Online training pays off for RBX Inc. by cutting backing accidents
As vice president of operations for general-commodities carrier RBX Inc., Jon Peavey wanted a training program to reduce what is both the most common - and, in his view, the most preventable - type of accident in trucking: Hitting obstacles while backing up.
It’s often a problem for beginning drivers. RBX, based in Springfield, Mo., and operating in the Midwest and Southeast, runs its own student-driver-training program. “When they go through the driver training program the biggest issue is backing,” Peavey says. There are good reasons for that. A 53-foot trailer has a lot of blind spots, and steering is tricky, especially if a driver has to make a 90-degree turn while backing into a loading dock.
“It takes a lot of practice to get good at it,” Peavey says.
Backing up safely can be an issue for experienced drivers too. Individually, the incidents may not represent much in damages, but over time the collisions with poles, loading docks, other vehicles and obstacles, along with damage to tractors and trailers, can add up, potentially leading to higher insurance rates. That’s bad for both company and drivers.
Peavey and RBX have found what they believe is a way to reduce those backing incidents: online training provided by Impact e-Learning, powered by CarriersEdge and provided through Impact Solutions Inc.
Impact Solutions helps transportation companies find and keep truck drivers, teaching recruiting and retention techniques through seminars, webcasts, consulting, and e-learning for drivers and employees. Kelly Anderson, Impact Solutions’ president, says the breadth of the catalog of topics covered by CarriersEdge courses, and the flexibility and ease of the system,, made it a great fit for RBX.
“Since RBX has around 200 drivers, it’s impossible to get all of them in the same place at one time, and it’s very difficult to provide consistent and on-going professional development to them,” Anderson says. “Impact e-Learning, powered by CarriersEdge, makes it possible to have ongoing training that drivers can do wherever they are, and the mobile app makes accessing the content even easier.”
Backing up is one of more than 70 subjects covered in the Impact e-Learning library of full-length and refresher courses available to fleets and their drivers. While RBX began by assigning specific courses to specific drivers to address specific problems, such as backing, RBX now assigns several topics a month for all of its 200 drivers to review (it also provides small cash incentives for completing those courses).
RBX is seeing results, Peavey adds. Even though it’s been in place for only six months, and use is still being ramped up, RBX has already seen an 8 percent decrease in backing incidents. “We expect to see a cycle of continuous improvement as more drivers get comfortable with using online training and take more courses,” he says.
Peavey is a fan of online training for its ease of use and accessibility. While RBX has a computer set up at its headquarters for taking courses, the vast majority of its drivers take courses remotely. “I can go a month without seeing one of my drivers, but online courses help them keep up with their training,” he says. Easy-to-navigate administrative tools take the headaches out of managing the safety training program while providing valuable data on who has taken the course and how they performed on built in quizzes and exams.
The recruitment and retention aspect of training is important to RBX and Peavey. RBX is posting 10 percent growth this year. A big reason for that growth is that it’s able to hold on to drivers, by improving their performance and productivity through training, at a time when many in the industry are struggling to find employees.
Impact e-Learning also makes it easy for customers to add material to and customize their courses with videos, manuals or company news. “It’s a great way to bridge the communications gap with drivers who spend so much time on the road,” Anderson says
RBX didn’t start online training with this solution, but it made the switch on the advice of Anderson and Impact Solutions. Peavey is glad he did so. “Impact eLearning is a lot more interactive and offers better training, than what we were using before,” he says. “It’s just a better system and our drivers learn. We’re very pleased with the training modules -- we plan to continue on and it will only improve our operation.”