Without consistent on-going driver training your employer becomes a prime target for negligent entrustment lawsuits.
Consider your fleet safety program as it relates to driver safety training. Has it changed in recent years to be reactionary and narrowly focused on a small group of drivers? Check with your corporate training department and they will likely share that effective training must be proactive, not reactive, and supplemented with a steady flow of relevant training to support your training goals. This should not be a revelation to anyone, however, with the significant influx of driver risk data (MVRs, crash reports, telematics, etc.), driver training, as specified in fleet safety programs, is more frequently being implemented solely in the case of stand-alone interventions.
Get a speeding ticket—send an online reminder on speed control. Hard braking—assign a lesson on maintaining safe following distances. Move into a “high risk” category and schedule an on-road safety coaching session. Makes sense, right? It does. However, statistically this approach only addresses a small part of a fleet’s safety exposure thereby aiding only a limited portion of your drivers and neglecting the balance of the fleet.
For instance, a well-founded risk tool for fleet operators is the MVR (driver traffic violation record). After completing a run of MVRs, most fleets will find that about 15 to 20 percent of their drivers have at-risk violations attached to their records. Historically, these same individuals will be responsible for a significantly higher number of the crashes in the subsequent year (about 25 to 40 percent) but the remaining driver population with clear records will account for the balance of the crash incidents. Yet, with recent trends in the way fleet safety programs are administered, driver training is often narrowly focused to intervene only when drivers have entered an “at-risk” status.
While stand-alone interventions are a sound practice, whether the triggering data is MVRs or some other source of driver risk data, this is a cautionary alert that if you expect holistic results, the entire driver population needs to be part of the process. If the goal is to always operate a safe fleet, to accomplish this, your fleet safety program must address the training needs of all your drivers. Beyond the opportunity to proactively keep your entire driver population safe and lower your fleet crash rate, there are also financially crippling liabilities issues associated with a lack of training for all drivers. For example, without consistent on-going driver training your employer becomes a prime target for negligent entrustment lawsuits.
Take an objective look at your current program before the new year. If it is heavily or solely based on a data-triggered training intervention approach, you are missing significant opportunities to further lower your overall crash rate. In 2020, make it your goal to take a proactive approach to driver training and keep everyone safe in your fleet operation. It pays great dividends.