Negotiating Commercial Truck Insurance Tell Your Driver Data Story

Negotiating Commercial Truck Insurance

When it comes to commercial truck insurance, there are many points of data that you need to monitor closely and prepare to discuss with your insurance underwriter. It’s important to give the underwriter a full picture instead of a snapshot.

There is so much data available about companies as well as drivers that can count against you without the proper context. This out of context data makes it easier for plaintiff attorneys to go after large payouts and can lead to increased insurance rates or denial from insurance companies.

So, how do you keep this data in the right context? Make sure to tell your driver data story up front.

Telling Your Driver Data Story

The trick to providing the right background is to answer questions about the data before the underwriter asks. If you can’t tell the story behind bad stats, you could easily be rejected or be required to pay higher rates.

You need to tell the story behind poor records or show steps you are taking to improve on problem areas. Give clear records of corrective action steps taken where necessary. You also want to show clear records of all training assigned and completed to show steps to improve safety for your company.

There are many factors that go into the rising commercial truck insurance costs, including increased nuclear verdicts, driver shortages, and the number of commercial insurance carriers available. These factors make it more important than ever to tell the right story when it comes time to renew your insurance.

When gathering your data, there are a couple factors you should consider to tell the right story.

What Factors Influence Insurance Rates?

We all know insurance underwriters look at your crash rates, violations, and other important safety factors when determining what rates are available for your company. But, what other factors play a role in their decision? These are the areas where you have the best chance of telling your story.

Driver retention is a big factor for insurance companies. The available data shows that more accidents happen in the first two years with a new company for drivers. These statistics are the same no matter how long the driver has been operating through their career.

These increased accidents are due to drivers getting used to new equipment and new routes. If you can show your company has a good driver retention rate, you have more negotiating power. If you do have new drivers, but they are owner-operators, make sure your insurance underwriter knows up front that these drivers are operating equipment they are already familiar with.

Another factor in negotiating commercial truck insurance is dealing with the common violations that have easy fixes. A big one here is seat belt use. Provide training and encourage drivers to wear their seat belts at all times.

These seat belt violations are far too common, cost carriers more money than other seemingly more serious violations, and are simple to get under control. This easy fix can save significant amounts when it comes to insurance costs.

Ongoing Training to Improve Your Data Story

The best thing you can do to improve your driver data story is to provide consistent, ongoing training to your drivers. This includes orientation, ongoing, and corrective action training to ensure drivers are prepared to deal with any concerns on the road and improve your company safety culture.

Online training management with Infinit-I Workforce Solutions makes it easy to provide this consistent training. Drivers can access their training from any device with an internet connection, and complete training on their own schedule. This means you can get more of your drivers to complete the training that helps reduce factors that count against you during commercial truck insurance negotiations.

The Infinit-I system is easy to set up and easy to use. To see for yourself, request a demo.

alcohol drugs driver shortage

The Truck Driver Shortage Has Made the News

The truck driver shortage has been at the top of the list for industry concerns the last five years in a row. The shortage was originally reported by the American Trucking Association (ATA) back in 2005 though.

This shortage has officially made the news finally. People have started to take notice of the supply chain disruptions and industry struggles as they see empty shelves and backed up cargo. Between a retiring workforce, COVID issues, difficulties recruiting younger drivers, and many other problems, the shortage of drivers continues to increase.

Recent FMCSA Regulations Add to the Driver Shortage

FMCSA regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing have added to the truck driver shortage over the past year. Since January of 2020, more than 72,000 truck drivers were pulled from the road for failing drug tests required by the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

56% of these failed drug tests were due to marijuana use. The top three after this are Amphetamines at 18%, Cocaine at 15%, and Opioids at 4%. As there is no way to distinguish when the drug use has occurred with these tests, drivers are being forced off the road for driving under the influence.

The rising popularity of CBD oil is also a concern. The DOT has put out warnings about using these oils as they can negatively affect a drug test.

What Does This Mean for the Supply Chain?

With 72,000 drivers out of service, and difficulty recruiting new drivers, we are looking at continued and possibly increased supply chain disruptions. There are already stories in the news about supply chain backups.

With limited drivers to pick up cargo, America will continue to see empty shelves and delayed deliveries of goods. Older truckers are starting to retire as well due to other issues, and the cargo will continue to sit at distribution centers.

What Does This Mean for the Trucking Industry?

The FMCSA does have the option for drivers to complete a return to duty program for those who end up on the drug and alcohol registry, so they can fix their records. Very few drivers have taken advantage of this program though.

Of the 72,000 drivers removed from the road, only 17,000 have completed the program. The rest show no signs of completing this and are leaving the trucking industry for good.

While it is good to get people off the road who are putting others in danger, this loss with little recruitment ability is hitting the trucking industry hard. Trucking companies are competing heavily for new recruits, driving up costs and leaving many companies with very limited resources.

Trucking companies will need to find ways to recruit new drivers if the driver shortage is going to end. Some recruitment options have been put forth, but it will take time to see if these methods will bring results.

Preparing Drivers to Meet FMCSA Regulations

While the industry scrambles to recruit new drivers, there is still a need to make sure the drivers you already have are prepared to meet FMCSA regulations, so you don’t lose any drivers to regulatory issues. This means you should make sure your drivers are getting regular training to stay safety conscious.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions provides an online training program that allows you to easily assign and drivers to easily access training. Drivers can complete training from any device with an internet connection, so there’s no need to disrupt supply movement further.

Join us for a free 2-day Safety Management Boot Camp in Dallas, TX to see how Infinit-I can help you get the most out of your training program.

online truck driver training, businessman, men's suit-2874597.jpg

In-Person vs Online Truck Driver Training

You know your drivers need training, but how do you make that happen most efficiently? When it comes to in-person vs online truck driver training, how are you supposed to determine what will have the most impact on your safety record?

When it comes to adding a new tool to your safety plan, you want to make sure it will make a difference. So, what benefit can online driver training add to your safety measures?

The Benefits of Online Training

One of the hardest parts of completing training is getting all your drivers together. With online training this isn’t a factor. Drivers can access online truck driver training from any device with an internet connection. This means you can assign training for drivers to complete when it’s convenient for them.

This means you don’t have to pull drivers off the road and disrupt routes. Online training also reduces your training costs as you don’t have to pay for food, travel, and hotels to get your drivers and trainers together in one place.

Online truck driver training allows you to provide consistent, ongoing training to keep important safety measures fresh in your drivers’ minds. You can provide orientation training and set it up for new hires to complete before they start their first day to help determine which drivers are going to be dependable.

You can also assign corrective action training immediately after an incident to show your efforts to maintain safety. All training documentation is stored in one place, so you have easy access to it whenever you need it. With a training management system like Infinit-I Workforce, you have date and time-stamped proof of your safety efforts to protect you in litigation or help with insurance negotiations.

You can even provide training for contractors to keep everyone on the same page about safety and protect your company from litigation. Online training helps you react to unexpected circumstances and identify trends that could lead to problems so you can react to these issues as well. You can also personalize your training program to the needs of individual drivers.

Online training takes less time for drivers to complete, which increases engagement and comprehension of the training materials. The Infinit-I system also allows you to communicate important messages immediately with your drivers. You can put communications in the platform for drivers to access no matter where they are.

Online training doesn’t completely remove the need for some in-person training, but it can take care of the bulk of your training needs.

When is In-Person Training Better?

Some trucking companies like to bring their drivers in at least once a year to check in and do in-person training. Incorporating online truck driver training doesn’t keep you from having yearly, quarterly, or monthly meetings if that’s important to you. Online training just helps you fill in the training needs for the rest of the time.

Some training does require in-person meetings though. Any training that requires student feedback or a more hands-on approach to learn is best done in person. It’s also valuable if you are implementing new technologies to help with safety measures to bring your drivers in to learn how to use these tools.

When is Online Training Better?

Online training works best for frequent awareness training and for training that needs to be consistent. Really, 80% of training can be completed online more effectively while taking one quarter of the time it takes to complete in-person training.

Online truck driver training reduces the training time because it

  • Requires less travel time to and from the meeting space
  • Reduces the time it takes waiting for the meeting to get started
  • Training time takes less time online than in-person
  • There are no off-topic distractions
  • Requires no chatting and pleasantries after the training is complete

In fact, online training can reduce training costs up to 50% while providing a 20% reduction in accidents and 80% violation reduction.

Online Training that Makes Safety Training Easier

Infinit-I workforce Solutions is the #1 trusted online training management system for the transportation industry. With 850+ videos available in the library, you can find training materials for any safety subject you need to address.

You can set up the training and let the system take care of notifications and tracking. The Infinit-I platform gives you access to all the training documentation you need to defend your safety record and allows you to see how well drivers comprehend the material.

Would you like to see how Infinit-I Workforce Solutions can help you reduce expenses, reduce workflow interruptions, and reduce CSA violations? Join us for an upcoming Safety Management Boot Camp to see the features for yourself. We will pay your way so you can learn more about how online training can transform your safety program.

Driver Health, Healthy Eating

Truck Driver Health Tips

The truck driver shortage is starting to get the recognition it needs. There are many factors that influence this shortage, from changes to drug screens, to retiring drivers, to younger workers entering other industries.

One area that is often overlooked when it comes to driver retention is driver health. Drivers face conditions that make it difficult to maintain healthy habits but can be pulled off the road if certain health issues arise. There are things drivers and trucking companies can do to help reduce this risk though.

Biggest Driver Health Concerns

One-third of drivers aren’t qualified to drive due to health issues. With driver shortages already hurting the industry, driver health is an issue that needs to be addressed.

The biggest health concerns for drivers are blood pressure, being overweight, and diabetes. This isn’t surprising as more than 10% of Americans have Type 2 Diabetes, and 75% are overweight or obese. These issues are increased for drivers as they spend so much of their time sitting behind the wheel.

Nutrition is the number one reason for these health issues. Part of spending their time on the road means drivers have difficulty maintaining nutrition. The trucking industry can combat some of these issues by promoting healthy eating, improved rest, hydration, movement, and stress reduction.

Promoting Healthier Eating

Beyond the obvious health issues associated with poor nutrition, this can also affect reaction times and decision-making skills. Poor quality foods negatively affect brain health and drain energy. You want your drivers to be alert and ready on the road.

Creating healthy eating habits can take time. Drivers should start with small changes, finding alternatives to their biggest problem foods first. Planning ahead also helps manage nutrition. Drivers can determine the best options for food on their routes to reduce poor food choices.

Companies can help by offering healthier options when drivers are in-house. Providing information on healthier options will also help combat some of the health issues involved with poor nutrition.

Improving Rest

Sleep is when your body recharges and repairs itself, meaning lack of sleep is harmful to your physical and mental health. Beyond that, fatigued driving can lead to increased accidents.

Drivers can combat this by taking steps to get rest. A good place to start is by reducing caffeine and sugar, which will also help improve nutrition. Creating as much routine around their schedules will also help them rest better.

It’s essential to make sure drivers get enough sleep before getting on the road. Make sure they are following hours of service regulations while on the road as well. Explain the importance of proper rest so they know you are looking out for their best interest as well as yours.

Staying Hydrated

Hydration is an important part of driver health. Poor hydration can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, and many other problems including being overweight. If you are thirsty, you may believe you are hungry which leads to overeating.

Reducing caffeine intake can help. Often when we drink caffeinated drinks, they can dehydrate us further. Drivers can make simple swaps to take in better-quality hydration options on the road, but water is always the best option.

Trucking companies should encourage drivers to keep water on hand when on long trips, so they maintain hydration. For those who don’t like water, encourage better alternatives such as real juices and flavored waters.

Get Moving

Body posture and movement are also important to health. Both can affect digestion, joint health, and bone health. Poor posture and lack of movement can lead to chronic pain issues.

An easy way for drivers to improve this is to take walks. This is an easy way to get moving without adding extra stress for drivers. Walking has the added benefit of helping with some of the stress of the job.

Encourage drivers to take time to move around. Even if it’s walking around their vehicle on a break, it is a start they can grow from.

Reduce Stress

Stress can lead to angry or aggressive driving which is more likely to involve truck drivers in an accident. Stress also affects the immune system and prolonged stress can cause heart issues. Unfortunately, we know drivers must deal with a lot of stress.

Positive thinking can go a long way towards reducing stress. Taking time to focus on the positive will help create habits of redirecting during times of high stress. Getting out and moving around for a while can also help reduce stress levels.

It is in everyone’s best interest for you to encourage your drivers to take time for stress-reduction activities. You can also help with stress by promoting better communication within your company.

Making Driver Health Part of Safety Training

While it is up to drivers to make the changes that are needed for better health, there are things you can do to promote driver health throughout your company. Encourage drivers to understand the importance of health and why they would want to be healthier. Understanding why will help them to form better habits.

Provide training on the importance of health and how bad health can negatively affect their work. Encourage small changes to help them build better habits. Wherever you can, provide healthier options for drivers to see the benefit.

Promoting health is a good way to help drivers feel safe with your company. Safety and health go hand-in-hand, so incorporate training on healthy habits with your safety training. Make driver health part of your safety culture.

Developing a Culture of Safety

To retain quality drivers, you want to make safety an essential part of your company culture. Providing the tools needed to promote safety and health are easy with Infinit-I Workforce Solutions. Our online training management platform allows you to provide training year-round without disrupting schedules.

Schedule a demo today to learn how easy it is to provide the training you need to develop a culture of safety.

safety record

Even if you have a stellar safety record, letting one bad driver in can destroy your company. It’s essential that you check the records of new hires and ensure you take action to correct bad behaviors on the road, or you could see yourself facing a nuclear verdict.

Safety Record vs. Record Nuclear Verdict

Four years ago, a teenager in Jacksonville, FL was killed in an accident involving two commercial vehicles. One truck was overturned, causing a traffic backup. Another driver crashed into the line of traffic, resulting in the death.

Just recently, a jury brought back a verdict on this accident, requiring $1 billion from the companies with drivers involved. This verdict takes over as the new record for a nuclear verdict against a trucking company. The previous record was $411 million.

Distracted Driving, Hours-of-Service, and Other Issues

From beginning to end, this wreck seems to have been caused by bad driving practices. The original driver who overturned his truck was distracted by his cellphone at the time. The other driver was also distracted and didn’t try to brake until right before the crash occurred.

Distracted driving wasn’t the only issues though. Both drivers were over their hours-of-service limits. The second driver was on his 25th hour of a trip from Quebec.

The second driver also couldn’t read English well, meaning he couldn’t read the signs warning about the crash ahead. Plus, the first driver was driving without a valid CDL.

This was clearly an accident that could have been avoided if these drivers had been clear on CSA BASICS. It also could have been avoided if the first driver had received a background check before being hired. These bad behaviors destroyed the safety record of one company, ending with them closing their doors.

What Does the New Record Verdict Mean to You?

This sounds like a worst-case scenario, and many look at this and swear it wouldn’t happen to them. With nuclear verdicts on the rise and jurors wanting to hold trucking companies more responsible for safety on the roads, it’s important for trucking companies to protect themselves.

Large verdicts like this can easily put a trucking company out of business. It’s up to you to address situations before they lead to something like this. Make sure you are following all necessary procedures to protect your company.

  • Run background checks on drivers
  • Verify CDL status of all new hires
  • Make sure drivers can follow directions wherever they are travelling

Take the time to determine your company’s vulnerabilities within your safety record. Where you find recurring issues, take the time to re-train drivers in these areas. Maintain an ongoing training program to keep safety top of mind for everyone.

Make sure new drivers are clear on safety standards for your company before they ever hit the road for you. Make sure drivers understand safety measures that will reduce the potential for accidents.

Does Your Safety Record Stand Up to a Nuclear Verdict?

Bad actors within the trucking industry hurt everyone. There is a pre-conceived idea that trucking companies don’t care about safety. Each time accidents like this happen, it reinforces that idea.

This makes it important for you to evaluate, identify, and correct those areas that put your company at risk for the next nuclear verdict. Regular safety training is one of your strongest protections against this.

With Infinit-I Workforce Solutions, you can provide online safety training so drivers can access the training they need no matter where they are. Contact us today to request a demo and learn how we can help you protect against bad behaviors on the road.

smaller accident settlements and verdicts

The Impact of Smaller Accident Settlements and Verdicts on the Trucking Industry

A lot of time is spent discussing the effect of nuclear verdicts, or verdicts over $10 million, but trucking accident settlements and verdicts under $1 million also have a negative effect on the trucking industry.

Between the danger of increased litigation with the smaller payouts, the rise of insurance rates, and the increased scrutiny on the trucking industry, these smaller verdicts put strain on trucking companies. You need to learn how to protect yourself and your drivers from all litigation issues.

Why are Settlements and Verdicts on the Rise?

The increase in accident settlements and verdicts under $1 million has a lot to do with negative public perception of the trucking industry and tighter restrictions against the industry. The public perception is that carriers are large corporations that don’t care about people.

Plaintiff attorneys have taken advantage of this belief to cooperate on an easy target for litigation. Law firms that focus on the trucking industry have set up structures to go after as many companies as they can. Many will go out of their way to solicit accident victims to file a claim with their firm.

With this structure, some firms can have 300 cases against trucking companies open at a time. These firms often seek for settlements rather than going to court as this gives them a quicker payout. These firms go after minor accidents, but the payout is usually five times the true cost of the accident to the victim.

Litigation financing has also played a part in the increase of settlements and verdicts. Third parties will provide the money needed to pursue a case and take a share of any payment received as payback for the financing. This can also involve a third party purchasing a plaintiff’s medical bills in exchange for part of the settlement.

This third-party financing has also contributed to an increase in fraudulent claims, which adds to the increase in litigation against the trucking industry. These issues trickle down into other areas and have led to increases in insurance costs on top of these other costs.

Highest Payouts

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently did a study on the impact of accident settlements and verdicts under $1 million for the trucking industry, and found that certain issues lead to bigger payments for plaintiffs.

The research showed the top 5 causes of accidents that led to the highest average payouts under $1 million were:

  • Poor driver history ($680,333)
  • Phone use ($629,375)
  • Hours of Service violations ($564, 531)
  • Falling asleep at the wheel ($543,343)
  • Equipment failure ($503,641)

Poor driver history is connected to poor hiring practices and inadequate training which leads to juries holding a carrier at fault for a driver’s mistakes on the road, which means bigger payouts. Driver history and reckless driving issues are a good indication of the average payment that can be expected.

The state where the accident occurs will also play a part in the payment size. California, Michigan, New Jersey, and North Carolina have the largest national averages.

Fatalities and severe injuries also increase payment sizes. In these cases, the payment was more likely to be over $600,000. This could have something to do with the fact that these cases are more likely to be settled out of court.

A carrier is likely to pay more if they settle rather than going to court. Settlements tend to be 37.7% larger than verdict sizes.

How Can You Protect Against Smaller Verdicts?

When it comes to these smaller accident settlements and verdicts, your best defense is a verifiable safety training record. A good place to start is with the top 5 issues that lead to increased payments (poor driver history, phone use, HOS violations, falling asleep at the wheel, and equipment failure).

When you look at poor driver history, you’re likely to find some common issues arising that you can focus training on. Deal with breaking these bad habits. If you can’t, it may be time to get rid of a driver before they cost you more in a lawsuit or settlement.

You also want to deal with any reckless driving issues. Reckless driving is any driving behaviors that disregard the safety of other people or property. This can include texting while driving, driving under the influence, failing to yield, etc.

The best thing you can do for your company is to set up a driver onboarding and ongoing training program to ensure safe driving behaviors. You can supplement these programs with corrective action training if an issue arrives to remind drivers of appropriate behaviors.

Many experts recommend at minimum developing a “Defensible Driver” program that covers entry-level maintenance, remedial driver training, corporate safety processes, safety technology plans, and consistent hiring and onboarding procedures. All these areas are discoverable during litigation, so you want to maintain proper documentation in each area.

Get the Tools You Need to Defend Yourself and Your Drivers

Don’t let truck accident settlements and verdicts under $1 million drown you in costs. Put the tools in place now that will help you defend your company and your drivers before you ever go to court. Infinit-I Workforce Solutions is an online training management system that will allow you to set up onboarding, ongoing, and corrective action training that will prove your safety record.

Would you like to see it in action? Contact us to set up a free demo. Learn how you can set, track, and document all your safety training efforts in one place.

driver qualification

FMCSA’s driver qualification file rules have seen some changes for 2022. It’s important to make sure your documents are compliant with the driver qualification file requirement changes.

Road Test Certificate Requirements

Changes to the information required for a road test certificate went into effect on March 22, 2022. These changes were put in place to eliminate the need to capture personal information that many drivers are reluctant to share.

Road test certificates no longer require the following information about the drivers:

  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Licensing state

This information is still required for applications or before a driver is dispatched for the first time, but no longer on the road test certificate.

If you have the old format of the road test certificate, you do not have to enter this information on them.

Licensing Authorities

Since some drivers will have residency in Canada or Mexico, but operate within the United States, the FMCSA has made some changes to the wording regarding places that issue driver’s licenses.

These changes went into effect March 22, 2022 and changed the term “state” to “driver’s licensing authority”.

This change was to clarify the requirement of obtaining driving records from states, provinces, or territories based on where the records are kept for their residency.

These language changes were also made to driver applications when asked to list the issuing agency for each unexpired license.

Changes to Annual List of Violations

The most recent change made to the driver qualification file was put in place May 9, 2022. This change eliminated the requirement to request an annual record of violations from drivers.

It’s important to note that any annual violation lists created through May 8, 2022, must remain in the file for three years still.

This change was put in place to reduce redundancy as the information provided is already on the annual motor vehicle record.

More Information About Regulatory Changes

How will ELDT Affect You?

Disputing Negative DataQs

Infrastructure Bill

Plan for Summer Driver Health During the Hot Months

How to Plan for Driver Health During the Hot Summer Months

Summer is almost upon us, and with it comes an extra layer of safety precautions to promote good summer driver health. As with any season, summer presents a new set of challenges to overcome as drivers navigate different climates, temperatures, and conditions in different parts of the country.

What are the potential health hazards for drivers during the summer?

While the summer seems like it should be slow and easy, it’s anything but. While you don’t have to worry about blizzards or severe weather in most cases, you need to be aware of an increase in traffic and construction, as well as the toll that heat and sun can take on a trucker’s body.

Why Health and Safety are Important During the Summer

There are a lot of factors that can put truck drivers’ health at risk, especially during long hauls. While the summer is a slower season for other industries, it means more traffic, more slow-downs, and more health hazards for truck drivers. 

The summer sun can present a nice, warm change from winter months, but can also present real risks to driver health when not addressed properly. The sun can cause a glare and impact vision long term, so it’s important that drivers protect their eyes. It can also cause painful sunburns, which can lead to health problems later in life if the skin is not protected.

When driving in the summer months, keep the “Five Ps” top of mind to ensure summer driver health and safety for the long haul and the long term.

Prepare for Traffic Congestion

Summer is the season for tourists, so expect traffic congestion on major roadways. This can lead to quite a bit of anxiety on the part of car drivers and truckers alike and can lead to poor decision making.

Be sure to leave early and account for slow-downs on your route, to ensure timely deliveries without pushing it on the road. Safety is an absolute imperative, so be safe by checking for traffic delays and road conditions before planning your trip.

Protect Your Eyes

Summer driver health is all about protecting your body from the risks of bright suns and heat. During the summer, the sun is especially bright, so high-quality, polarized sunglasses are essential for driving during the day.

Additionally, early morning and mid-evening sun can cause a glare, which can be dangerous to drivers, especially with more cars on the road. Take extra time to absorb surroundings and check glare spots for cars you may have missed.

Protect Your Skin

We’ve all heard of “trucker arm.” This happens when truck drivers rest their arms out the window of their truck, getting a sunburn. Days upon days of this and truckers can experience painful blistering and permanent skin damage. 

Use sunscreen to protect the skin, and roll up windows occasionally to give skin a break from UV rays.

Protect Your Truck

The summer heat puts an extra burden on a truck. It’s important during the summer to check fluids, especially coolant, during summer hauls.

When you’re driving in a hotter, drier climate, the weather can take a larger toll on a truck and even cause major issues if not addressed. Preventable maintenance is especially important during summer months when trucks are exposed to heat and elements at more extreme levels.

Pay Attention to Your Body

It’s easy to ignore the signs of dehydration. At least 518,000 people end up hospitalized each year in the U.S. due to dehydration. During an extended period outside, you may start to feel fatigued or disoriented.

This is your body telling you to cool down and hydrate. Make sure you take regular breaks and drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. Dehydration can lead to detrimental health effects and can even land you in the hospital, so make a plan to drink enough water. 

Another good idea is to carry electrolyte pouches with you at all times. These are small, easy packaged powders that can be added to bottled water to give you an instant boost. 

In addition to hydration, make sure to eat healthy food to fuel your body during the hot summer months. While we typically think of the winter as a season for sickness, the summer can present its own health challenges when you’re not properly nourished.

Key Takeaways about Summer Driver Health:

  • Summertime presents a new set of challenges for truck drivers
  • Protect yourself and your truck from breaking down by establishing a preventable maintenance routine during the summer.
  • Use the “5 Ps” to ensure summer driver health.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions has a library of 1,000+ training videos on important health and safety topics, including protecting drivers during the summer months. Our videos use microlearning strategies that break the material down into bite-sized chunks, making it easier for drivers to comprehend and retain the information.

For more information on the online training videos available, request a catalog.

Other great posts about summer driver health:
Driver safety tips for the summer
HOT HOT HOT! Sunshine Threatens Truckers
8 Tips for Improving Fuel Efficiency

driver retention

The Struggle for Driver Retention

The number of drivers looking for a job continues to decrease, but the demand for drivers is still increasing. Between driver retention and recruitment issues, the trucking industry is close to a crisis.

Many options have been discussed to deal with the driver shortage, but part of this issue is making sure you put qualified and competent drivers on the road. There isn’t a quick fix to this issue, but there are some things trucking companies can do to bring in the drivers needed to fill the yearly 44% increase in job postings.

Why is There a Driver Shortage?

There are several issues that contribute to the driver shortage. According to anecdotal research done by ATRI, the four biggest issues are compensation, work life balance, being detained when loading and unloading, and truck parking issues.

21.6% of drivers say consistent time home is an issue that will make them leave a company. This number will likely increase as the trucking industry seeks to attract younger drivers.

The aging workforce also contributes to the driver shortage. The combination of drivers retiring, and difficulty recruiting and retaining younger drivers adds to the problem. Younger drivers are difficult to retain once they have 6 months of experience.

Many drivers have also been lost due to changes in the drug screening process. Most drivers who fail their drug tests are leaving the industry rather than completing programs to get back on the road.

The debate over vaccine mandates could cost the industry more drivers. With 36% of drivers stating they have no intention of getting a vaccine, this means these people could move into other industries if the vaccine mandates are instituted.

Unfortunately, 11% of drivers won’t tell you when they are having issues that would make them leave. This makes it difficult to determine the best methods for keeping drivers around. Luckily, there are some areas you can work on to help with driver retention.

How Can You Retain Qualified Drivers?

Truth in compensation is a big issue when it comes to driver retention. Many people leave the industry when they feel they were lied to about salaries. It’s important to make sure drivers are getting paid what they were promised if you want to keep them around.

You can also look at better payment models to keep drivers around. Make the payment process simple with pay per mile and guaranteed payment options. Direct deposit can also help reduce turnover as it keeps drivers from having to track down their checks.

Your equipment also plays a role in the compensation issue. Breakdowns cost drivers money. If they are dealing with equipment breakdown issues regularly, they will leave. You need to ensure that all equipment is well maintained to avoid this issue.

Communication and authority are also key to recruiting and retaining drivers. You need to provide relevant content that drivers can engage with to grab the attention of new drivers. Managing your online company branding is essential to recruiting drivers.

Maintaining communication with drivers once they are hired will help keep them around. Listen to their feedback and make sure they are clear on the policies and procedures necessary. Provide regular training and communications to maintain driver safety and understanding.

Where Can You Find New Drivers?

Understanding where your preferred drivers are likely to be found is important to the recruitment process. This isn’t just about the job searches. This includes social media so you can communicate with them.

Recruiting new drivers is about engaging them. Provide content in places drivers are likely to hang out such as YouTube and Facebook. You can also look at other avenues to recruit younger drivers. Share content on several medias regularly to interact with potential drivers.

55% of drivers will look for new jobs in online searches such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter, or even Google searches. You want to spend time setting up applications in these areas to catch their attention.

Be careful about making the application process simple though. More than 18% of drivers state length of applications as an issue during the hiring process.

You should also get current drivers involved in the recruiting process. 18.9% of recruits look for driver referrals. You can set up a referral bonus program to help with this process. These referral bonuses can help with driver retention as well, since drivers are less likely to leave a company they refer others to.

17.5% of drivers will check out job boards when seeking a job. This means posting openings on these job board sites is still a viable option for driver recruitment. You don’t want to rely solely on these though.

Keep in mind that 76.5% of drivers will check out all the online data they can find about a carrier before deciding to apply. To attract qualified drivers, you need to be aware of the reviews, content, and company data that exists for your company.

How others perceive you online will play a big role in how many applications you receive. Get current drivers involved in helping to strengthen that online presence wherever possible.

Preparing New Drivers

As the trucking industry focuses attention on driver recruitment and driver retention, you don’t want to forget about making sure new drivers are prepared. The best way to do this is to develop a training program that includes orientation, ongoing safety, and corrective action training materials.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions is an online training management platform that allows you to keep up with your training needs without disrupting workflows. Allow your drivers to stay on the road and making money, while ensuring they keep safety top of mind.

Want to learn more about how Infinit-I can help save you money on training and retain qualified drivers? Request a demo to get started.

The New Driver Process ELDT Training

What is the ELDT Mandate?

The Entry-Level Driver Training or ELDT mandate is a federally set minimum on requirements from the FMCSA for training entry-level drivers that went into effect February 7, 2022. This mandate is meant for all states to ensure drivers meet at least the federal minimum requirements on ELDT theory and behind-the-wheel training.

The ELDT requirements pertain to new drivers seeking a Class A or B CDL, drivers upgrading from a Class B to a Class A CDL, or drivers seeking a school (S) endorsement, passenger (P) endorsement, or hazardous material (H) endorsement.

Any drivers seeking one of these licenses or endorsements after February 7, will be required to complete the necessary ELDT curriculum to qualify.

What Does the Mandate Change?

The biggest change involved with new ELDT regulations is the Training Provider Registry. The FMCSA requires that all theory and behind-the-wheel training must be completed through an organization listed on their provider registry to ensure they have the necessary curriculum to meet the new standards.

Another part of the regulation is that drivers must score at least an 80% to pass. All ELDT curriculum must be completed before a new driver can take their CDL exam. This will affect all drivers seeking a CDL or endorsement for the first time.

Rumors Around these Changes

There is some confusion about the ELDT changes, and many rumors are out there about how the new mandate will affect drivers, companies, and the transportation industry. These rumors are around the difficulty of complying to the new regulations and the level of federal control.

To get a good understanding of how the ELDT mandate changes will affect you, it’s important to understand what is true and what is false.

Rumor One: Training will Take Longer to Complete with the New Mandates

Many people are concerned these regulations will make training take longer than it did previously. This is not true. There are no required minimum hours to complete training.

As long as you cover every topic required by the FMCSA regulation, you can complete training in whatever timeframe you need. This means online training programs can help drivers complete theory training in less time than traditional training programs and meet all requirements.

Rumor Two: All Drivers Must Redo Training

Some are concerned that drivers will have to redo training to maintain their current CDL or complete all training to upgrade or get an endorsement. This is also not true.

Drivers only have to complete the training required for their specific needs. This means, current CDL holders will not have to complete ELDT curriculum.

This also means drivers looking to upgrade their license from Class B to A or seek an endorsement, will only have to complete the training for those specific areas.

Rumor Three: Federal Requirements Remove State Requirements

Since the ELDT mandate sets federal minimums for training, many believe this will remove any state mandates in place, but this is not true. The federal regulations set a minimum standard for new drivers.

States can add regulations above these minimums. This means it is important for you to check all state as well as federal regulations when it comes to hiring or providing training for entry-level drivers.

What is Involved in ELDT Curriculum?

The theory instruction involved with the new ELDT mandate involves basic operation of the vehicle and safety procedures. Specific theory curriculum required includes:

  • Basic Operations
  • Safe Operating Procedures
  • Advanced Operating Procedures
  • Vehicle Systems and Reporting Malfunctions
  • Non-Driving Activities

There are also specific curriculum requirements for S, P, and H endorsements which include crash procedures, security, and specific CSA requirements.

Any organization that provides entry-level training is required to register with the FMCSA to ensure training complies with the minimums put in place. This includes schools providing programs, private or other fleets providing internal CDL training, and online training programs.

Internal training programs can also incorporate theory training from another registered organization.

Why Use Online ELDT Theory Curriculum?

Organizations registered with the FMCSA to provide training are subject to audits to ensure they are complying with all mandates.

If your company decides to provide internal training for entry-level drivers, an online training management system like Infinit-I Workforce Solutions can ensure all your documentation is stored and ready to access when needed.

Infinit-I can also take care of all FMCSA reporting requirements for your company. This ensures you never miss a deadline and reduces the stress of compliance with these new regulations.

To see for yourself how easy it is to set up your training with the Infinit-I system, contact us to set up a demo. We can help you meet your training goals, whether it is ELDT, orientation, ongoing, or corrective action training needs.