Last month, I had the pleasure of speaking at Home Delivery World, one of the biggest retail logistics conferences in North America. This industry has grown by 3000% (no, that extra zero isn't a typo!) over the last five years, and it's showing no signs of slowing down.

The proliferation of delivery vehicles on streets and highways raises many important safety challenges that companies are only just learning how to address. Many of them still don't fully understand the hazards their drivers are facing, or what they can do to prevent accidents. That was the subject of my talk, From First Mile to Last Mile: The Hazards Drivers Face and What to Do About It. 


Many Hazards, Little Training Lead to More Deaths

Unlike drivers of semi-trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles, delivery drivers aren't required to have a CDL. They're usually subject to far less vetting and training. Combine this with hazardous driving conditions like traffic, narrow streets and pedestrians, and it's no surprise that truck-related deaths in this sector are on the rise, even as overall truck-related deaths have been decreasing for years.

The top 5 incidents on the road can all be reduced with better driver training.

Incident Causes
Rear-end collisions - Following too closely
- Distracted driving
Speeding - Driving too fast for conditions
- Hazard awareness
Hitting fixed object - Space management
- Distracted Driving
Slips, trips and falls - Distractions
- Hazard awareness
Improper lane changes - Driving too fast for conditions
- Distracted driving
- Driver communication
- Hazard awareness


Even seemingly small events, like backing into a mailbox,  can lead to major accidents down the road if left unaddressed.


The Ingredients of a Good Safety Training Program

At ITI, we recommend that a good safety training program should address, at a minimum, the following topics:

- Pre-trip Inspections - Space Management - Speed Management - Scanning for Hazards
- Communicating with Others - Lane Changes/ Intersections - Avoiding Fixed Objects/ Close Quarters - Adverse Conditions/ Emergency Maneuvers
- Distracted Driving - Fatigue Management - Mirror Setting  


We offer online driver training in all these subjects and more. Of course, better training is just one piece of the puzzle. It's also imperative that fleets do a better job of vetting and managing their drivers. We've worked with fleets to help them do a better job of hiring and retaining skilled drivers, which leads to safer roads and higher profits. I'd call that a win-win.

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