Reducing accidents and lowering fleet-related costs are a priority for fleet owners, and they can achieve their goals if they adopt proactive driver training strategies. The most important assets of a logistics business are their vehicles, drivers and their customer service quality. The people who are driving the company’s vehicles daily play key roles in how external parties perceive the brand, and often they can decide if the business will succeed or not.
But all fleet owners know that their drivers also pose the greatest risk potential because their decisions and actions while on the road can impact a business’ credibility.
The main cause of road traffic accidents is unsafe driving, and it can result in pricey fines, repairs, property damage, and insurance. And we should not forget to mention that it can prove life threatening to the well-being and health of the pedestrians and motorists.
The best strategy to avoid a dangerous situation on the road is to invest in driver safety training programs. The process of designing, implementing and managing an effective program can be successfully achieved if the fleet manager identifies the driver’s needs, chooses the right training approach, and puts their plan into motion effectively. But for the program to bring the desired results, it’s important for the employees to find it as a beneficial activity for their job.
Identifying the training needs of the employees
Before designing a training plan for their drivers, the managers do research work to understand what current risks are associated with their daily operations, drivers and vehicles. They rely their research on historical data referring to incidents, collision reports and telematics systems. They make training choices based on the results analytic tools provide.
It would be a mistake to think that accident statistics are the only factor to consider in the process. It’s important, but other determinants also impact the daily operations of a logistics company. Only a complete picture of their drivers’ behaviour can help them understand their training needs, and the first step is to identify their individual skills and driving patterns. For example, some companies are relying on harsh braking and speeding information to understand what causes errors, and what leads to road accidents.
Fleets have started to use driver management software programs to store their driver information and to create reports that help them identify their specific training needs. The second step is to generate risk profiles based on data like daily mileage, location, sex, license details, age and accidents. Alongside the training they provide to their employees to improve their skills and driving performance, they also equip the fleet vehicles with bespoke systems that improve the site and road safety, reduce vehicle accident damage and prevent accidents.
Determining the most effective training approach
Once they have a complete analysis of their driving needs, they focus on selecting the best training methods to help their employees improve their knowledge and skills. They help their drivers operate as safely as possible both on loading sites and on the road. There are countless training solutions fleet owners can adopt to achieve the desired results and every one of them has their specific benefits and disadvantages.
Group sessions and training workshops
The fleets that want to train their entire team of drivers at one time choose it. Workshops are effective in identifying and solving common problems, all drivers experience. The drawback is that it doesn’t allow for individual learning, so its scope can be limited.
E-learning and online solutions
It can work effectively for the companies that want to target each driver’s specific job responsibilities. The employee schedules the training session when they find it convenient, and they can complete the remedial training over a period of time. It’s best to be used when the company needs to meet certain regulatory requirements, or after an accident. The disadvantage is that it’s not as engaging as a facet-to-face session.
Driver coaching is used post-accident to help drivers understand what went wrong, and what skills they need to improve to prevent other similar events. The approach is based on telematics and accident data, and it proves effective for individual training. The downsides of the method are the long time and high cost requirements.
Putting the plan into motion
A vital part of the process is implementing the training program. The best plan is the one that has a detailed strategy for training schedules, a clear set of expectations and deadlines, and a strategy to manage training completion.
An effective training completion starts with engaging the entire company. If the senior management shows support for the employees, they will find easier to complete the training. All training sessions should start with informing the drivers why they have to undergo training, and how it will benefit them personally and the company.
Fleet owners have started to understand the significant advantages they have if they invest in driver training and vehicle equipment. Better-trained drivers are less likely to cause accidents, and better-equipped vehicles are less likely to get involved in site and road incidents.