5 Ways to Promote Driver Safety Training

By Sean Flavin December 03rd, 2020

Captive Resources (CRI) works with group captives that are comprised of thousands of member companies from various industries. One of the most heavily represented industries is transportation, including many trucking companies. As a group captive consultant, one of our primary responsibilities is helping members control risk. Based on that experience, we understand how paramount driver safety training is in reducing companies’ cost of risk.

But it’s not enough for transportation companies to simply offer safety training courses for their drivers. Companies need to ensure their drivers get the full value out of each training. Recently, we invited Kelly Anderson to participate in our Risk Control Webinar series to offer companies advice on the best ways to motivate employees to complete essential driver safety training programs.

Anderson is the President of the Kelly Anderson Group and the founder of Impact Solutions — a company dedicated to recruiting and training drivers for trucking companies. His extensive industry expertise and solution-based training programs have made him one of the most sought-after speakers in the transportation industry.

Here are five takeaways from Anderson’s recent presentation: I’m Training My Drivers, but it’s Not Changing Behaviors / Actions – What Do I Do Now?

5 Ways to Promote Driver Safety Training

No. 1: Hire the Right People

According to Anderson, the transportation industry is best suited for drivers who are looking for a career and have a passion for the industry.

“Trucking is not a job,” said Anderson. “It’s a lifestyle.”

To make sure your company employs committed drivers, you should look for people who are in it for the long haul (no pun intended) and are passionate about safety. The stakes are high in transportation, and your company needs employees who appreciate that responsibility.

“Don’t let someone with no investment in, or commitment to your business, put everything you have built at risk,” advised Anderson.

No. 2: Set Clear Expectations for Safety Training

In transportation, like many industries, safety starts at the top. It’s important to establish clearly defined expectations so your drivers understand what safety training programs they need to complete.

Anderson stressed how important it is for companies to enforce these expectations and explained how some of his clients will not dispatch operators until they complete certain driver safety training courses.

“If you’re having trouble getting employees to complete this required task, you are having problems in other areas as well,” said Anderson. “But, when drivers clearly understand your expectations, and you enforce those expectations, they will comply.”

No. 3:  Use Punishments and Rewards the Right Way

Anderson sees little value in using punishment to encourage driver safety training. Punishment doesn’t directly solve the problem of an untrained driver. If a driver doesn’t know how to do something, they still won’t know how to do it after being punished.

According to Anderson, bonuses can also be ineffective in motivating employees to complete driver safety training. Anderson spends a lot of time talking to professional drivers about what motivates them to follow best practices. Often, he finds the primary motivator stems from how the drivers are trained, not how they’re compensated.

“For many drivers, safety bonuses are not a motivator,” said Anderson. “Safety is just a given.”

No. 4:  Change Drivers “Why”

So, if punishments and bonuses aren’t going to work, how do you get employees to take on the extra workload? According to Anderson, it’s about why drivers complete safety training. Rather than making drivers do it, explain why the training programs should be important to them.

Based on his conversations with drivers, Anderson said one of the main reasons they drive is to provide for their families. If that’s what is important to them, use that as a motivator to complete driver safety training courses.

No. 5:  Recognize Drivers’ Accomplishments

Anderson touched on another effective way to motivate drivers that warrants its own mention here: recognition. In his experience working with transportation clients, Anderson has helped install several professional recognition programs that have produced significant results.

One such program distinguishes drivers based on their years of experience behind the wheel, as well as the number of driver safety training programs they’ve completed. The distinctions include Professional Driver Level 1, 2, 3, 4, and Master Driver.

“After implementing this for one client, all the drivers with the necessary experience completed the courses to earn their Master Driver recognition,” said Anderson.

It’s this type of experience and qualification that helps employees “recognize the difference between being a Driver and being a Professional.”

About the Webinar

This presentation was part of CRI’s Risk Control Webinar Series — weekly installments of webinars to educate the group captive members we work with on topics like workplace safety, organizational leadership, and company performance. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these webinars are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect CRI’s positions on any of the above topics.

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