Truck Driver Training a Critical Strategy for Driver Retention

Ensuring that fleet drivers have completed baseline driver training program is an important strategy for reducing driver incidences as well as retaining drivers long-term. A well-designed employer training program ensures that companies are clearly communicating their expectations as a baseline for future performance evaluations.

There are many resources available to companies who are developing their own initial training programs. Constructing a comprehensive skills-based program that covers pre-trip inspections to the issues drivers may face while on the road. One such resource is the “Skill Standards for Professional Solo Tractor-Trailer Drivers” issued by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) in Alexandria, VA. This detailed blueprint publication covers all standards and “touchstones” that should be covered in an employer-based tractor-trailer driver program.

Drivers who develop good driving habits and demonstrate skills will meet standards that ultimately lead to better retention and safety on the job. An initial driver training program is a wise investment for fleet employers. Standardized training will not only establish baseline expectations, but also give drivers the opportunity and framework for ongoing communication between driver and supervisor, an essential part of long-term retention.

Another equally important aspect of the recruitment is screening for past experience and driving record. Screening for previous repeat incidences and offenses can go a long way toward weeding out drivers with unsatisfactory behaviors.

The University Of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released a study in 2008 that demonstrated a direct correlation between past driving records and current “unsafe or hazardous actions that result in traffic crashes.” It also found that drivers with safe driving records continued to meet performance standards. Drivers with crashes, speeding offenses and alcohol offenses on their records before they were hired continued their high-risk behavior afterwards.

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