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What is corrective action training? The what, when, how, and why


The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently released its Crash Predictor report and identified the top five driver behaviors that predict the increased likelihood of that driver being involved in a crash. The list includes a failure to yield right-of-way violation, a past crash, and failure to obey a traffic sign conviction.

These driver behaviors are ones that motor carriers should be noticing and addressing. Even your best drivers will have the occasional incident or accident, but if a driver makes the same mistake more than once, it’s time for corrective action training.

What is corrective action training?

Corrective action training, sometimes referred to as remedial training, is a brief, targeted training session focused on an individual driver in response to an accident, violation, or complaint.

For example, Jorge is an excellent driver, but you just received a complaint about him not leaving enough following distance. A month later, he almost rear-ends the vehicle in front of him. Corrective action training should be used to address Jorge’s space management issue.

When should you use corrective action training?

The goal of corrective action training is to address and correct a minor issue, problem, or bad habit before it escalates into something major that could lead to a serious accident and/or violation. This means that the training should be conducted as soon after the problem is identified as is practical.

In our example, it probably isn’t necessary to conduct corrective action training after Jorge receives the initial complaint, but once another related incident occurs, it’s time for training. Jorge is on an overnight run, but you schedule a short block of time to meet with him the day after tomorrow to review appropriate following distance.

How do you successfully implement and administer a corrective action training program?

First, you need to have an active monitoring program that identifies candidates who would benefit from this type of training and the areas of safety and compliance that need attention. Citations, accidents, and insurance claims are all ways to identify drivers and the areas that may need reinforcement or correction.

Once you have identified an issue, you need to select a means of instruction. The instruction should be relatively brief (no more that 5 to 10 minutes) and focused on the specific problem area. For example, Jorge doesn’t have any problems adhering to hours-of-service limits, so don’t spend time re-training him on the regulations; only train to address the skill that has been identified as a weakness — space management.

Once training is completed, continue to monitor the driver to verify that the corrective action training is working. This lets the driver know you are serious and provides you with proof that there is a change in behavior. You should monitor Jorge’s driving for the next several months and keep an eye out for any other incidents or complaints related to space management.

Corrective action training should also be linked to your company’s disciplinary policy. If you provide Jorge with corrective action training on space management, but he continues to tailgate other vehicles, both you and Jorge need to have a clear understanding of what the next step is.

How you use corrective action training within your disciplinary policy is a business decision. It should work hand-in-hand with your other policies, any state labor laws, and contracts or agreements you have with your employees that may apply.

Finally, document everything. Your training program is only as good as your documentation of it. All training, including corrective action training and follow-up monitoring, should be recorded to show who was trained, who conducted the training, what the training covered, when the training happened, and the amount of time spent on the training.

Why should you use corrective action training?

There are two big reasons to use corrective action training: increase safety and reduce liability.

  • Increase safety. Providing your drivers with short, targeted training when an issue first becomes apparent should reduce the number of accidents, incidents, and complaints that your motor carrier has to respond to. This saves time and money and also results in lower Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores and lower insurance rates.
  • Decrease liability. Corrective action training can’t prevent all accidents, but if you end up in court, you can mitigate your liability if you’re able to show a solid training program. Having documentation of all training, including corrective action training, will show a jury that your company is serious about safety.

    If Jorge later rear ends a vehicle, you want to be able to show that you addressed the problem through training and that Jorge’s space management improved as a result of the training.

Key to remember: Corrective action training should be used to address and correct a minor issue, problem, or bad habit before it escalates into something major that could lead to a serious accident and/or violation.