Fleet Driver Training Guide for US Businesses

Driver Training

Your business’s fleet is crucial to your operations, so it’s important that it runs safely and smoothly. For this to happen, you’ll need to ensure your drivers have the training they need to perform at their best.

A great way to do this is to launch your own fleet driver training program. Fleet driver training can reduce the risk of accidents and minimize your fleet management costs. In this guide, we’ll explain how to build an effective fleet driver training program in six steps.

How to Develop a Fleet Driver Training Program

Creating your own training program for your fleet drivers can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be too expensive or complex. All you need to do is follow the six steps below.

Step 1: Identify Your Training Priorities

First of all, decide what you want to achieve with training. Potential goals might include:

  • Reducing accident rates
  • Training drivers on new technology to increase their efficiency
  • Improving drivers’ customer service for final mile deliveries
  • Standardizing procedures like maintenance for all vehicles and drivers in your fleet

Your training program can have multiple goals, but it’s important to write them down early on in the process. That way, you can build a curriculum that specifically targets these goals and helps you achieve them.

You should also gather as much data as possible to help you understand where your fleet is in relation to these goals before launching your training program. For example, if your training goal is to reduce accident rates, you should collect data about how many accidents your fleet has been involved in and the types and causes of these accidents.

This data will help you refine your training curriculum to address existing problems. It will also serve as a baseline for the future so you can measure whether your training program is effective—that is, whether your fleet suffers fewer accidents after you implement driver training.

Step 2: Build Buy-in Across Your Organization

For your fleet driver training program to work, you’ll need buy-in at all levels of your business. That means drivers, supervisors, and executives all need to be invested in the success of your training program.

One of the best ways to build buy-in from drivers is to ask them directly what kind of training they want. Drivers can offer suggestions for training topics that you mightn’t have thought of. You can also ask drivers for feedback on potential rewards systems, which can build enthusiasm for a new training program.

When presenting your program to upper-level managers and executives, make sure you can clearly explain the benefits of becoming fleet safety certified. It may help to do a cost-benefit analysis that examines the cost to your business of accidents or improper vehicle maintenance to justify the cost of your training program.

Step 3: Create a Training Curriculum

Next, it’s time to develop a curriculum for your training program. The topics you cover should directly address the priorities you identified earlier.

Some ideas for training topics include:

  • Defensive driving
  • Distraction awareness
  • How to use in-vehicle safety technology
  • Procedures for routine vehicle inspections and maintenance
  • Procedures for reporting accidents or breakdowns
  • How to use route planning software

Step 4: Decide on a Training Format

The format you use to train fleet drivers can have a big impact on the effectiveness and cost of your program. We’ll take a closer look at some of the most common training formats.

Online Courses

Online courses offer a cost-effective way to implement your fleet driver training program. There are numerous platforms that offer readymade safety courses that cover the essentials of fleet compliance.

There are also learning management systems that let you build your own online training courses. You can build a custom training program using a series of videos, slideshows, and checklists, plus add quizzes to ensure drivers are retaining the information they need to know.

A major advantage of online courses is that drivers can take the training whenever they have time and work at their own pace. If you use a learning management system, you can also add topics to your training program over time with relative ease.

Classroom Sessions

Many drivers find that in-person training sessions in a classroom are more engaging than online courses. They can be more interactive and offer drivers an opportunity to ask questions. Classroom sessions can also be relatively inexpensive.

The biggest problem with holding in-person training is that you need to get all of your company’s fleet drivers in the same place at the same time. This can be very challenging. It’s possible to conduct multiple training sessions to accommodate different schedules, but this increases the cost of your training program.

On-road Training

On-road training is a highly effective method for teaching skills like defensive driving. It involves placing trainers in vehicles as passengers to critique a driver’s habits and offer advice.

The downside to on-road training is that it’s relatively expensive. It’s typically one-on-one, so you have to pay for a trainer’s time to work with each driver in your business.

Step 5: Create a Rewards System

One of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of your driver training program is to create a rewards system. Rewards can create a positive association with training as well as encourage drivers to follow the lessons they learned on a day-to-day basis.

Your rewards program could take the form of a cash bonus or gift cards for drivers who complete optional training. It could also include a friendly competition in which drivers with the best safety records each year receive a bonus.

It’s also important to publicly praise drivers who go above and beyond. This makes top employees feel valued and encourages other drivers to follow their example.

Step 6: Review and Improve Your Training Program

Your training program should evolve with the needs of your business and continuously improve over time.

After every training session, ask drivers for feedback on what could be improved or what other training topics they would like to cover. You can also expand your training program with optional sessions or annual training requirements.

You should review fleet data to ensure that your training program is helping you achieve your original goals. If it’s not, consider modifying your curriculum or increasing the frequency of driver training sessions.

Benefits of a Fleet Driver Training Program

Launching a fleet driver training program can help your business succeed in both big and small ways. Here are some of the key benefits of driver training:

  • Reduced accident rates
  • Reduced fleet maintenance costs
  • Better driver behavior on the road
  • Improved public image of your company
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Enhanced customer service
  • Increased employee retention
Next Steps

Driver training can increase the safety and efficiency of your organization’s fleet as well as reduce fleet management costs.

It’s straightforward to create your own fleet driver training program by identifying your training goals, building buy-in, creating a curriculum, and choosing a training format. Once you establish your program, add a rewards system to create positive momentum around it. Then keep measuring your fleet’s performance to ensure your training program is helping you achieve your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is fleet training?
Fleet driver training involves educating your business’s vehicle drivers on safe driving practices and topics like vehicle maintenance. Training can reduce your fleet’s accident rate as well as cut your fleet maintenance costs.
Why is a fleet safety program important?
A fleet safety program is important because it can reduce the rate of accidents within your fleet. Accidents not only present major safety concerns but also add to fleet management costs, harm your business’s public image, and reduce productivity. So, a fleet safety program can save your business money and improve its reputation.
What does a fleet trainer do?
A fleet trainer is an instructor who works with people who drive for work. If your company has a large fleet and many drivers, it may be helpful to have a fleet trainer on staff. However, you can also hire an external fleet trainer to offer instruction on specific topics to your fleet drivers.
Written by:
Michael is a prolific business and B2B tech writer whose articles have been published on many well-known sites, including TechRadar Pro, Business Insider and Tom's Guide. Over the past six years, he has kept readers up-to-date with the latest business technology, corporate finance matters and emerging business trends. A successful small business owner and entrepreneur, Michael has his finger firmly on the pulse of B2B tech, finance and business.