In all the years I have been involved in designing, delivering and implementing Commercial Vehicle Safety Programs and interacted with thousands of Safety Directors I have come to two conclusions:
1. Safety Directors truly care about their drivers safety always referring to them as my people, my team, etc.
2. They exercise stringent hiring criteria and never put a driver behind the wheel that doesn’t meet that criteria or they feel would be an at risk driver.
On the subject of Driver Training I have also come to two conclusions:
1. The training has to be engaging. The more the training captures a driver’s attention the better the retention of the information.
2. The training needs to test driver skills and provide information in real world situations to heighten a driver’s awareness.
Most online driver training programs involve watching a video or reading some script and followed by a multiple choice question quiz. They can be started and stopped and some even have an auto correct mechanism informing the driver their answer is incorrect and allowing them to continue to select an answer until they choose the correct one. The questions mainly concern driver knowledge on things such as following distances, observing speed limits, use of mirrors, etc., things safe to assume a driver knows.
But crashes are a product of driver behavior. It’s not what they know, but rather what they do. Beyond non-preventable and mechanical failure, there are two reasons a driver is involved in a crash. One is negligence which is a willful act to disregard safety and traffic laws, and complacency, in which drivers driving on auto focus, driving with tunnel vision or inexperienced drivers who do not know what to expect or look for to avoid a crash.
The Hazard Perception Evaluation puts the driver behind the wheel and in timed sequences, the driver has to identify the potential hazard in front of the vehicle, to the rear and beside it. The sequences are timed because that is what happens in actual driving. In the split second or seconds a driver has to identify and respond to a potential hazard they are not granted an opportunity to stop and re-start. The HPE trains the driver, rather than driving defensively reacting to a possible incident, heightening awareness giving the driver more time to avoid that incident thereby greatly reducing the chances of a crash. Once the HPE is completed, one version will assign from 0-18 individual countermeasure modules based on the deficiencies detected and another version will provide you with a DNA footprint of your driver and fleet identifying the deficiencies and providing you with specific issues to address.
And, of course, beyond the safety of your team, there is the issue of litigation. The terms negligent entrustment and vicarious liability have become a part of accident attorneys vocabulary and arsenal in today’s litigious society. These lawsuits can not only be very expensive but can cause economic hardship that can be difficult and sometimes impossible to recover from.
Please contact me if you would like to “test drive” Brightfleet’s Hazard Perception Evaluation and I will provide you a free log in. I will also be glad to discuss our other programs and services to help in your safety & compliance efforts.