The Samsara Guide to Fleet Safety

Build an Effective Fleet
Safety Program

Why create a fleet safety program?

A fleet safety program is a coordinated, strategic initiative that combines video-based safety technology with consistent coaching to improve driver behaviour, reduce accidents, prevent false claims, and lower costs. Keep reading to learn how to build an effective fleet safety program from start to finish.

3 reasons to invest in safety


An HGV is 6X more likely to have a fatal accident


of fleet managers say that safety is their top concern


fewer safety incidents at companies with strong safety cultures

Dohrn - Drone Shot 1 Copy 2
In this chapter
  • 01.Before You Begin:Invest in a video-based safety solution
  • 02.Pre-Launch Planning:Define your goals and create an implementation plan
  • 03.Implementation and Rollout:Communicate your new safety policy and train your team
  • 04.Day-to-Day Workflows:Improve driver behaviour with data-driven coaching
  • 05.Managing Impact:Create a positive safety culture with driver performance rewards

Part 1—Before You Begin

Invest in a video-based safety solution

Before you begin, invest in technology that provides the visibility and data needed to enable a robust fleet safety program. A recent study found that video-based safety solutions—which include dash cams as well as telematics for real-time GPS tracking—reduce safety-related events by more than 50% on average.

If you haven't invested in a video-based safety solution yet, check out Samsara’s complete video-based driver safety platform, which includes AI dash cams, real-time GPS tracking, and online driver coaching tools. It’s trusted by thousands of fleets, and in a recent survey, 90% of Samsara customers said that our technology helped improve safety within their fleet.

How to select the best dash cams

Read more about the benefits of dash cams and how to select the best technology for your fleet.

Learn more

Part 2—Pre-Launch Planning

Define your goals and create an implementation plan

After you’ve invested in a video-based safety solution, rolling out a successful fleet safety program requires thoughtful change management. The key to success is planning ahead: identifying problem areas, writing down your goals, and creating a clear timeline that your team can follow.

Identify problem areas

Most fleets create a safety program because they have a specific problem or pain point they’re eager to address, like a rise in at-fault accidents or noticeable increase in risky driving behaviour. If you’re not sure where to start, review all of the safety-related incidents your fleet has experienced in the last six months—including accidents, claim payouts, and behavioural issues like distracted driving or speeding—to see if you can identify any patterns. If you have a telematics system like Samsara installed that can detect safety-related events, this technology should be able to help you identify recurring driver safety issues.

Write down 2-3 specific goals

Although writing down your goals may seem like an unnecessary formality, it’s widely accepted as a best practice for change management. In fact, an often-cited study found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. Your goals should address the problem areas you identified above. For example, if your insurance premiums have increased, you may want to create a goal of reducing your at-fault accident rate. Whether you aim for a 5% improvement or 50% improvement will depend upon the severity of the problem and the difficulty of changing that specific behaviour. Aim for goals that seem achievable but ambitious, and know that you can always adjust your goals in the future.

Common goals for fleet safety programs

DECREASE your at-fault accident rate

MINIMISE costs associated with auto claims, property damage, and insurance premiums

EXONERATE innocent drivers from false claims

IMPROVE driver retention and customer satisfaction

CREATE a safety-first culture

Create an implementation timeline

An implementation timeline can help you organise your efforts, align internal stakeholders, and ensure an efficient and successful deployment. When building your timeline, make sure to include phases (like “installation and training”) as well as key milestones (like “all safety managers and drivers fully trained”). Then, identify key milestones that you’ll need to complete before moving to the next phase, so you can proactively prioritise the milestones that matter most. If you have a large team, it may also be helpful to schedule a regular meeting to track progress and stay accountable to your plan. Below, explore our interactive timeline to get an overview of key phases.

Part 3—Implementation and Rollout

Communicate your new safety policy and train your team

The next step in building a successful fleet safety program is getting internal buy-in from your team, including executives, stakeholders, and drivers. Transparent communication is key—especially if you’re introducing dash cams for the first time. Before deploying your hardware, consider holding a company-wide meeting to introduce your new program and answer questions. Then, after deploying your hardware, take a phased approach to training your back-office team and getting buy-in from drivers.

Train your core team and supervisors first

The key to training your team efficiently and successfully is to do it in phases. At Samsara, we use a “train the trainer” approach; by empowering your core team and supervisors first, they can then train your field staff and drivers. If your safety managers are headquartered in different locations, consider bringing them together for an in-person training session to learn how to use your new technology.

If you previously completed a trial of Samsara, build your training session around the workflows you found most effective during your trial period—like assigning safety-related events to specific managers for review. The goal of training is to evangelise a consistent safety policy that your entire team can enforce.

Get driver buy-in on dash cams

Drivers are often skeptical about having a dash cam in their cab. This is completely normal, but getting their buy-in during driver training is key to the long-term success of your fleet safety program. What sets excellent fleet safety programs apart from the rest. The answer? A shift from top-down control to bottom-up engagement. They found that the most effective fleet safety programs are initially led by management, but as drivers become more proactive and invested, their engagement is what drives significant safety improvements.

We’ve helped thousands of customers successfully roll out video-based safety programs. Below, check out our top nine tips for getting driver buy-in on dash cams.

Part 4—Day-to-Day Workflows

Improve driver behaviour with consistent, data-driven coaching

Driver coaching is the backbone of any fleet safety program, but studies have shown that driver coaching is most effective when combined with data from a telematics system and video footage from dash cams. Building a consistent, data-driven driver coaching workflow into your day-to-day operations is the key to improving driver behaviour, reducing accidents, and ultimately lowering safety-related costs.

Set up alerts for targeted behaviours

Revisit your goals to determine which risky driving behaviours (like harsh braking, speeding, or distracted driving) you need to address. Then, help your back office focus on what matters most by setting up alerts, so fleet safety managers can immediately coach drivers on targeted behaviours. For example, with Samsara, you can set up real-time SMS or email alerts for a variety of safety-related events—including harsh acceleration, harsh braking, and rolling stops—as well as speed, so you can be notified when a vehicle exceeds a certain speed limit.

Give immediate feedback with in-cab voice coaching

Feedback is most effective when it’s delivered in a timely manner, especially for drivers who run long routes and may forget about harsh events by the time they are brought in for coaching. Make sure to choose a dash cam (like Samsara’s AI dash cam) that has a speaker and can play in-cab messages for things like harsh braking, speeding, and unbuckled seat belts. For maximum effectiveness, wait 1-2 weeks after installing your hardware before turning on voice coaching so drivers don’t become overwhelmed.

Establish consistent coaching workflows, especially for corrective actions

Some risky driving behaviours are more serious than others. Determine what requires a short conversation and what requires something more serious, like an in-person meeting. Maximise your impact by regularly coaching all drivers in group sessions and reserving 1:1 coaching sessions for drivers who dip below a predetermined safety score threshold. Then, document your best practices and give coaches standardised scripts for responding to different types of harsh events, so that coaching isn’t biased.

Importance of Coaching


of commercial vehicle accidents are caused by driver error


fewer accidents occur when driver coaching and dash cams are used together

See how Samsara’s coaching tools improve driver safety

Identify and manage coachable driving moments, and give drivers personalised, video-based feedback to improve future performance.
Why Rewards Work


of employees work harder when they feel recognised


of employees feel more engaged when they get rewards

Create a positive safety culture with driver performance rewards

One of the best ways to maximise the impact of your fleet safety program is to introduce driver performance rewards—bonuses, plaques, gift cards, or other incentives that are awarded to your safest drivers. Rewards are a great way to incentivise safe driving, share the benefits of a safer fleet with your drivers, and improve driver retention. Although you can introduce a rewards program at any time, the earlier the better; rewards are extremely helpful for getting driver buy-in and creating a positive safety culture.

Start by tracking driver safety scores

A driver safety score is a single number that aggregates data from your telematics system to summarise the overall safety of each driver. Dohrn Transfer Company uses Samsara’s driver safety scores—which are automatically calculated based on a combination of different safety behaviour metrics, like harsh braking and speeding—as the foundation of their rewards program. By tracking and gamifying driver safety scores, they have reduced safety-related events by 88%.

Read case study

Create friendly competition through gamification

Countless studies have shown that when an activity is more fun, people are more likely to do it. For example, when taking the stairs becomes a game, 66% more people choose to take the stairs rather than an escalator. This is called “gamification”—and it plays into human psychology in a way that’s extremely effective. In the Samsara Driver App, for example, you can turn on gamification to create a virtual leaderboard that ranks drivers by safety score. This makes it easy to see top performers, encourage friendly competition, and motivate drivers to improve their ranking.

Offer compelling rewards

To maximise engagement, the rewards you choose should be attractive and relevant. Make sure you customise the incentives to fit your company culture. Remember that each prevented accident represents thousands of dollars in saved costs, so allow drivers to share in some of those savings by rewarding top performers with monetary gifts, special privileges, or other prizes. Depending on your team, consider announcing the winner during team meetings, creating a safe driver “wall of honor” in the break room, or even sending a congratulations email company-wide.

gift card

Gift Card

Wall of Honor in break room

Wall of Honor in break room

Invite-only breakfast with leadership

Invite-only breakfast with leadership

Company-branded gear

Company-branded gear

Recognition in company-wide announcement

Recognition in company-wide announcement

Extra vacation days

Extra vacation days

Make fleet safety a priority with Samsara

Samsara offers a complete video-based solution for improving fleet safety and reducing costs.

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AI Dash Cams

Protect your brand and exonerate your drivers with intelligent front-facing and dual-facing dash cams that can analyse the road in real time and auto-upload event footage to the cloud.

Real-time Telematics

Get live-to-the-second visibility into the location and driving status of every vehicle with a telematics device that that can detect safety events, like harsh braking and acceleration.

Driver Coaching Platform

Standardise incident review and driver coaching—even across large fleets—with accountability and workflow tools, including customisable in-cab alerts and recommended coaching scripts.

9 out of 10 customers say Samsara helped improve safety
within their fleet