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Driver Safety Training: Trucking Companies Must Cover These 12 Topics

The commercial driver shortage has been trending across fleets for years. The industry currently faces its second-largest number of vacancies on record, with a shortage of 78,000 drivers reported in 2022. With this in mind, companies must strategize ways to retain their drivers. By devoting the right resources and time to each driver’s success, you can better ensure that your drivers are safe, confident and satisfied within their roles.

To get you started, we’ve come up with 12 truck driver safety topics that fleets need to continuously train their drivers on.

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7 Fundamentals of Effective Defensive Driving for Truckers

12 Crucial Truck Driver Safety Training Topics for Fleets

Inexperienced Drivers

If you’re hiring someone out of school or with less than a year’s experience, consider assigning the following lessons.

  • Driver Qualifications
  • Driver Wellness
  • Hours of Service
  • Hours of Service — No Sleeper
  • Whistleblower Protection

Experienced Drivers

You should use a different training plan for drivers with years of experience. However, remember that experience alone may create bad habits. Focusing on specific skills and new regulatory updates will help keep your more seasoned drivers engaged and stop complaints about “basic” training.

  • Month 1: CSA Overview
  • Month 2: GHS / Hazard Communication
  • Month 3: Roadside Inspections
  • Month 4: Hours of Service
  • Month 5: Air Brakes
  • Month 6: Driver Wellness


For drivers who must get re-certified for Hazmat, the following courses will help prepare them for the test.

  • Hazmat Communication Rules
  • Hazmat Driving and Parking Rules
  • Hazmat Loading and Placarding
  • Hazmat Security Awareness

Speeding Violation Remediation

Speeding is a symptom of other issues. For new drivers, they may think they can make better money if they complete more tasks in a smaller amount of time. More experienced drivers may be running late or driving while distracted. When you learn why the driver was speeding, you can better address the root of the problem with proactive, targeted training.

  • Speed Management
  • Space Management Enhanced
  • Fuel Management
  • Road Rage
  • Rear End Collision Avoidance
  • Driver Distractions
  • Defensive Driving Enhanced
  • Roadside Inspections
  • Trip Planning

Logbook Violation Remediation

With electronic logs so ingrained in the trucking world, we’re seeing fewer of these specific violations. The problems you see have more to do with either not knowing how to use the equipment or not knowing how to classify time.

  • CSA Overview
  • Hours of Service
  • Logbooks
  • Roadside Inspections
  • Driver Disqualifications

Equipment Violation Remediation

A malfunctioning or burned-out lamp can be the excuse a trooper needs to pull over a driver and inspect the vehicle. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may want to create a basic group with some of these lessons, then assign specific lessons (Flatbeds, Combination Vehicles, etc) to an individual.

  • Pre-Trip Inspection
  • Trip Planning
  • Roadside Inspections
  • DVIR Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Air Brakes
  • Cargo Securement
  • Coupling/Uncoupling
  • Flatbed Safety
  • Tanker Pre-Trip

Minor Crash Remediation

“Little” bumps and scrapes in parking lots or loading areas can be frustrating for safety managers to deal with. The root cause of these preventable crashes is typically overconfidence or rushing.

  • Avoiding Fixed Objects
  • Backing and Docking
  • Backing and Docking Enhanced
  • Driver Distractions
  • Trailer Loading and Unloading


For any driver who walks through warehouses — which is nearly all drivers —injury prevention training courses reinforce the “head on a swivel” habit.

  • Workplace Awareness
  • Safe Lifting Driver
  • Safe Operation of Manual Pallet Jacks
  • Back Injury Prevention
  • Lift Gate Safety
  • Trailer Loading/Unloading

It can also be impactful to assign forklift lessons. Although they do not meet the qualifications for a forklift license, they serve as a great refresher.

  • Forklift Fundamentals
  • Forklift Operations
  • Forklift Propane and Battery Replacement

Medium-Duty Truck

For drivers without a CDL or for those moving from heavy-duty trucks to medium-duty trucks and commercial fleets, specific training should be required. The following lessons are made for drivers of medium-duty trucks.

  • Avoiding Fixed Objects
  • Backing and Docking
  • Communication
  • Defensive Driving
  • Driver Distractions
  • Hazard Awareness
  • Lift Gate Safety
  • Night Driving
  • Seat Belts
  • Space Management
  • Speed Management
  • Visual Search
  • Winter Driving


Tanker training is needed to ensure drivers are aware of the safety implications. Such training can help stop events like tanker truck rollovers.

  • Tanker PPE
  • Tanker Pre-Trip
  • Tanker Rollovers

Regulations and Rules

Regulations help both new and experienced drivers understand why things are done a certain way. Training on these rules and regulations can go a long way toward eliminating gripes.

  • Crash Procedures
  • CDL Basics
  • CSA Overview
  • Customs Security Awareness
  • Driver Disqualifications
  • Driver Qualifications
  • Environment
  • Hours of Service
  • Hours of Service — No Sleeper
  • Logbooks
  • Roadside Inspections
  • Whistle Blower Protection


Putting all drivers through training courses before they hit the road helps establish a fleet’s commitment to safety and performance. Proper new driver orientation can dramatically reduce the amount of time, cost and hours needed to onboard new employees.

Training is an Investment in Driver Satisfaction

Safety training for trucking companies is one of many ways in which drivers can feel valued and appreciated by their employer. It also promotes safer driving habits, protecting your drivers, your company and the community at large.

Want to dive a little deeper? Explore our free checklist and discover the 7 fundamentals of defensive driver training every fleet should cover!

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