The NSC Fleet Essentials training program begins with a module that focuses on safe backing, vehicle dynamics, and more.  -  Photo: Automotive Fleet

The NSC Fleet Essentials training program begins with a module that focuses on safe backing, vehicle dynamics, and more.

Photo: Automotive Fleet

The National Safety Council (NSC) recently announced it is launching the Fleet Essentials training program, a series of online courses employers can use to educate their drivers.

Driving is the leading cause of work-related deaths every year, according to the NSC, and Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice, said the organization is working to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing its efforts on the workplace and roadway.

“Fleet safety is the crossover between workplace and roadway, and we are thrilled to launch this training program to help employers educate all employees whose jobs require them to be behind the wheel to best ensure everyone makes it home safely every time,” Chung said.

The goal of NSC's program is to decrease that number of people who died as a result of occupational transportation incidents.  -  Photo: NSC

The goal of NSC's program is to decrease that number of people who died as a result of occupational transportation incidents.

Photo: NSC

Goals of the NSC Fleet Essentials Training Program

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2,000 people died as a result of occupational transportation incidents in 2022, making up 37.7% of the total occupational fatalities that year.

Chung shared that the goal of the program from the NSC’s perspective is to decrease that number, ultimately to zero, and save lives.

Drivers who do not have their Commercial Driver’s License but are required to drive any vehicle for work may not be considered fleet or professional drivers by their employers and could therefore lack formal training, according to the NSC. That’s as many as 15.5 million drivers in the U.S. who may not be properly trained to operate a vehicle on the job. 

Delivery truck drivers and sales employees have the highest rates of injuries and fatalities among all occupations, both of whom are non-CDL drivers.

The “alarming gap in training” is the biggest challenge in the industry, according to Chung.

“A fleet driver is any employee who drives while on the job, such as truck and delivery drivers but also salespeople, tradespeople, the news media, all of which drive to a destination to perform their job function. This makes getting all of these people trained on things such as vehicle dynamics, driving professionally, and distraction awareness unique to driving for work quite literally essential to their safety,” he said. 

The NSC Fleet Essentials training program includes courses for passenger vehicles, delivery vans, and medium-duty trucks. The training program also addresses topics such as vehicle dynamics, driving professionally, and distraction awareness unique to driving for work. 

Training Program Courses

  • Driving Professionally: A 20-minute online course that helps fleet drivers understand key characteristics of driving professionally and recognize the importance of organization representation and liability while driving. The course explores the difference between driving for personal benefit versus driving in the course of your work. 
  • Vehicle Dynamics: A 45-minute online course that helps drivers understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations and how the physical forces of inertia, gravity, and velocity affect it. Participants also learn why it is important to avoid risky maneuvers and how to avoid them.
  • Distracted Fleet Driver: A 20-minute online course that reminds fleet drivers that they cannot drive safely unless they’re attentive, alert, and engaged. Participants learn why it’s important to remain distraction-free and how to minimize distractions while driving. This course reviews the science of distracted driving, reveals myths about multitasking, and covers the dangerous effects of distracted driving for the fleet driver.

The NSC plans to roll out more modules in the coming months and years to best address the challenges employers face in keeping employees safe on every job site, including the roadways.

About the author
Louis Prejean

Louis Prejean

Assistant Editor

Assistant editor Louis Prejean works on Metro Magazine and Automotive Fleet. The Louisiana native is now covering the fleet industry after years of radio and reporting experience.

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