What is company driver training?
Company driver training (or ‘fleet driver training’) is where you provide information and upskilling to drivers that drive while working for your company. Companies have a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to provide information, training and supervision to their drivers. Fleet driver training should have the following main objectives:
- Improve safety
- Reduce accidents
- Reduce maintenance costs
- Improve fuel economy.
There are flow-on effects that can result from company driver training. These include an improvement in the health and wellbeing of the drivers, better scheduling processes and an improvement in profitability due to less vehicle downtime.
Objectives when training commercial drivers
- Refreshing and enhancing knowledge of the road rules and laws
- Improving driving skills – hazard awareness, appropriate speeds, etc
- Improving driver health
- Improving route planning and scheduling skills
- Improving awareness of hazards
- Reducing environmental impacts – gentle and economical driving
- Reducing maintenance and downtime on vehicles, and maintaining their value.
How do you train commercial drivers?
Driver education using the theory quizzes on DT – there are training modules for the Road Code, low-speed manoeuvring, advanced driving, heavy vehicle driving (including logbooks), driver health and safety, forklift drivers and more – view driving courses. This ensures that drivers know speed limits, following distances, rules for rest periods, parking rules and more. Drivers tend to forget many rules they learn for the learner licence test within just a few months of passing. This type of training is good general maintenance for drivers as it keeps safety at the forefront of their mind.
Defensive driving courses – many providers can supply defensive driving training courses specifically tailored to your business. These will teach hazard awareness and vehicle control skills.
Telematics – data logging for your vehicles can identify where drivers are driving unsafely, using too much fuel, choosing routes that are inappropriate, and more. It’s usually paid per vehicle per month.
Driving assessment – use a system to evaluate a driver’s current driving performance. This is best done by an experienced assessor who can then recommend a course of action.
Advanced driver training – organisations such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists provide training at a similar level to the police. This doesn’t mean high-speed driving, though. IAM training uses a system of vehicle control which has been developed over decades and is used by many police forces around the world, including New Zealand and the UK (where it originated). The focus isn’t just on driving safely, but also smoothly and economically.
Specialist training – drivers that need to be able to carry dangerous goods, drive a tracked vehicle or operate a truck loader crane, for example, will need special endorsements on their licence. Other businesses may have different hazards when driving, for example if off-road driving is a large feature of the company’s operation (e.g. in forestry or farming). Providers exist to help here.