A simple definition of driving is the control and operation of a motor vehicle. But a truck driver road test goes beyond mere driving or it would end in the parking lot. A good road test should assess the driver on their defensive driving skills.
ANSI/ASSE Z15.1, defines defensive driving skills as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.”
Defensive driving is really about having a positive attitude toward driving.
The road test needs to be standardized— meaning everyone takes the same test under the same conditions and are tested in the same way. It should not matter which examiner conducts the road test.
- Driver cannot control the vehicle in traffic
- Failure to follow traffic control devices as signs or traffic lights
- Failure to yield right of way
- Driver becomes involved in an collision during the test.
- Driver is confused.
- Failure to check mirrors (for at least 1 full second)
- Failure to conduct traffic checks at intersections
- Failure to check for trains at rail crossings.
- Failure to look ahead when driving
- Improper turn
- improper lane change
- Failure to signal intentions, or improper use of signals
- Tunnel vision
- Not aware of warning signs when asked
- Running over curbs or solid marker lines
- Not covering the brake when appropiate to do so
- Failure to wear safety belt (seat belt)
- Running lights or stop signs
- Loss of control
Invest in Safety
A good road test could result in a fair percentage of failures. But this is what insurance companies mean when they say motor carriers need to invest in safety. A good road test is a solid investment. Top companies willingly make that investment. This is one of the most important things that the safety-elite companies do that makes them elite.
Too many organizations do not road test their drivers. Don’t be one of them. The stakes are too high.
If you have interstate drivers of vehicles between 10,001 pounds and 20,001 pounds GVWR, then all drivers must be road tested per federal regulations.
If your organization does not have adequate resources to conduct a road test, then an acceptable option is to have a third-party conduct the road test for you. Perhaps you have a local truck driving school nearby, or can “borrow” the safety manager from a local company to run the test.
More and more doctors are ordering road tests before releasing injured drivers back to work. They see the benefits of another opinion.
One company I consulted with has a retired driver who does road test check rides with each of their drivers, at least once a year. He then points out to them various areas in which they can become aware of bad habits and improve their driving. This is an example of investing in pro-active safety.
If you need help in setting up road-testing for your drivers, one person to check out is your insurance agent or broker. Many times they may have resources available or can tap into their carrier’s loss control section for additional resources or advice, at no cost to you.
Investing in safety with a solid road testing program can not only result in a safer organization and lower insurance premiums, but higher productivity and other intangible benefits.
This ends the four part series on the DOT Road Test.
Thank you for reading this.