keep their attention on the road. These systems can be set to record in the event of an accident or unusual vehicle activity.


There are many of these types of communications choices available, so do your research and find out what you think will help your team the most. If you know of other fleets who have used this system, reach out to learn if it is effective for their drivers and how they use it for each vehicle.


Footing the bill for these updates may seem like a large task, but consider the alternative – drivers who are attempting to handle their phones, even for important, work-related updates, are much more likely to be involved in a collision on the road. This means that their safety and others can be compromised in the blink of an eye. Consider the cost from that perspective, and look for a phone-free solution that makes sense with your budget.


Set expectations


You already trust your drivers to handle themselves safely and in a professional manner. This extends to their communication, as well. Make sure your drivers understand that, in order to prevent accidents and to promote safety practices, they need to follow the communication plan you set in place. This applies to both sides – you also need to do your part and follow the plan to check in with your drivers or to give them important updates.


This is a great opportunity to get input from your drivers. What do they think is the easiest or most effective way to receive updates? How often is it reasonable to expect them to check in, and how should they do so without compromising safety? Your drivers are a wealth of information when it comes to determining best practices that will affect them out on the road. Use the considerable expertise they have acquired to tailor your communication plans to best suit everyone’s needs.


More than anything, don’t stop communicating! Do your research and figure out which resources you can use to make each trip a safe and informed one for your driving team. If you make communication a priority, your drivers will do the same.


More on Dickinson Fleet Services


Headquartered in Indianapolis, Dickinson Fleet Services (DFS) has grown to become one of the largest independent fleet maintenance and management companies in the country. DFS is the leading provider of on-site mobile maintenance and repair services nationwide, offering mobile on-site maintenance and repair services for light, medium and heavy-duty trucks and trailers with over 450 mobile units operating nationwide. DFS services fleet customers with 23 maintenance facilities each offering select services from accident repair, paint, refurbishment and dedicated technician services, combined with an in-house CARES CALL center providing 24/7 repair assistance. DFS has made significant investments in training and technology, including WebWrench® (maintenance tracking and scheduling through proprietary technology) and TRAIT® (real-time reporting and dynamic preventative maintenance inspections processed through a proprietary field service application) and is the only fleet services company in the nation to provide both fleet maintenance and management to its customers nationwide. www.dickinsonfleet.com