Not every fleet has the budget to spend huge amounts of money on safety initiatives. In fact, more than half of all fleets in the country are considered small-size motor carriers. So, instead of worrying about where they will come up with the necessary capital to invest in an expensive safety program, they should approach safety from a two-pronged approach.
Small fleets need to focus on the hiring and onboarding process in two ways. One, they need to create a company safety culture that promotes truck driver practices that reinforce safety. Two, they need to utilize a training system that matches the company’s needs.
Consider this: Annual truck driver turnover rate at small trucking fleets hit 80% in 2017. The fact is, small fleets have a much harder time recovering from attrition and turnover. It simply costs them more since they are working twice as hard with far less resources. This is why ensuring their workers receive adequate training, remain compliant with the organization’s safety values, and – above all – don’t quit.
If your truck drivers are compliant, yet have pride in the organization, and are passionate about what they do, it won’t be hard to ensure a great safety culture without having to invest tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and coaching.
Simplify Your Structure
Small fleets need to simplify their fleet management structure with programs that focus on safety, training, and follow-up. In many cases, fleet and/or safety managers can create simple programs, in-house, that keep these factors in mind.
One idea is to set up a safety group coupled with an in-house online training system. New truck drivers get two-to-five days of hands-on training followed up by a web-based test. This way they get the opportunity to work with a fellow truck driver, ask appropriate questions, and create a relationship they may not have with a direct manager, simply due to the chain of command.
Follow up tests would be designed to ensure the truck driver has retained the necessary information to succeed within the fleet. If for some reason they were unable to pass a basic proficiency, follow-up training can be assigned. The most important thing is to ensure that every truck driver has received the training they need to effectively, but most of all, safely, operate a commercial motor vehicle.
Consider these simple, cost-effective solutions:
- Certified truck driver training programs;
- In-house created instructional technology solutions;
- Constructive feedback documented by trainers and company stakeholders, and;
- Safety scorecards used to measure safety incidents and created by an in-house safety committee.
Compliance is important because if you have operators who are safe, but are not operating in a compliant manner, it does nothing to help the safety goals of your organization.
Inexpensive Online Solutions
Online solutions exist for small fleets who are looking for inexpensive options. Small fleet managers could employ training mechanisms that track and verify truck driver compliance and safety, all in one.
Fleets with limited resources could forego creating their own in-house programs for customized solutions and online training tools and dashboards that provide metrics and guidance. Customized online tools provide data that fleet safety managers can use to identify how operators are performing.
Even better, the National Safety Council provides an online course resource that small fleets can use at minimal cost. Whichever your fleet chooses, truck drivers feel empowered to practice safe driving behavior when they know the company they work for is investing in their future, even if that investment must be minimal.
In the end, you do not need to spend a small fortune, no matter your size, to enhance the safety culture within your organization. Find online tools or build in-house, then tap into the resource you already have: experienced truck drivers who can help train and retain.