There are many reasons some trucking companies do not holding regular driver safety meetings. They may include not enough time, too costly, too difficult to get them all in one place, don’t want to take away from home time, and “we use web based training”. One reason that often isn’t voiced, but is a factor, is the fear of confrontation with a driver. Some may be apprehensive about a driver disagreeing or opposing what is being offered in terms of strategy for handling road/traffic conditions. The person leading the training may be someone who has not been driving truck for a number of years so they think things have changed, they may be someone who has never driven truck so they do not feel competent, or they just do not want to argue with a driver especially in front of a group.
The truth is that you don’t have to argue with anyone. One simple tactic can be an effective way of handling almost any objection from a driver. That tactic is to NOT argue with the driver. When confronted with an objection or disagreement from a driver, simply acknowledge what the driver is saying so that you have agreement on what the objection is and then ask the driver’s peers in the group to confirm the objection or offer their own view. Often, the peers will refute the driver’s objection and help confirm your point. A good example is the objection often heard in Value Driven Driving training during the rear- end crash module. Someone will almost always say “you can’t keep a 6 second following distance. As soon as you have that much room someone will cut in front of you and you won’t have 6 seconds anymore.” In this case, a good strategy would be to acknowledge that the driver contends that a 6-second following distance at 65 mph is not possible to which he would agree. You would ask the group if everyone agrees with the driver and you may have some who would agree and some that would not. You would then ask the drivers who do not agree to state why they believe that. A good, spirited discussion is helpful and is usually effective in getting the message across to drivers. This is also why presenting safety topics in a group setting is preferable to individual or web based training. You can’t see the level of acceptance from a driver who is just watching a video presentation by himself.
The next step then would be to go through the steps offered in Value Driven Driving and point out what options would be available in this case, such as doing nothing which would leave the insufficient following distance in place, speed up to close the following distance to teach the driver ahead that pulling in front of you is a dangerous move, or maintain a speed which is slightly slower than the flow of traffic allowing the safe following distance to be created once more. Obviously, the first two options are not good, so if they are presented in a logical progression of available options, the drivers are likely to get the point and agree that the only right thing to do is run at a slightly slower speed.
This would be the preferred way to handle an objection. Treat the drivers with respect, acknowledge their thoughts, and then logically present the options available. The other drivers in the meeting will usually be able to offer their own support to you and your message. Drivers will usually understand that common sense should prevail and require them to do the morally right thing.