A good safety program is part of a solid risk management strategy and helps reduce accidents. - Photo: mcmurryjulie/Pixabay 

A good safety program is part of a solid risk management strategy and helps reduce accidents.

Photo: mcmurryjulie/Pixabay 

Most light-duty fleets are not regulated by the Department of Transportation. Thus, there is no specific “fleet safety certification” or demarcation for being “fleet safety certified.”

Even so, you shouldn’t wash your hands of fleet safety training altogether. You stand to gain so much by implementing effective fleet training for your drivers. And, you stand to lose so much if you ignore pressing safety training issues.

Truck drivers, bus operators, and other CDL drivers are all mandated to receive special training to drive for a living. Your vocational drivers are not mandated to receive any training beyond their basic driver’s license, but they face the exact same risk.

Whether your drivers are spraying for pests, fixing downed wires, or dealing with city water conditions, the most dangerous thing they do is drive. They face the most risk for accidents, injuries, and even death when they get behind the wheel.

You don’t need to accept this as a cost of doing business. You can prevent accidents, injuries, cost of loss, and protect your drivers. It all comes down to risk management through fleet safety training.

Three Pillars to Start Your Safety Training Program

When you invest in fleet safety training, you save money in reduced cost of loss, save time otherwise spent dealing with accidents, and protect your people. But where do you begin?

There are three components that every effective fleet safety training program should have:

  1. New-hire online training.
  2. Behind-the-wheel driver training.
  3. Ongoing safety training.

New-Hire Online Training

When you hire a new driver, you likely run their MVR, check that they have a license, and give them the keys. That’s not enough to reduce their risk. If their job requires them to drive, they are a professional driver. As such, they need a leg-up on all the amateurs out there putting them at risk.

You should assign online safety training to every new hire. Ask that they complete it before they even come in for their first shift. Of course, you will need to pay them for their time, but that is much cheaper than paying for the rear-end collision they’re likely to cause.

Behind-the-Wheel Driver Training

Online driver training will teach your drivers essential knowledge about defensive driving. However, defensive driving takes more than knowledge. It takes skill.

If you want your drivers to know how to be defensive drivers, they need practice. That’s why we recommend implementing a behind-the-wheel (BTW) driver training program for new hires.

An effective BTW program will:

  • Teach drivers how to use essential defensive driving principles.
  • Confirm their use of safe driving practices.
  • Allow drivers to develop safe driving habits.

Ongoing Safety Training

Do you remember how to solve a quadratic equation? Do you remember all of the events leading up to WWI? Or, how about any of the major literary themes from The Great Gatsby?

Of course you don’t.

Just like you don’t remember much from freshman year of high school, your drivers won’t remember much from their new-hire training. That’s why you need a way to offer your drivers continuous driver safety training.

We recommend hosting monthly safety meetings to cover a loss-leading indicator in detail. Focus on maintaining a safe following distance, performing safe turns, how to navigate intersections, etc.

Studies show that when a company focuses on a loss-leading indicator each month, that accident type goes down by 20% or more for that month.

Are You 'Fleet Safety Certified'?

Any company with drivers faces tremendous risk of loss and accidents. To avoid that risk, companies must implement new-hire online safety training, behind-the-wheel driver training, as well as ongoing safety training.

With these three strategies, you’ll be “Fleet Safety Certified” as far as we’re concerned. That means you’ll have fewer accidents, save money from reduced cost of loss, save yourself time dealing with emergencies, and protect your employees.

Accidents aren’t just the cost of doing business. You can prevent them and become a world-class safety organization.

About the Author: John Kuder is a senior instructional designer at Avatar Fleet, the creators of the non-CDL safety training course, The Fleet Safety Course.

This article was authored and edited according to AF editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect that of AF.

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