Beyond a “Check the Box” Safety Program

Driving a delivery vehicle in the Seattle area brings its own unique set of potential dangers – from slick roads to cliffside drives and sudden windstorms. And then there’s the everyday incidents that typically cause most accidents – following another vehicle too closely or backing into something. Not to mention injuries that can occur from constantly lifting and carrying packages, whether a pulled muscle or a twisted ankle.

Protecting drivers and vehicles is top priority for Justin Fogall, president and founder of Justin Inc, a FedEx ground and home delivery contractor in Redmond, Washington. In 2004, he began as a single van FedEx contractor and has grown the business to 15 employees and 14 trucks, dispatching about ten routes daily out of the North Seattle terminal.

After having been an employee for other delivery companies, Justin loves the responsibility and challenge of being an independent contractor. “What you do, you get paid for – and I like that. As hard as it’s been and as much as last-mile delivery has changed, that’s the number one reason I’ve stuck with it.”

Searching for a serious safety partner

Justin has learned that safe drivers are critical to a successful and profitable business. Last year, he began searching for a better safety partner to fully integrate into their PackageRoute delivery software.

“As we hired more drivers during our period of rapid growth, we had some concerns with the safety program we had. A lot of companies out there prioritize ease-of-use over content. They have a ‘check the box’ approach to safety. We chose to go with Fleet Response because they take safety more seriously than anyone else. And they provide great content at an affordable price,” explains Justin.

“If we’re paying for a safety compliance program, we want it to actually make our people safer. We want our drivers educated. Fleet Response training is well-documented, and drivers have to pass it – not just swipe the questions and do multiple choice answers til they get it right.”

Justin has already seen Fleet Response safety training reduce their accidents since implementing it in August 2020. “The Fleet Response training works because it is relevant to the drivers. Their content is literally written from the perspective of a FedEx driver. So that’s been great.”

He likes having the safety program embedded in the PackageRoute app on all the driver’s mobile phones. “While our drivers use the app to reference their stop and delivery data, their safety lesson is also right there, front and center. And the wealth of Fleet Response safety material and scheduled monthly lessons strengthens our argument for being safe on the job and behind the wheel. It shows that our company makes safety the most important part of their day.”

Perks of value-added training

Justin’s company uses several of the safety programs offered by Fleet Response – including the Corporate Safety Compliance Program, L10 and L20 Graduated Compliance Programs, and Fleet Response Safety Training. “We initially bought the L20 program for our entire team as a refresher course. And we use their monthly scheduled safety program to keep us compliant with our FedEx contract and to keep fresh, pertinent safety content coming to our drivers.”

He also finds huge value in the Fleet Response document library that includes regional safety updates and resource materials like the Ride Along template of “dos and don’ts” guidelines for training drivers.

“After having done this for 17 years, I’ve found that being in the cab with new drivers and veteran drivers early on in their employment is really important. Being physically present shows us the driver’s weaknesses and strengths, and it shows them that you care. We look for incidents throughout the delivery day to prove that being safe is just as fast as not being safe. That’s the most important lesson. Having Fleet Response safety training as a layer on top of that really is powerful.”

In a tough labor market – safety training matters

Justin Inc. doesn’t have the luxury of hiring drivers with ten years of experience and a perfect driving record. Like other transportation companies, they hire almost anyone who will reliably show up. Fleet Response safety programs have proven helpful when assessing and training new drivers. “Fleet Response reporting helps us diagnose where they’re coming in, regarding their safety education and any bad habits we need to correct or even better, form new habits,” says Justin.

As a contractor, Justin operates on tight margins, with big dollars invested in hiring and training drivers while operating on a fixed yearly income and a yearly agreement with FedEx. “I constantly think about value. So even looking at the Fleet Response document library – boom. It’s an instant corporate safety program. Fill in your information and print it off. That’s a compliance feature we can meet with FedEx. So the value is there.”

Justin describes Fleet Response as a best of breed company. “Safety is what they do. They’re not just trying to check a safety box. They literally are a safety company. It’s a harder road. They’re asking more but offering more. And on top of it all, the Fleet Response team genuinely seems to care. They’re always trying to make the programs better and streamline it, but the content still has weight to it. We’re very happy with Fleet Response as our safety partner.”

To discuss your organization’s safety program, contact Jeff Fender, Vice President of Sales at Fleet Response, contact@fleetresponse.com.