Using the 5 C’s to Successfully Create a Crash Free Culture

Originally published in Fleet Management Weekly 5/3/23

By Ed Dubens, CEO/Founder, eDriving

Building and nurturing a crash free culture that emphasizes the importance of employee safety while driving for work is all about PROCESS – successful programs are made not born!!!

Our mission, as we all know, is to reduce incidents, collisions, license violations, and injuries that in turn will promote a safer and more productive workplace. At the same time, your crash free culture will simultaneously deliver a best-in-class TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)!

A successful driver risk management and safety program typically embodies the 5 C’s of a Crash-Free Culture:

Commitment – Senior leadership support is critical in highlighting and reinforcing the strategic imperative behind a program and that it requires participation and engagement at all levels of the organization. Using data to demonstrate the risks of inaction, best in class benchmarks and the opportunities for mitigating risk will help illustrate the importance of the driver safety program. Leaders, Managers and Supervisors at every level of the organization must be enrolled in the mission and involved in the journey to maximize program success.

Communication – Provide clear messaging on the WHAT, HOW and WHY as well as the overall expectations and benefits the driver safety program will deliver both to the employees, their families, the broader road using community as well as the organization as a whole. Share program updates with employees at all levels of the organization on a regular basis on successes as well as areas for improvement. Recognize crash-free and low-risk drivers and demonstrate how this support produces a positive impact on both driver improvement and reinforcement of safety culture goals across the company. Use both formal (e.g., email) and informal (e.g., in-app messaging and Teams) modes of communication to help safety become part of the fabric of daily company conversation. Encourage employees at all levels to share experiences of both successes and challenges they overcome everyday driving for work purposes. Do NOT underestimate the power of informal cross functional communication channels to support and sustain your program both across and up and down the organization.

Compliance – A living and breathing “crash-free culture” requires monitoring, follow-up and consistent implementation by Managers to produce and maintain a measurable year-over-year reduction in incidents, collisions, license violations, injuries and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Using analytics and individualized driver data, Managers should follow up with drivers or teams that have delinquent training, and likewise should reward and recognize those with completed training assignments. Manage and track progress to ensure consistent engagement from Managers and leadership. Tie business and driver safety objectives together to ensure that they live side-by-side at all times across the organization.

Coaching – The power is always in the conversation! If Managers are not talking to direct reports regularly about the driver safety mission and their individual safety performance sustainable behavior change will NOT happen! Overwriting lifelong dangerous habits takes time and commitment. Personalized coaching sessions should be triggered if a driver falls below their safe driving score threshold and/or post-collision to identify the underlying root causes of risky driving and/or the collision so the appropriate intervention steps can be taken to avoid similar circumstances in the future. The coaching session also allows for re-energizing drivers, and reinforcing safety policy, standards and expectations. Annual coaching sessions aid in securing commitment to the driver pledge and communicating expected driving best practices and privacy policies related to driving.

Continuous Improvement – Evolve and improve internal and external benchmarks as the program develops and matures. Focus on continuous improvement by sharing regular progress reports with individuals across your organization. Review trends with Leadership and Managers as well as associated ‘calls to action’ from reports on engagement and compliance, collisions and injuries per million miles/kilometers driven (CPPM/K & IPMM/K), license violations and collision causation analysis before communicating across the organization.

Always remember, the ultimate goal is for all employees who drive for work purposes to return home safely to their loved ones and communities at the end of each day. A crash-free culture does not happen overnight; it requires ongoing effort and reinforcement before becoming part of your organization’s DNA.

While the above list provides some useful tips and benchmarks especially if you want to compare your program to others, there are countless additional ways and methods to reinforce and communicate your safety culture on a daily basis that might better suit your organizations personality.

With the help of technology, it’s easier than ever to make everyone inside (and even outside) of the organization aware of your safety goals, mission, and progress. Safety and Risk Management is NOT an area where anti-competition or anti-trust rules prohibit discussion among businesses in the same industry or market. Talk to your Fleet and Risk Management Vendors and ask them to set up a benchmarking forum so likeminded groups can share their successes and failures, and all learn from each other.

Safe Driving!