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A Guide to Write a Driver Policy & Company Handbook

Category:telematics system

smarketingFebruary 07, 2023

Fleet management encompasses a lot of things. For starters, operators must ensure vehicle and driver safety and security. Fleet managers or business owners should also ensure their vehicles and drivers meet compliance regulations, while maintaining operational efficiency. A telematics system can play a pivotal role in this and in writing a driver policy and company handbook.

Here you will read about what goes into creating an inclusive driver policy and company handbook that will make your business fleet compliant in every aspect.

The Fundamentals

It is best to start at the absolute basic level so that nothing is left behind.

What is Compliance?

If there is a pillar that determines the success of a fleet, it is compliance. Adhering to it will take you forward in the game, but not doing so will be detrimental to operational safety and efficiency.

Maintaining compliance is crucial to the logistics industry as it helps keep drivers and vehicles safe by ensuring the carriers are roadworthy and reducing the likelihood of on-road incidents. With driver fatigue being the cause of one in five accidents, avoiding it is the top priority among fleet businesses. After all, eliminating driver fatigue by complying with the rules will do more than just safeguard the fleet. Being compliant will protect other road users too.

Fleet managers must prioritize compliance, but it is also a challenge to stay abreast of the changes in regulations and the complex admin work associated with the same. Several moving parts will need express attention, including monitoring a driver’s work hours & fatigue, refining the identification process, ensuring electronic logging accuracy, and preventing device tampering.

The Building Blocks of Compliance

Comprehensive fleet compliance is a machine with several cogs that you need to take note of. Some of the variables worth mentioning include;

1. Fleet Managers

These people are integral to fleet operations and play crucial roles in ensuring compliance. The management is responsible for implementing company rules and regulations and making sure that all drivers and vehicles follow these policies. They also monitor and evaluate performance to prevent company policy violations.

2. Drivers

Fleet drivers, no matter how frequently they work, need training to operate the vehicle they are asked to operate. They also require a valid driver’s license and become familiar with the safety policies and compliance regulations.

3. Vehicles

Vehicles need to be in mint condition to operate efficiently. Therefore, you must ensure your vehicles are fit for use, and to do that, you need to get them serviced on time. Conducting regular inspections will help you meet safety guidelines.

4. Daily Operations

Operating the business while maintaining compliance helps you mitigate risks and safeguard fleet vehicles. If you hope to ensure compliance in this regard, then you cannot make your employees work longer than realistic hours. You should also keep the working conditions fair and allow them to take breaks frequently.

The Specifics of a Driver Policy & Company Handbook

What are the particulars of a driver policy and company handbook? Here is a breakdown.

1. Start with the Basics

The introductory part of the driver policy and company handbook should begin with explaining the purpose, who it applies to, and the terms and conditions. Start by presenting the mission statement of the company so that the reader understands why your business utilizes fleets.

From there you can move on to define the industry terms and explain the roles and responsibilities of various departments. You have to define the duties of key players in the business like fleet managers, executive management, head of departments, vehicle users/drivers, and managers. The policy should also define industry-related terms. They will help outline your code of conduct, the types of employment contracts you offer, the recruitment process, attendance mandates, and governmental policies in this section of the manual.

2. Fleet Administration

This section of the manual should contain all admin activities associated with the business fleet. Outlining this part will provide the reader with more information regarding operations and how they will fit into the structure.

It contains information on the following aspects;
  • The responsibilities of the fleet department
  • The way your business chooses, allocates and acquires vehicles
  • Train drivers on safe driving practices
  • Communication mandates between drivers and fleet managers
  • Your organization’s database and record-keeping systems
  • Grounds for loss of employment/eligibility

This section shows the details of the telematics device or fleet tracking software program you use for your company. Remember to outline this in the driver policy so all employees use the device or software and avoid privacy breaches.

3. Driver Eligibility

This element expands on the driver’s permit requirements for any employees driving company-owned vehicles.

The policy must stipulate that the driver provide an MVR (motor vehicle record), which is a document containing the details of an individual’s driving history. Information regarding accidents, traffic violations, or vehicle crimes will be included here. All prospective drivers must submit this data positively to ensure they meet all employment requirements. Furthermore, minimum employment age and disability guidelines should also be part of the policy.

4. Driver Safety

A fleet’s well-being depends on driver safety. If anything harms your drivers, it will affect other aspects of business operations.

This portion of the policy should define the behaviors that can put drivers at risk, as well as the steps they must implement to stay safe while driving. Below you will find a few rules worth including;

  • No one should drive under the influence of intoxicants. You should also stipulate the repercussions of doing so, such as employment termination if found guilty.
  • No one should touch their phones when sitting behind the steering wheel.
  • No one should drive a company vehicle if ill, medicated, or fatigued.
  • Every driver and passenger should put on seat belts when in a company vehicle.
  • Every driver should adhere to the rules and regulations of the road.
  • Every driver must turn off the engine, lock the doors, and take the keys out of the vehicle if they leave it unattended.
  • Every driver should use headlights only at night or during moments of low visibility.
5. Vehicle Use

This part of the manual will be the most influential as it will cover a great deal regarding fleet vehicle use. It must enumerate driver behavior guidelines and restrictions.

From the perspective of personal use, the driver policy should include the basics. For instance, only authorized personnel may drive company vehicles, passengers are limited to only those that need to ride in the vehicle to finish a project, and any restrictions, such as smoking, should be stated clearly. If your fleet uses personal or rental vehicles, remember to stipulate associated usage guidelines in the policy.

These make up the tip of the iceberg regarding what you need to include in the vehicle use section of the manual. Other necessary guidelines include providing an explanation of fuel purchasing and administration, processes to follow for reporting accidents, and vehicle care & security methods.

6.Vehicle Maintenance

Efficient fleet performance depends on proper functionality. To that end, every vehicle has to remain roadworthy at all times. Poor maintenance will inevitably lead to vehicle downtime and costly repairs, which can be avoided by having comprehensive documentation concerning vehicle maintenance at hand. So, include outlining guidelines about vehicle operation, vehicle life cycle, risk management procedures, data collection, and fuel management.

An excellent place to start is determining the vehicle inspections and safety checks that the drivers should conduct before embarking on a journey. These safety checks should incorporate checking vital vehicle aspects, such as the brakes, lights, tires, and wipers. Stipulate clearly how often these checks should be conducted. Then, you can specify the frequency of tire rotations, oil changes, and other types of servicing.

Fleet managers and drivers should be aware of all the fundamentals of vehicle operation. These include;

  • Vehicle maintenance program
  • Software program used for vehicle operations
  • Suppliers used
  • Fuel consumption systems in place, and more

Every maintenance task conducted on the vehicle must be recorded in mileage reports for record-keeping.

7. Accident Procedures

Accidents are inevitable, whether you follow the rules of the road and correct driving etiquette or not. Even if you dodge the worst-case scenarios, you will not be able to escape scuffs and bumps. In any case, your drivers should be aware of the processes to follow after an accident to prevent further damage or injury and report the incident correctly.

Drivers must never engage in arguments or discuss the accident with external parties. They should discuss such events only with the police and fleet/security officers.

Here are some of the procedures you must outline in this section of the manual;
  • Report the accident to the policy, regardless of its severity.
  • Call for medical aid as and when required.
  • Add the names and details of anyone involved in a collision and eyewitnesses.
  • Give the other party their name, details, and insurance data.
  • Inform fleet managers and security officers of the collision.
  • Provide a comprehensive written report of the accident to fleet operators.

Tips to Write a Policy

At this point, you should be ready to write the policy. The following tips will help you get it done.

1. Research thoroughly

When you implement new policies for your fleet, research the industry and consider all aspects of your business. Look for information wherever you find it to enrich your documentation.

As changes in policy impact everyone working for a company, you should enquire with your employees to see how current policies impact them.

In the same way, take note of your peer’s policies. Find out what they learned when implementing these guidelines and how they impacted their operations. Staying informed about every aspect will guide you when assembling your documentation. This will help you put together more comprehensive and inclusive policies.

2. Ask for Inputs

As you gather insight from employees through the research process, make sure that you get input from all departments to compile your documentation.

Once you create a clearer outline of everything in your policy and handbook, make sure that you keep executive management in the loop. Getting input from every employee of your company will ensure you leave no stone unturned and assure that all challenges and opinions specific to your business are included.

3. Refine the Documentation

The driver policy and company handbook have to be all-inclusive without being repetitive. When you build the framework, make sure that you do not repeat yourself. Every piece of information you add must be valuable.

When you edit the document, the areas you need to elaborate or eliminate will become clear. Do not forget to pay attention to the readability of your policies, avoid being convoluted, and keep the language simple. All employees have to read and understand the documents. Naturally, the information must be as clear and precise as possible.

4. Review Your Policies Carefully

There is one more thing to do in terms of refining the document. You must review the policies carefully before distributing them.

This document should pass through the following parties before it gets finalized;
  • Supervisors
  • Managers
  • Legal representatives
  • Union officials

The more people inspect the document, the better. This will help pinpoint any snags before it is submitted to senior-level management to be approved.

5. Prepare the Policies for the Future

You can do it annually or whenever there is a change in regulations. Regardless of what you choose to do, make sure the policies are updated. To do that, stay in tune with industry news and ask your employees to provide detailed feedback on the policies after implementation. Specify who employees can contact if they have questions or suggestions concerning the documentation. Use the feedback to improve the policy and handbook.

How Vyncs Can Help

Are you familiar with Vyncs? It is currently one of the most reputable connected vehicle management technology providers on the market. How can a telematics product fabricated by us benefit you in creating a driver policy and company handbook?

Just think about it - what is the ultimate purpose of telematics? It facilitates monitoring cars, trucks, equipment, and even organizational assets by leveraging GPS technology and onboard diagnostics or OBD for strategizing asset movement on a digital map.

The presence of a highly intelligent computer in a vehicle capable of reporting on nearly every detail, from speeding & idling, to fuel use, low tire pressure, and more, can be nigh unto revolutionary for a logistics business.

As mentioned earlier, the sphere of transportation is fraught with aspects in need of constant monitoring, analysis, refining, identification, logging, tamper prevention, etc. Telematics is the only thing that will come in handy when you focus on these elements and help you use the results to frame your driver policy and company guidebook.