A trucking company that doesn’t have safe drivers won’t be in business for long. Worse yet, unsafe driving can have catastrophic consequences for commercial drivers and the driving public. Data shows that truckers are some of the safest drivers out there. While a lot of that has to do with commercial drivers’ training and hours spent on the road, we shouldn’t discount the impact of carriers who proactively address safety issues and continually reinforce the importance of safe driving.
Here are four tips for talking to your drivers about safety.
Emphasize Safety from the Start
Starting on Day 1, your drivers should have a solid understanding of your organization’s safety policies and procedures, including measures that may be taken in the event of unsafe driving. By clearly communicating your safety expectations – and reinforcing them through regular safety meetings – you are laying a foundation upon which to build subsequent safety and coaching conversations. Simply put, when a safety issue does arise, a driver should never be able to say something along the lines of, “Well, no one ever told me that.”
Bring Driver Safety Data into the Conversation
Data from telematics devices and in-cab cameras offer a just-the-facts view of a driver’s safety performance. When coaching a driver on safety issues, be sure to bring this data into the conversation. EROAD’s Driver Insight report, for example, provides an easy-to-digest, visual account of things like speeding and harsh braking, helping you coach specifically to problem areas for that specific driver. A tool like EROAD Leaderboard ranks your drivers, benchmarks their performance against other drivers and highlights key risk areas. It’s a great way to incentivize and promote healthy competition amongst your drivers to be the safest in your fleet.
Approach Conversations Constructively
Your goal in discussing safety issues with a driver is to foster improvement. To do that, a constructive approach is needed: Here’s the problem. Here’s the data evidence. And here’s what you need to do to solve the problem. A confrontational or belittling approach will just put the driver into a defensive mode, and your safety message will fall flat. Give the driver a chance to tell their side of the story and work together to fix the issue.
Set Clear Expectations for Improvement
While your safety conversations should be constructive, they also need to be impactful. That means letting a driver know what the consequences are if a safety problem persists. And if the problem does persist, the driver should be held accountable in a way consistent with your organization’s policies and procedures. Without consequences for not improving, your coaching will be ineffective. On the other side, be sure to acknowledge improvement when it does happen. This will let the driver know that you’re paying attention and appreciate their efforts to become safer drivers.
Have an outstanding driver on your team? Nominate them for EROAD’s Safety Star Driver of the Year award. Nominations are due by Oct. 29. Click here for the details.
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Luke is a writer, editor and journalist with more than 15 years of experience. His constant goal is to provide valuable content that helps people understand complex concepts, solve problems and make informed decisions.