Fleet News

Commitment and clarity are the key to successful driver training

Realising your drivers and organisation would benefit from driver training is only the first step in managing work-related road safety.

To minimise the risks drivers face on a day-to-day basis, it’s essential the programme you choose to tackle the problem is correctly implemented.

That means making sure your drivers are singing from the same hymn sheet as their buy-in is crucial to ensuring the success of any new policy.

Chris Charlton, road risk manager at CE Electric, says: “Do not suggest that everybody is an unsafe or dangerous driver.

Risk is based not only on how drivers approach and deal with hazards on the road but also other environmental factors, such as what type of roads they drive on, when and how far they drive.

“Many have driven for years without incident and identifying such an individual as being high risk can be taken as a personal attack on their driving ability.”

It’s therefore important that anybody driving for work undertakes a robust risk assessment prior to deciding whether online or on-the-road training may be required.

Fleet News award winner Louise Claydon offers her drivers an online risk assessment to determine their risk rating.

Those who are low risk have no further training for 12 months, medium risk complete an e-learner programme and high risk undertake a half-day of on-the-road training.

“The pros of having a risk assessment are that you can define who needs additional training from those that are relatively low risk,” explains Claydon, facilities officer and car fleet manager at CGGVeritas.

Charlton, former head of strategic road policing for North Yorkshire Police, adds that it is important to keep people informed of what you are doing and why.

“Ensure senior management support the programme and participate timely and fully,” he says.

“Plus, ensure the unions are kept informed, kept engaged and supportive of the process.”

However, there are still potential pitfalls for any fleet manager implementing a driver training programme.

For example, cynics who have driven for many years without incident and who do not believe they need any form of development are not unusual.

“This requires encouragement initially, but may result in a no-option requirement to participate,” says Charlton.

“Having decided to use an online training and assessment tool, we also had to decide how best to deliver this option to a large population of industrial drivers, many of whom have little or no routine access to computers at work and some that might actually feel intimidated by a computer.

“We decided to deliver via a presentation during scheduled safety stand-down briefings with training and assessment completed in hard-copy format and uploaded retrospectively.”


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