Fleets of all sizes rely on yard drivers to move trailers safely and efficiently around the yard, yet little training exists to help these drivers learn the unique skills this role demands. To close that gap, J.J. Keller & Associates has introduced a hands-on yard driver training program as part of its J.J. Keller Safe & Smart Driver Training.
“Skilled yard drivers are invaluable in maintaining yard efficiency and avoiding costly damage to vehicles,” said Mark Schedler, senior transportation management editor at J.J. Keller. “Due to the tight spaces and other workers present in the yard, the risks from backing, striking fixed objects, and incidents involving pedestrians is high, particularly during nighttime movements.”
Drivers who operate yard trucks in any area open to public travel, even if on private property, are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, with off-highway operations covered by OSHA safety regulations. This means these drivers must also understand which regulations apply to them and how to stay in compliance.
J.J. Keller’s yard driver training delivers a curriculum of online courses combined with classroom and range training customized to cover the relevant regulatory requirements faced by each client. The training covers vehicle controls, vehicle inspections, maneuvering and backing, and coupling and uncoupling. Training is provided by a veteran J.J. Keller instructor using a company yard truck or rented comparable vehicle to ensure the training is as relevant as possible.
“Hands-on training is essential for helping yard drivers truly understand how to operate safely,” Dustin Kufahl, J.J. Keller’s director of driver training, said in a press release. “That’s why we designed our new yard driver training program to include a range experience that gives drivers the opportunity to apply their newfound knowledge, skills and behaviors in a safe, closed-course environment.”