• Dwaine
    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?

  • Stephen Small
    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.
  • Mandy Gudgeon
    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 :)
    Regards. MG
  • Kate Thompson
    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.
  • Darren Cottingham
    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.
  • Aaron Marshall
    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.
  • Sarah Bond
    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.
  • Mike Massaar
    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.
  • Kathleen Maurirere
    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
    Safety features
    Seat adjustment/correct posture
    Use of Speed delimiter
    -Managing your vehicle
    Vehicle change over
    General use of vehicle
    Fuel cards
    Maintenance & repair
    Breakdown support
    -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
    Lone worker
    Emergency response
    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.
  • Alex
    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"
  • Wayne Nicholl
    This is an interesting one and one that I have an interest in. I attended a 'Fleet day' run by Eroad in CHCH yesterday and there were a number of great speakers. One was an insurance company and they talked about the stats that they have collected from accidents. A big part of the day was about EV's and how people adapt to some of the built in safety features. Often people turn them off as they don't understand them. I tried a number of different EV's and it is not easy. From getting the car to go - to knowing it is going!!! - to driving. All very different. The insurance presenter talked about the way to use your reversing camera and what the lines mean. He learnt the hard way, by just watching a reversing camera while backing and hitting a Lexus. he couldn't understand why it wasn't on his camera. So much to learn and i am certainly going to make some changes in how we let our people loose with a company vehicle. Just checking they have a licence is just not enough and old school people like me need to first learn - then teach. I feel a lot of companies are dishing out vehicles (pool vehicles / tool of trade etc) and I compare the way we do that to the old days where you were given a grinder and told to cut stuff with no other training at all.
  • Thomas Hayes
    We use online training to keep our drivers up-to-date.
    DT Driver Training have several fairly-priced courses and I would recommend them without hesitation.
  • Aaron Marshall
    I had a similar experience recently. I found out the hard way that the reversing sensors take a couple of seconds to start working after backing into a friends car while in a hurry.
  • Jack Bergquist
    Hi Dwain.

    AA Driving School have been partnering with a range of fleets NZ wide for the past 15+ years helping to support them on this journey. We'd be very happy to set up some time for a chat to better understand your business challenges and provide some thoughts on solutions. In terms of inductions, we have created custom e learning modules for other clients to ensure drivers dedicate the time to understand the features on the common vehicles in a fleet. With the introduction of new ADAS features now very common on new vehicles, this has become even more important as many drivers may not have experienced things like lane keep assist in their personal vehicle and it can be quite confronting if you're not expecting the system to kick in.
    As others have mentioned, if budget allows 121 coaching and assessment sessions are also a fantastic way to ensure competence. Our research foundation recently published a driving for work study investigating series and fatal crashes over the past 3 years. A key finding from the study showed that unlike gen pop data, the risk was much more evenly spread through the age groups too - bear in mind that most older drivers in NZ would likely never have had a professional lesson or coaching in their lives, so while their risk appetite may be lower, their knowledge of key safety steps like blind spot checks are likely non existent (it didn't even used to be part of the driving test).
    You can reach out to us at to arrange a time for a chat if you'd like. We'd be very happy to help.
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