Person walking back to semi truck

Prior to COVID-19, trucking companies were faced with a shortage of drivers that resulted in trucks sitting empty and freight not getting to its destination. As the pandemic lingers on, the need for drivers and other staff has not changed. Trucking companies are still struggling to find qualified drivers that are willing to work and are having to come up with inventive ways to attract and retain drivers. Here are some things to consider with hiring and onboarding drivers as we prepare for a post-COVID-19 world.

Review hiring requirements

Review your hiring requirements periodically to ensure you are aligned with both your company’s goals and values as well as industry best practices. What are your minimum hiring requirements — 25 years of age with at least three years of experience? Clean MVR with no accidents? What are your PSP thresholds? Would you consider a driver who was 23 years of age with two years of experience and one moving violation on his or her MVR?

These are things to consider when exploring the market for drivers. Consider if your hiring requirements are too strict or lenient and if you can you adjust them without compromising your company’s safety record. It’s never a bad idea to have a minimum hiring criterion, but you should consider deviations and have any rationale documented. If you have a driver with a few months less experience, are you capable of effectively training and monitoring them to ensure the driver’s success?

Driver training

Training drivers should be of utmost importance regardless of their experience. All new drivers should go through orientation and training when onboarding. This will help ensure that all your drivers are getting a consistent message about your company's policies and expectations for safety and operations. Training should consist of a review of your company's policies and procedures, an overview of FMCSR's, how to operate a vehicle safely, defensive driving techniques, and maintenance and hours of service requirements.

With companies operating over large areas and drivers being spread across the country, it’s important to find new and innovative ways to train drivers. Many companies help with online training and orientations that can be completed by the driver anywhere. If you are training drivers virtually, you must be able to record and track all trainings completed and set up ongoing training throughout the year.

Driver monitoring

Recent advancements in camera technology and AI make dash cameras one of the best ways to monitor drivers. By using forward- and driver-facing cameras, companies can monitor drivers’ behaviors and protect not only the driver, but also the company in case of an event. Using dash cameras to monitor and coach drivers is one of the best ways to effect driver improvement and reduce unsafe behaviors on the road. Event recorders are a very effective way to capture events and give you the facts of what happened, not just what the driver or witnesses may report.

For any questions or to request resources regarding hiring, training and driver monitoring, contact your risk manager or Risk Management Services at lchelp@nationwide.com or 877-233-3030.