Risk & Safety

The Importance of Effective Driver Safety Training

Will Blake
Reading time 5 Mins
Published on Oct 21

In 2018, there were over 450,000 police-reported large truck accidents, with an average cost of $148,000 each.  Minimizing the number of incidents that occur should be a top priority for any business employing professional drivers. According to OSHA’s Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes, implementing effective driver safety programs “can greatly reduce the risks faced by your employees and their families while protecting your company’s bottom line”

Unfortunately, not all programs are created equal. While driver training can foster a culture of increased safety awareness and help reduce workers’ compensation premiums, ineffective programs can have the opposite effect, leading to a hazardous disinterest in proper road safety.

Here’s how effective driver safety training can help transform your business and why it matters.

What is “Effective” Driver Safety Training?

Effective” driver safety training programs are those that provide useful highway safety strategies, reduce premiums, cultivate improved workplace safety cultures, and, most importantly, reduce the number of driver accidents.

To be considered effective, a program should contain all of the following elements:

  1. Specialized Training
    One of the most common pitfalls of typical training programs is that they generalize and oversimplify the information they communicate. While there are challenges that every driver faces, there are hazards unique to each industry.  For example, a driver hauling chemicals will encounter different safety issues than a driver carrying produce. Effective driver safety training programs find these industry-specific safety concerns and address them with real-life examples and useful strategies. In order to craft a thorough program, your safety team should evaluate past workers’ comp claims, analyze employee injury reports, and investigate any common sticking points in the day-to-day duties of drivers. They should also research the industry as a whole using OSHA, DOT and FMCSA data, looking for common accidents, their causes, and prevention measures.
  1. Qualified and Capable Trainers
    Once you’ve zeroed in on the information your drivers need to know, it’s important to choose the right person to deliver it. An effective trainer should, first and foremost, have an expert knowledge of the topic(s) being covered and have a desire to share that knowledge with others. They should also have a positive, helpful, and professional attitude at all times and strive to engage with employees in a well-organized, creative, and interesting way. These qualities can mean the difference between your drivers actually learning and mentally checking out of another boring safety class. Trainers should use real-life stories that capture and engage your employees. 90% of people believe that a strong narrative is a crucial component of a presentation, and 55% of people say that it’s the story, not the content, that holds their attention during teachable events and presentations. Having the right blend of expert knowledge and the skills to relate that knowledge in a fun and meaningful way is what sets an excellent trainer apart from all the others.
  1. Engaging and Relevant Material
    Storytelling is a critical component of delivering effective, relatable safety training to drivers that they will remember. Materials should be tailored to cover not only general motor safety topics, but also the industry-specific challenges faced by the audience, and should be delivered in an easy-to-understand and personal manner. Companies should leverage training experts to learn what types of materials and educational approaches are most effective across their industry, then use that information to create a program that will work for their employees.

The Benefits of Effective Driver Training

There are numerous benefits of driver safety training, including helping to reshape your safety culture, reducing workplace stress, and creating additional profit streams through smart safety management. Effective driver safety training also provides the following benefits:

  1. Reduced workers’ compensation premiums
  2. Reduced insurance premiums
  3. Fewer employee accidents

While other companies wait for government programs and policy reform to spark improvements in their workplace safety, businesses who take the initiative and implement their own safety programs can immediately tap into these significant benefits.

In short, driver safety training saves you money and reduces the chances of employee injury.

Common Driver Safety Training Myths

Safety training doesn’t work because drivers will not listen.

When employees aren’t responding to safety education, it’s typically the result of inadequate training — not uncaring employees. Poor training procedures, ineffective training styles, and unrelatable material can all quickly cause people to lose interest. Believe it or not, 77% of employees crave more training opportunities. Safety training works, but it needs to be executed effectively.

It is easier to replace drivers than it is to train them.

It is easier, cheaper, and more effective to train drivers than it is to replace them. It takes the average employee 1 – 2 years to become fully productive in a workplace environment. Training truckers on safety and implementing policy takes weeks. That’s a pretty big difference!

Safety policies and training will turn away top talent.

A strong safety program will only turn away drivers who aren’t interested in safety. These are the employees who will significantly impact your workers’ compensation rates and potentially destroy your corporate culture. Safety may reduce some peoples’ willingness to work at your company, but they’re people you’re probably better off without.

Are You Ready to Win With Effective Driver Safety Training?

At Sheakley, our training professionals can help you implement cutting-edge training policies and classes at your workplace. Our teachers are effective, our materials are personalized, and our ability to transform your safety program is unmatched. Are you ready to cultivate safety in your driver operations? Contact us today!

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