The driver was standing in front of his safety director, eyes averted, and mumbling, "Yeah,it was my fault, but he was in my blind spot and I just didn't see him."
Sound familiar? This scenario is repeated hundreds of times a week as drivers attempt to explain why they were involved in a lane change or right turn squeeze accident. Company safety personnel scratch their heads and try to understand how experienced drivers with good accident records become involved in these easily preventable collisions.
Interestingly, the answer lies in the years of safe driving that the driver has had in the past, Driving is a repetitive job. The driver goes straight, turns right, turns left, backs up, changes lanes, and stops. The circumstances may change, but the procedure remains essentially the same. As a consequence, as long as nothing happens, safety habits begin to deteriorate and the person who was once one of the safest drivers in the fleet gradually becomes one of the highest risk drivers that you have. For this reason, the average driver has an accident every five years.
The solution to this problem is to provide regular safety meetings that concentrate on the various aspects of defensive driving. Such meetings are not necessarily designed to teach drivers new ideas of concepts. Rather, they are focused on reinforcing the safe driving habits that have deteriorated over the years. By doing so in the classroom, hopefully, we alert the driver to his diminished safety habits and minimize or eliminate that 5th year collision that deteriorated safety practices cause.
When providing safety classes for the drivers, establish a quarterly schedule for training and require that drivers attend at least two meetings per year. All such training should be documented with such documentation identifying the date the training was provided, the subject of the training, and evidence of driver attendance.
In addition to reinforcing safe driving practices and habits, such meetings have the additional advantage of promoting a company culture that reinforces their commitment to safety. Drivers typically mirror the company culture and are generally more safety conscious if the company promotes such an attitude.
As always, a good safety program begins with proper hiring. However, after hiring the right drivers, it is incumbent on the company to provide the driver with the tools to stay safe. Proper safety training benefits both the company and the driver. For information on developing proper safety training, please check our website or contact us directly.