How to Achieve Fleet Safety Certification: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses

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Written By: Merchants Fleet

What Is Fleet Safety Certification?

Fleet safety certification is comprehensive training that demonstrates that your drivers and/or employees have undergone specific driving and fleet education courses.

Types of Certifications

There are several different fleet safety certifications; some of the most popular options include:

OSHA Fleet Safety Certification

This course from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration consists of seven modules that take approximately five hours to complete. The course is free to access but requires a payment of $20.99 if you would like to obtain a PDF certificate (or $32.99 for an original certificate). Key topics include the elements of a fleet safety program, cost of vehicle accidents, licensing, accident investigations, and more.

North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI) Certifications

NATMI offers a number of certifications, including:

  • Certified Director of Safety
  • Certified Safety Supervisor
  • Certified Driver Trainer
  • Certified Director of Maintenance/Equipment
  • Certified Supervisor of Maintenance/Equipment
  • Certified Cargo Security Professional

The time commitment and pricing varies depending on the certification. The price for all certifications, except for the Certified Cargo Security Professional, includes all required courses, the certification application, testing fee, certification kit, and a 1-year membership to NATMI.

National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI) Certification

NTSI offers fleet driver training programs with a curriculum that can be customized to your needs and budget. Options include the SAFER DriverTM Challenge, Van & High Profile Vehicle Defensive Driver Training Program, and CDL Refresher. There is also an Inclement Weather SAFER Fleet Driver Training that explores adjusting to changing visibility and hazardous road conditions. Contact NTSI for pricing.

National Safety Council (NSC) Defensive Driving Certification

The National Safety Council has trained more than 80,000 drivers around the world since its inception in 1964. Options include a mix of online and in-person training. Choose from online defensive driving courses; a course about NSC fleet essentials; NSC-authorized, instructor-led defensive driving classes; state driver improvement programs; courses for professional truck and van drivers; and more.

Online courses are self-paced and available 24/7; participants will receive a certification upon completion. Pricing will vary.

DriveSafe Online Certification

DriveSafe offers a variety of online, mobile-friendly learning options depending on your time allotment and budget. Courses range from 1–8 hours with a 1-hour course in Spanish also available. You can also customize driver courses depending on your goals or company objectives.

Pricing starts at $18.95 per person (with a minimum of 10 courses required for that pricing), but large discounts are available depending on the size of your fleet.

National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) Certification

The Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM) certification from NAFA is divided into eight disciplines: asset management, business management, financial management, information management, maintenance management, professional development, risk management, and vehicle fuel management. To secure a certification, you must pass all disciplines within a 3-year period. NAFA also offers a Sustainable Fleet Management Certificate.

The cost of the CAFM certification is $1,600 for NAFA members and $2,700 for non-members. Group discounts are also available.

How to Prepare for Certification

Preparation methods and materials will vary depending on the certification program. Most offer study guides and reference material; some may feature on-demand, pre-recorded webinars. Regardless of the type of certification, it’s important to ensure that your employees have the time and resources available to properly prepare for any type of test or assessment.

The Certification Process

The process is typically the same for most types of certifications, but there will be differences depending on whether the certification you choose is online or in person. Employees will take the course within an allotted time frame, complete any necessary classroom training and/or hands-on training (if applicable), study and review the materials as needed, and pass the corresponding assessment.

How To Implement a Safety Program

While certification is certainly a key component of fleet safety, there are best practices and steps you can take to implement a successful program within your organization or company.

  • Make sure you have the support. The first step is to ensure you have leadership buy-in before implementing any type of program.
  • Assess your state of fleet safety. What’s currently working, and what isn’t? What do the numbers say? In what areas would you like to improve? These are all important questions to ask before you set any goals.
  • Define your goals. Identify where you’d like to improve and then set actionable, measurable goals. Be as specific as possible.
  • Develop policies and procedures. It’s important to make sure any existing or new policies and procedures align with local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Require fleet safety certification. Provide driver education and training from at least one of the programs we listed.
  • Keep up to date on fleet maintenance. Implement a regular preventative maintenance schedule for all fleet vehicles.
  • Use the power of connected technology. Make sure you’re using telematics and other monitoring tools to track driver behavior.
  • Create and maintain a culture of safety. It’s one thing to implement safety best practices; it’s another to truly believe in a culture devoted to improved driver behavior and fleet safety. As a fleet manager, it’s important to continuously promote safe driving behavior and educational programs and address any safety concerns as soon as possible.
  • Review safety policies on a regular basis. It’s crucial to review and update your policies and procedures if you want to have an effective fleet safety program. Regulations and laws may change, which means you need to stay on top of the latest news and trends and make these adjustments within your own safety program.

The Importance of Maintaining Standards Post-Certification

A fleet safety certification is only as good as the employees who abide by and believe in maintaining the utmost in fleet safety best practices. Since rules and regulations are constantly evolving, maintaining high standards is key to ensuring the ongoing safety of your drivers and others on the road.

This type of continued education and operation improvement can also help you identify potential safety hazards and risks. It also helps demonstrate — to both your customers and employees — that fleet safety is a top priority, which can set you apart as both a competitor and employer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which fleet certification is the best?

The “best” is subjective, but each certification we listed follows local, state, and federal regulations and guidelines. The type of certification you choose will depend on your budget, time commitment, and preferred learning method. You also have the option of obtaining multiple certifications.

How much does fleet certification cost?

The cost will depend on the certifying entity. Some certifications are less than $30 per person while others are thousands of dollars. In many cases, group discounts are available.

Is fleet certification required?

Fleet certification isn’t required, but it does demonstrate to customers and employees that you take fleet safety seriously.

What are the benefits of fleet certification?

Benefits include improved driver behavior, improved customer service, a reduction in accidents, and reduced costs.

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