With safety as a primary focus, Saia prioritizes proper driver training to keep drivers and others safe on the road while protecting freight along the way. Through its Dock-to-Driver Program, Saia trains those enrolled to become proficient, safe driving professionals holding a Certified Driver License (CDL) with all the necessary endorsements.
About the Dock-to-Driver Program
As a way of mitigating the driver shortage facing the industry, Saia implemented its Dock-to-Driver Program to recruit dockworkers who desire to become qualified drivers and to supplement its recruitment of experienced drivers. Saia’s Dock-to-Driver Program offers in-depth training for dockworkers transitioning to truck drivers — using a combination of textbook teaching, behind-the-wheel instruction and Smith System® training to instill driver safety.
After five weeks of extensive classroom and in-cab training, new drivers train behind the wheel with one of Saia’s 350 driver-trainers. During this period, drivers work an actual route, putting in more than 40 supervised hours to help ensure their understanding of the practices and procedures they learned in their training.
In total, a new driver undergoing this training program receives a minimum of 240 hours of supervised training before taking control of his or her own route.
A New Driver’s Point of View
Ralph Miss, a recent graduate of Saia’s Dock-to-Driver Program, came to Saia with little professional driving experience. However, he very quickly saw the benefits Saia brought to not only him and his new career, but to his general awareness of safe driving.
“This program has enriched my view of safety and safe driving habits,” said Miss. “I used to think it was a simple job, but this program has shown that you have to be a trained professional to do this with an eye to safety at all times.”
For example, wearing a seat belt at all times, checking mirrors every few seconds and ensuring a point-of-contact when exiting the tractor are all actions that protect the driver and create a safer environment for all travelers on the road.
“I have learned safe driving procedures that I can use every day, not just while I’m on the road in my truck,” Miss continued. “This training is something I can take with me the rest of my life and pass along to others.”
The Role of the Instructor
Dock-to-Driver Program Instructor Nelson Moyet brings a wealth of experience, and related real-life insights, to his role. Having gone through driver training more than 20 years ago, Moyet has witnessed how these safety training programs have changed over time.
“Our program far exceeds the training available back when I was a brand new driver,” said Moyet. “Today, our new drivers are supplied with the best tools and procedures so that they can directly apply this training to their everyday routes.”
Training for new – and experienced – drivers promotes workplace safety, brings value and satisfaction, and prepares employees to best control the situations around them. Ensuring truck drivers are qualified and understand how to apply safety training could be a matter of life or death on the road, and Saia’s Dock-to-Driver Program makes these efforts a priority.
Watch this video to get an exclusive look at Nelson teaching dock-to-driver students how to drive and be safe on the road. Learn more about Saia’s safety initiatives by viewing this Safety Infographic.