up close photo of a road with the yellow line, driver road test

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Administering a road test is a recommended best practice for agencies as part of the driver authorization process. Satisfactory completion of the road test should be a qualification requirement, especially where clients are being transported. In addition, it also provides an opportunity to coach drivers on any at risk driving behaviors and makes a statement about the agency’s commitment to accident prevention.

Driving Test Administrator

The person administering the road test can be an experienced manager, supervisor, or senior employee who is familiar with safe driving principles and has the ability to give instructions and feedback in a tactful manner. They should be objective, knowledgeable of equipment and company driving policies.

Setting Up the Road Test

A road test route should be developed in advance for consistency and avoiding any perception of bias or discrimination. The route should include a variety of driving conditions that will be encountered on the drivers’ normal job. Conditions may include urban, rural, different types of controlled intersections, interstate, parking lots, etc. Driving maneuvers should include turns, lane change, merge on and off a highway. If parking and backing at the driver’s work location has special challenges (group home), it should be done under those conditions if possible. Time of day/night may also be important considerations depending on the role. The length should be adequate enough to allow for actual driving habits to surface (at least 15 minutes actual driving time). The vehicle used should be similar to the one that will be driven in the driver’s regular job. The driver’s personal vehicle may be used if they will be driving their own vehicle for work instead of a company vehicle. Where equipment such as lifts are used, this would also be a good opportunity for a practical demonstration of safe use by the driver. For organizations with multiple locations, multiple road test routes and administrators may be needed.

Documentation

A road test form should be used for documentation. It is recommended that each organization develop a customized form to meet their specific needs. Many states have road test forms available through their department of motor vehicles. A sample road test form can be in the Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety provided by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (page 37).

Conducting the Road Test

Before the road test begins, the administrator should check the drivers’ license to ensure it is valid and that any restrictions (such as glasses) are acceptable. A pre-test discussion should be conducted to put the driver at ease including review of the road test form and the route. The administrator should make it clear that regardless of any directions given, the driver should not do anything that is asked if it is not safe to do so. Stress that while you are assessing overall driving habits and attitude towards driving, it is not intended to catch every mistake.

The road test should start with the driver conducting a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle according to the standards established by the company. During the road test the administrator should give clear directions well in advance of the maneuvers required. For example, at the next light you will need to be in the left hand turn lane, then get in the right lane to merge onto the interstate heading north.

Using the road test form as a guide, the administrator should observe the driver’s behavior, eye movement, demeanor and reactions to driving conditions. Observations should be recorded on the road test form during the test. Coaching and feedback should be reserved for the discussion at the end of the road test, unless immediate direction is needed to avoid a collision.

Upon completion of the driving portion, a coaching discussion may be needed to address any concerns noted. Where additional training is warranted, it should be noted on the form. If it appears that the driver has not successfully passed the road test, the administrator should not tell the driver directly as it may affect employment decisions. In this case, the administrator should defer to the hiring manager or human resources. The completed road test form should be forwarded to the hiring manager or human resources and should be kept in the personnel file.

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Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

This information is provided for general educational purposes only. This information is not intended to provide you with legal advice or legal counsel, and is not intended to assure compliance with or complete analysis of any law, rule or regulation. In addition, this information should not be interpreted to imply that all exposures, hazards or loss potentials on any subject or issue were identified or considered. No warranty, or guaranty of accuracy, fitness or suitability, express or implied, is granted with respect to any of the information contained herein.