Driver Safety Meetings
David Kolman
Regular driver safety meetings can be an effective way of providing safety education, raising safety awareness, implementing new policies and procedures and promoting a team spirit. The more positive and productive a learning experience these meetings are, the greater the impact on your bottom line. Here are some thoughts and suggestions that can help:
Set clear objectives. This not only provides a focus for the meeting but it will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your meeting.
Have an agenda for each meeting. Distribute it — along with the date, time and location of the meeting — to all meetings participants in advance. Your agenda ought to include a description of the meeting’s objectives and a list of the topics to be covered. This will give drivers a chance to prepare for the meeting and be able to better participate in discussions or decisions.
Have a list of discussion points and action items you want to touch upon for each agenda item. Set tentative times for each item and then stick to them and your meeting timeframe. When meetings go over time, drivers generally tend to get uneasy and their attention wanders.
Follow your agenda, using it as a checklist to ensure that all agenda topics are covered.
Stay on time and keep control. If your meeting is getting off track, redirect it back to the topic being discussed by saying something like: “That’s a topic for a different meeting.” Be sure to make a note of that topic for discussion at another time. Not only will this enable you to keep to your meeting agenda, it shows drivers that you value their input.
Look for opportunities to recognize drivers who participate in discussions.
Consider using prizes as a way to keep drivers’ interest. For example, offer things such as company merchandise, movie passes, gift cards, etc., for correct responses.
When addressing any problems, do so constructively. The emphasis needs to be on resolving the problem, not on placing blame.
Have someone take notes during the meeting, documenting any assignments or changes that need to be made. These meeting notes should be distributed to all meeting participants.
Be sure to follow up with all meeting participants on any matters that were to be addressed. This can be done at the next meeting or through company communications such as notices in paychecks and postings on bulletin boards. If you don’t react in a timely manner, you’re sending the message that driver input doesn’t matter, wherein drivers might figure they shouldn’t bother offering their thoughts, suggestions and ideas.
Evaluate the effectiveness your meetings. Ask drivers what they thought of the meeting and what could be done to improve the next one. This will make drivers feel like a part of the team and will help make your meetings more efficient.
All driver safety meetings should be supported by company managers, and they should attend the meetings. By not doing so, these managers are indirectly saying that driver safety meetings are not important. This could have a negative impact on your safety programs. It is beneficial to have managers mingle with drivers both before and after the meeting.
Safety meetings can be made more pleasant if you include refreshments. This could be anything from coffee and doughnuts to a buffet breakfast or lunch. However, food should be served before or after the meeting, so as to limit distractions. BI
Common collision factors
There are six common types of improper driving which can lead to collisions, finds the national Safety Council (NSC). They are:
- Tailgating
- Speeding
- Right of way encroachment
- Poor lane change
- Improper passing
- Improper turns
The NSC estimates that these six factors are involved in nearly 80 percent of all collisions.
The way to avoid these accidents, NSC advises, is for drivers to drive courteously and defensively, taking responsibility for themselves and their actions, and to keep an eye on other motorists, anticipating and recognizing potential mistakes and improper driving behavior that create safety hazards.
David Kolman is a veteran truck communicator, keynote speaker and long-haul trucker. Commissioned as an Honorary Colonel on the Kentucky governor’s staff for his work promoting traffic safety, he actively participates in trade associations and reports news and information about the trucking industry for broadcasting and print media.
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