Everyone expects to have a safe workplace environment when we report to our jobs, regardless of the title and whether it’s a field job or office position. Driving City vehicles for official business is no different, whether an employee drives all day, every day or just once a month. Fleet is working on making Madison the safest fleet operation possible. There are many parts that go into any successful fleet safety program.

Driver in city vehicle

Driver Safety

It’s quite possible that vehicles, including our city vehicles, will be driving themselves one day as the world moves towards an autonomous vehicle future. However, that complex transition is at minimum many years off, and we must operate the fleet safely until then for ourselves and for the public.

Accurate records of vehicle collisions, incidents, and near-miss events are important. We use them to analyze and understand vehicle and driver trends. This data can assist in reducing collisions and incidents in the future. Proper filing of forms will also speed up the settlement of claims or lawsuits arising from these events.

Driver Safety Training

We want all City drivers to have all the tools necessary to stay safe. This is why we have designed a driver safety training for all City employees who drive a City vehicle. The training focuses on Madison's Vision Zero, understanding the effects of unsafe driving importance of vehicle maintenance, safe driving techniques, and how to act when faced with difficult, unpredictable events. With this training, we are expecting to see a decline on hazardous driving behavior in our City staff. As part of the Vision Zero Steering team, this is one way in which we minimize risk within out City streets.

GPSVehicle Positioning

Another strategy used by leading fleets is GPS tracking devices on vehicles to analyze and improve driver behavior. Coaching drivers on their driving behavior helps reduce speeding, idling, and harsh driving. Studies show that reducing these behaviors increases safety, as well as fuel economy and lower maintenance costs. These costs add up in a fleet as large as Madison's. GPS has other benefits, too, such as showing City public works managers a live map of which streets have been plowed and which have not.

Commercial Driver's License

Ensuring that operators follow the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) rules can also prevent injuries and save lives. The required pre-trip inspection, for example, makes sure that the vehicle is safe to use for the planned routes that day. The random substance testing program checks that our drivers are in good condition to operate heavy machinery throughout the year. Other rules, such as buckling up safety belts, apply to all drivers and this simple habit can prevent serious injury and fatality.

Fleet is working on many initiatives around the important and evolving area of vehicle safety. We will keep you updated about those developments on this page, and we hope you will continue to visit.

Vision Zero

Traffic fatalities are preventable. This is one of the main principles of Vision Zero and Fleet believes it to be true. This is why we are pleased to announce that Fleet is part of the Vision Zero Steering Committee – which plays a key role on implementing this initiative. As a City, we acknowledge that human error is real and is a factor when it comes to vehicle collisions. To minimize that error, we are investing on different technologies: GPS, camera systems, automatic emergency braking, driver alert systems, lane keeping assist systems, and adaptive cruise control. Additionally, we are researching other technologies that would minimize risk while driving. By using all of these technologies in tandem, we can generate a driver scorecard to identify coaching opportunities and act on them. At the same time, we will be proactive by implementing a City-wide defensive driver training.

While driver behavior is crucial, vehicle health is important too. Without proper maintenance, the technology deteriorates faster and potentially rendered less useful. Fleet has a robust preventative maintenance program to ensure that all vehicle components are always working.Eliminating traffic fatalities is a team effort, and together we can achieve it. If you want to learn more about vehicle safety technologies, feel free to reach out to us.

#TeamCity Safest Driver Award

Safety is not only about looking at what drivers are doing wrong. The City has a large number of skilled drivers who operate in challenging traffic and field conditions on a regular basis. On March 2021, we started a new tradition as part of Vision Zero: The Safest Drivers Award. We are recognizing employees who drive for the majority of their job and have the best driving record in the City. Drivers from all departments were considered, and the top 50 were selected with department input. We will continue this tradition and celebrate all drivers who display the best example driving behavior.