There is no panacea for reducing motor vehicle accidents, no easy fix in other words. However, there are some cutting-edge Health and Safety strategies you can employ that may reduce fleet incidents. For example, good hiring practices and motor vehicle review programs are essential ,along with new technology like in-cab monitoring technology. Ensure your training programs are still meaningful, that time pressures and the use of canned programs haven’t reduced retention by your drivers. Use the latest adult education training techniques to modify your programs and enhance retention.

Almost every carrier road tests new hire s to determine if driver is a “good” one. But what about long-term employees? One way to ensure current employees remain safety-conscious is to use a point system for your motor vehicle review program (MVR) that objectively draws a line between good and bad drivers. Enforce this system so those below the magic number can drive and those above cannot without some intensive training designed to improve their poor driving skills. Separate your drivers into excellent, average and poor categories, and use customized training strategies for each category. (FYI: Sometimes poor drivers have such poor driving habits that they can never be trained and must be let go. )

To begin your MVR program ,always communicate policy changes to management, supervisors, workplace teams like the Health and Safety committee members and employees. If you are unionized, this includes union shop stewards and/or representatives where applicable. Try to reduce the fear of such a program by “grandfathering” in existing drivers by giving them a time period of three to four years to achieve a clean MVR record. New drivers, on the other hand, should be subject to the criteria as of the implementation date. If possible, use a third party, such as an independent consultant, to administer the MVR program and be sure the consultant understands your expectations and program so they are competent administers. Develop an appeal process with the burden of proof on the employees to prove their motor vehicle records are wrong. Decide each case based on its own merit and institute probationary periods based on the circumstances of the individual situation. Be fair and unbiased so the final decisions of your appeal board are binding and final.

How do you ensure your driver training works? Often, programs are canned, with some customization based on your circumstances. These are often ineffective at best. Instead, use new adult educational techniques based on studies of the brain and how it learns. For example:

  • Break information into manageable chunks.
  • Hold frequent reviews, but vary format to maintain interest and retention.
  • Tie the learning into something memorable, such as a story, a concrete example, humour and emotion. This makes learning “sticky” and enhances retention.
  • Use the latest technology like in-cab monitoring technology to show students actual company accidents and/or near misses and have them practice what the driver could have done to prevent/avoid the accident. These can be simulated and/or obtain the drivers permission for use to prevent embarrassment and meet privacy /confidentiality legal requirements. They can also judge whether the accident is preventable and non-preventable . customize this to each driver. With in -cab monitoring technology you can identify risky, aggressive, and/or illegal behaviors as well as good driving practices. It is hard for drivers to argue when they are presenting this behavior. They will certainly retain and use the learning strategies! This customized training must take the form of individual coaching sessions, in order to preserve privacy and avoid embarrassment.

BP Petroleum in the USA used these techniques and reduced driver error, property claim incidents, equipment damage and incidents by 63 percent.

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