In the first quarter of 2019 alone, over 8,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that 40% of motor vehicle accidents are work-related. If you run a fleet of any size, the safety of your drivers and other drivers on the road is in your hands. Even if your fleet has a strong safety culture, regularly reexamining your training program can help prevent accidents and save lives. Below, we outline 4 training tips that can improve safety for your fleet.
1. Diversify Training
An effective training program should be comprised of multiple types of training. Classroom training is a valuable method to convey lots of information to drivers, but practical training is just as important to apply and solidify what was learned in the classroom. Classroom, online, and on-the-road sessions all contribute to a complete understanding of the duties of a driver. Utilize new technologies to your advantage when creating your training program. Online driving simulators are becoming increasingly popular, both online and in-cab. These 3D simulations can help new drivers learn to navigate dangerous situations before they ever get behind the wheel. In addition to making sure new drivers have multiple hours of training under their belt, institute a yearly training refresher for all drivers to brush up on safety.
2. Know the Limits of New Tech
Most new vehicles utilize Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). While ADAS have increased safety significantly, blind-spot monitoring, emergency braking systems, and collision warnings are meant to assist drivers, not replace the need for defensive driving. As the National Safety Council points out, “even the most advanced safety feature cannot replace a safe, focused driver in the car.” Train your drivers to not become over-reliant on safety technology, and educate them on the limits of ADAS. According to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only about 50 percent of drivers who bought a new vehicle from a car dealership recalled being offered training on how to use ADAS technology. Ensure 100 percent of your drivers are trained on how to properly use them.
3. Hire a Pro
Fleet managers have enough on their plate without trying to create a driver safety training course from scratch. Identify the needs of your drivers and find a training program that’s right for your fleet. Advanced Driver Training Services (ADTS) and the National Safety Council are two of many services that offer comprehensive and affordable training programs. Or, ask other fleet managers in your region for recommendations.
4. Incentivize Safety
While consequences for violations are a necessary aspect of a safety program, a few incentives can go a long way to improving driver safety. Incentives can range from public recognition to financial rewards to time off. When drivers see others rewarded for good behavior, they will be encouraged to practice that behavior themselves.
A good driver training program improves driver attentiveness, reduces the chance of accidents, and protects your vehicles and your business from costly risk and liability. But safety doesn’t stop at training. Learn how to create a culture of safety for your fleet here.