Sixty Seconds with Certified Safe Driver Jeff Schneggenburger

Sixty Seconds with Certified Safe Driver Jeff Schneggenburger

This Sixty Seconds with a Certified Safe Driver takes on a different twist. Usually, we interview drivers that just got certified. Today’s interview is with a safety director who is committed to getting his drivers, supervisors and trainers credentialed with the Certified Safe Driver (CSD) designation.

Meet Jeff Schneggenburger, the safety director of Modern Corp., headquartered in Model City, New York. Schneggenburger has been in the waste & recycling industry for five years. Schneggenburger oversees Modern Corp.’s in-house driver training and education programs, and also sought Safe Driver certification, offered by the National Waste and Recycling Association, as an additional resource to help elevate his company’s commitment to safety.

We asked Schneggenburger a few questions, as to how and why Modern Corp. decided to pursue the Certified Safe Driver (CSD) credential for his team:

NWRA: What spurred you to want to get your drivers certified with the Safe Driver Certification?

Jeff Schneggenburger: When the Safe Driver Certification program became available thru NWRA, we wanted to use it to make our driver trainers better qualified to train our new employees. However, before the driver trainers were certified, we asked all our driver supervisors to get certified first. Now, we are into the next phase of getting the driver trainers certified. We felt that training should be consistent with a national standard for the industry.

NWRA: How do you use the Safety Manual to help prepare your drivers for a certification attempt?

Jeff Schneggenburger: We provide the employee with the Safety Manual to take home and read it with a strong concentration on the areas pertaining to vehicles and safe operation of collection vehicles.

NWRA: How did you decide which drivers would start the certification process? What recommendations do you have to other companies who want to get started down the path of Safe Driver certification?

Jeff Schneggenburger: After our driver supervisors were certified, we considered which drivers would make the best trainers. Some of the criteria considered were attitude, experience, attendance, work ethic, past driving record, and ability to complete all required paperwork thoroughly.

NWRA: How, if any, did you incentivize the drivers who took and passed the certification examination?

Jeff Schneggenburger: To incentivize the drivers for preparing for and taking the certification, we agreed to give the driver trainers a small bump in hourly rate while they are training new personnel.

NWRA: What changes in driver behavior have you noticed (on and off the road) as your drivers receive the Certified Safe Driver (CSD) credential?

Jeff Schneggenburger: Our employees who’ve earned the CSD credential have a bigger picture as to what is expected of them and why. For example, they now understand the ANSI standard for high-visibility safety apparel isn’t just a company policy, but a recognized national standard. Our CSD credential holders also have a better understanding of OSHA standards and USDOT’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, and the importance of being in compliance.

NWRA: What feedback have your drivers provided to you on the certification experience? What do they feel they have learned and gained from this process?

Jeff Schneggenburger: The certified drivers sense an increase in respect from other drivers and supervisors, and they understand that there are national standards out there and the importance of completing their jobs consistent with those standards.

NWRA: What does it mean for your company to have drivers who have achieved this credential? 

Jeff Schneggenburger: As a company we always strive for zero accidents, so we hope for a lower accident rate, fewer DOT violations (which ultimately saves money), as well as better training of new employees.

Jeff NWRA: Why would you encourage other companies to support their drivers in getting certified? 

Schneggenburger: For all of the reasons we have discussed, we think it makes sense for other companies like ours to take advantage of this program as it contributes to our industry’s overall safety goals.

Tiffany Jones is the director of certification for the National Waste & Recycling Association. To learn more about the Certified Safe Driver certification, and how your drivers can earn this industry-specific credential, visit the Certification page of the NWRA website, or email [email protected]

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