Companies with large fleets benefit from creating a driver safety policy that requires drivers in their fleet get training that will make them better - and safer - at their job. This applies not only to new hires, but also at-risk drivers and veterans who want to brush up on their driving skills.
Many companies start by getting behind-the-wheel training for new hires, but often expand the training once they see the results. For example, a Fortune 500 company recently used Driving Dynamics training and saw a 41 percent crash rate reduction after a three-year cycle of training. The company has now made training part of its driver safety policy.
A study from OSHA found a 39 percent lower crash rate among drivers who received behind-the-wheel training than among untrained drivers. OSHA recommends that companies with large fleets create a driver safety program to:
- Save lives and reduce the risk of injuries
- Protect an organization’s human and financial resources
- Guard against potential company and personal liabilities associated with crashes involving employees driving on company business
Types of Training Available
Companies now have more options in how they approach driver training and creation of a driver safety policy. They can choose to get training in one of three ways.
- In-person behind-the-wheel training
- Instructor-led virtual training
- Online learning in which drivers watch videos on different aspects of driving
Drivers learn to have more perceptual awareness of their surroundings, including perceiving hazardous situations before they worsen.
Having a variety of options allows fleet managers to rotate training among drivers and avoid keeping them off the road for too long. It also allows them to customize training depending on the needs of the driver.
Who Needs Driver Training?
Driver safety training benefits every driver in a fleet, no matter how long they have driven or their previous driving record. For even the most practiced veterans, taking a training course can refresh their skills and also teach them the latest best practices for avoiding situations that lead to crashes.
New hires benefit from learning from the start the best way to drive for the fleet. Many may not have given much thought to driving when they took a job. For example, a utility company worker or pharmaceutical salesperson will focus primarily on their job, not driving a vehicle. Taking a driving course provides them needed guidance on staying safe as they drive many miles for their job.
Training also benefits those who have experienced issues with their driving behavior (these are known as at-risk drivers). Once the main issues are identified, customized training can help these drivers focus on the areas where they need improvement.
Why Have Training as Part of a Driver Safety Policy?
Driver training returns about $4 in savings for every $1 spent (and that’s just in liability costs). That’s one of the main reasons for creating a driver safety policy that requires all drivers to take training courses.
Better drivers also save companies money in other ways. A well-driven vehicle often needs less maintenance work than one that has performed through fast accelerations, sudden stops, taking corners too fast, etc. Having mandatory training as part of a driver safety policy can lead to reduced maintenance costs.
Better drivers also use less fuel, another area where companies can realize a benefit through training.
Creating a driver safety policy can save lives, reduce injuries and lower costs and liabilities. It’s a smart step for large fleets that stand to gain the most with a fleet of well-trained drivers.