Ever hear of the “doorway effect”? It’s what happens when you walk through a door and forget what you were saying, doing, and even why you passed through the doorway in the first place. You’ll be heading for the kitchen with every intention of making yourself a peanut butter sandwich, get there, completely blank on your purpose for being there, and confusedly resign yourself to a dinner of leftover rice and ranch dressing. All thanks to the doorway effect.
While it’s unlikely your drivers will forget everything they know the moment they walk out of commercial driver training, there are bound to be a few things that don’t stick. Unfortunately, most fleet-owning businesses can’t afford to have their drivers forgetting and making mistakes behind the wheel. There are few things that can deal as heavy a blow to a fleet-owning business’ reputation and bottom line as unsafe or unlawful driving behavior. The impact of this can be felt throughout an entire operation with liability expenses, fuel costs, maintenance fees, and insurance hikes. This is why many fleet owners and managers have started to monitor driver behavior to ensure that their drivers’ training has been sufficient and well-retained.
Start by Tracking Drivers
Keeping tabs on what your drivers do while behind the wheel of one of your vehicles can be as simple as checking their travel history with GPS fleet software or as detailed as generating weekly driver scorecards. These scorecards are easily created using the right fleet management software and contain important data on driving behaviors like hard braking, sudden turning, speeding, and rapid acceleration. You can use these scorecards to gauge your drivers’ adherence to what they learned when earning their commercial driver’s license and develop driver improvement plans for those who need a refresher course.
Remind, Refresh, and Reward
Timely and friendly reminders can go a long way toward keeping your operator’s commercial driver training fresh in their minds. If you notice certain unwanted behaviors being exhibited, you might consider offering verbal reminders before issuing official warnings. Many drivers will appreciate the opportunity to brush up on their skills before the behavior becomes habit. If more extensive retraining is needed, a CDL refresher course may be in order. Be sure to provide rewards for drivers who adhere to the rules and retain what they have learned. The right incentives will demonstrate your dedication to keeping driver safety and propriety at top of mind, inviting drivers to follow suit.
Even the best drivers can find themselves subject to something of a doorway effect when it comes to remembering the material they learned in CDL training. That’s why regular trainings, GPS fleet tracking, driver behavior monitoring, and meaningful incentives are essential to keeping drivers sharp, safe, and productive.