Post an event, our organisation has decided to review their vehicle induction process for new employees or when a new vehicle is added to the fleet. One of the aspects to possibly consider is competency.
What I am putting forward is that a full and valid driver's license should suffice to prove competency, however there are differing opinions that we should perhaps consider a third party to provide driver training and have it signed off by a person with the relevant knowledge, skills, experience and education. Note that this is not heavy plant like trucks, forklifts or LHD's. Only normal passenger vehicles.
Thoughts on full licenses vs third party vetting for competency?
New person = we have formal driver assessment before they can drive our fleet, it's non-threatening and focuses on both hazard indentification and good driving behavoiur. Someone who has a drivers licence for 10 years may have been a mediocre or bad driver for 10 years (by definition 50% of drivers are below average).
New vehicle = It depends on what the magnitude of change is:
When we recieved the first generation of 4WD utes that had ABS, traction control, stability control, etc we discovered that many got stuck because our very experienced off-road drivers hadn't adapted thier driving style to how the new 4WD systems work ( i.e putting your foot down harder and letting the electronics work for you) - so our vehicle trainer did a education and practical session with them.
We didn't do this with the next batch of utes as there was only an incremental change in technology.
Dwaine, it's great you are reviewing staff competency with this risk!!
We reviewed typical vehicle events occurring in our fleet and decided most occurred whilst backing and manoeuvring in unknown/private driveways and car parks. We have approx 40 cars that community staff drive every day, and it was our insurance who pointed out a couple repeat offenders. Considering the average age of our workers is 53 years, so experienced drivers technically, our actions had to be more than confirming current licences and no subsequent licence suspensions.
So, all our staff were put though a one-on-one lesson with a driving instructor. Observing road signs, backing around corners, backing into parks, crawling stops, angle of front wheels when crossing traffic etc were picked up with most people. A report was provided to each individual afterwards and those with issues of concern were given 3 months to work on them. A second lesson was then conducted with those staff to consolidate their recent re-learning. Generally, we believe it is having a positive effect on minor incidents, (not analysed as yet though). Ultimately, we all found it a positive exercise and most people appreciated the refresher, constructive observer and personal report.
Our fleet has since moved to Hybrid vehicles so again each staff member has to be inducted to the vehicle before they can drive one. (Completed inhouse).
This organisational wide risk for us is significant, not just because of the hours/distances are staff are driving but some of the highways, country and metal roads our staff have to use.
I hope that helps
I don't think you can assume that a full licence = competence. You can arrive in NZ on pretty much any licence from Western Europe (think Greece, Italy, etc), and swap it for a NZ licence within 3 days with no test required. Also, if you passed your test 30 years ago, you could have had 30 years of practicing your really bad driving habits, so much so that you are an excellent bad driver!!
We use an online assessment from DT Driver Training and that gives us a list of things we might need to focus on for each driver - gaps in knowledge, plus risks inherent in when/what/where they drive. Then we get a driving instructor from the local area, or we do some classroom or online training to fill in the gaps. Mostly it's around low-speed manoeuvring because that's where the damage occurs.
If we have a new vehicle, we do an induction on the vehicle, take them through the main features and any differences between what they've been driving and what they are about to drive.
Driving is one of those things that people believe they don't need to maintain their skills in.
At a minimum, you should probably check they understand the NZ road rules, and driver health and safety. There are cost-effective online courses for that.
New vehicle induction is a bit like a piece of string. How big is the change? Have you just introduced your first Heavy vehicle, or is it a different type of car?
These changes should be discussed in your change management process.
Also, new vehicle induction is more than about drivers. Is the vehicle more/less capable that current vehicles? Is it compatible with your procedures?
A licence is only evidence of continued competency immediately after it is issued. As others have said, most of us have been driving for decades without ever having our driving formally evaluated.
We live in an area that gets ice/snow in weather so my recommendations to clients are:
1. At the very least have a photocopy of the driver's licence on file and a signed copy of the driver's policy. Which makes it clear that they need to tell us if their licence conditions change.
2. Winter driving course at Highlands for general drivers and 4WD course through DriveTech if their vehicles are driving off-road.
3. Like Kate Thompson, I agree that DT Driver Training is great and they have a programme for people from overseas who are new to our roads.
4. Anything that is Class 2 or above, or some form of plant requires a vehicle famil/ driver assessment with a supervisor.
5. Two things to watch out for (learnt the hard way). If you have apprentices who are on their restricted they CANNOT drink any alcohol and drive. Also, if you have someone on a pink licence for an alcohol infringement that occurred outside of work and they have an interlocked breath testing device installed in their work truck they can ONLY drive THAT vehicle and nothing else.
If the provider of the vehicles are worth their salt then they should provide induction for new vehicles bought off them. Online induction works well, generally.
All our drivers (Training Advisors) are fully licensed.
We are currently updating our vehicle induction in-house. A few topics are:
Learning about your vehicle
In-car features and technology
Seat adjustment/correct posture
Use of Speed delimiter
Managing your vehicle
Vehicle change over
General use of vehicle
Maintenance & repair
Managing your driving
Safety driving handbook
Planning your trips (parking, fatigue, etc.)
Driving expectations (speed, driver behaviour)
Motor vehicle policy
Using the emergency alert button
Reporting vehicle incidents
We provide levels 1 & 2 defensive driving through NADS which is beneficial and compulsory for all staff with assigned vehicles. We trialed DT which was great, but found it difficult for staff to manage (timewise). We also trialed the Winter Driving Experience and did not get the feedback we were expecting and was decided not to use this as training.
After a number of minor incidents with our heavier vehicles, we recognised that new drivers were featuring more often than not. We now have additional supervision for new class 2 drivers - "Off road class 2 drivers – qualified drivers with less than 6 months experience must be supervised by a class 2 driver with minimum 2 years off road driving experience"
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