A ‘Letter of Instruction’ is an official document that requires awareness of legal issues, as well as your company’s policies around warnings and disciplinary action. It should also include some kind of motivational words about changing behavior to benefit both driver and carrier.

Already know what an LOI is? Want to skip straight to the download of the template?

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We have given you this sample, as well as a Word or PDF document that you can download as a template to use to make your own‘Letter of Instruction’. Basically, here’s what you need to include.

  • Use company letter head and make it official
  • An intro that is clear – we have a problem that needs to be addressed
  • Company & FMCSA policy and legal ramifications
  • Potential consequences for the driver if the behavior occurs again or does not change
  • What the driver can do to change the behavior and be successful in the future

While it’s easy to get frustrated with your drivers when they break the rules or operate in an unsafe manor, it’s important to put yourself in their shoes. They haven’t seen all the lawsuits you have. In their minds they are just doing their job in the best way they can – often thinking that they are doing you a favor by operating in exactly they way you want to avoid.

‘Letters of Instruction’ are a good first step when a driver needs to change behavior on the road. They cover you and the company legally, and show that you have a set of steps in place to address issues, eventually leading up to disciplinary action. This letter lets them know that there are serious ramifications involved if they get cited for a safety violation.

  • TIP: Consider timing the letter to arrive while the driver is on the road – so the spouse is the first one to read it. This puts you in the position of helping solve an issue at home, and makes you a resource as much as a disciplinarian.

CLICK on the highlighted text in the letter to see why certain words or language are included…

Mr. Gordon,

We are sending you this letter to remind you that speeding is a very real concern here at ABC Trucking, and . This Letter of Instruction informs you that we will soon be launching a zero tolerance speeding policy, and reminds you that we have always encouraged safety .

According to the FMCSA, the leading cause of crashes in commercial trucking is “decision based.” With speeding in particular, this means that you as a driver chose to speed. This makes you legally responsible, and accountable for fines, penalties and even legal action.

For this reason, we give our drivers plenty of time in load assignments, based on destination and our company’s speed limit guidelines. You should have plenty of time to arrive on time without violating speed laws. If you don’t have enough time, you need to inform operations immediately.

We looked at your speed performance for the week of 10/30 to 11/5. We are concerned  that there were 27 incidents where you were traveling at 10+ mph over the posted speed with two of these incidents clocking in at 15+ mph over the limit. .

If you had you been pulled over and ticketed in this jurisdictions where the incidents occurred, any citation would have resulted in a fine of up to $173.00. This also would have resulted in a 30 point increase to your CSA driver’s score. Most of the 27 reported incidents were within small towns. In either of the cases where you were exceeding 15+ MPH on non-interstate roads, the action would also be considered reckless driving. A reckless driving citation would have resulted in another additional 30 points to your CSA score.

Please be aware that our insurance company considers 15+ mph or more over the posted speed limit as reckless. A reckless incident report would mean they would no longer cover any vehicle you operate for us. keep you on as a driver.

We consider you to be an important part of our organization. Our records show that in the past five years, you’ve driven over 500,000 safe miles with no call-offs, no late loads and no unsafe CSA points. and we want to provide you with the tools and training needed for you continue to drive safely for us.

When you have a few minutes, please contact the Compliance department so we can share with you the tools we have in place to assist you. Let’s get this issue resolved so we can move forward and keep you on the road doing the great job you have always done.

Sincerely,

The end of the letter should be signed by the safety manager.  A copy should be placed in the driver’s file and a copy should go to operations so they understand that if the driver gets pulled over it could impact delivery times.

As safety managers, we want to take care of our drivers. We don’t want to seem like a hammer looking for a nail. Some TIPS for what you can tell your drivers:

  • Obeying the speed limit is very important for keeping them on the team.
  • You and the company are trying to protect the driver from the DOT, the trial lawyers and the motoring public.
  • As a company, you have to consider how your insurance provider will react to a citation.
  • Make sure the driver knows that you are on his/her side, but they need to meet you in the middle to make sure they are staying compliant with the driver safety program you have in place.

Give us your name and email, and we’ll send you both Word and PDF downloads of a ‘Letter of Instruction’ you can use with your drivers.

GET THE TEMPLATE >>

This letter could be used as evidence in court. By mentioning the FMCSA, the company is showing that it strives to be in compliance with state and federal regulations.
This is a further legal safeguard. Should further disciplinary action be needed, if the driver decides to involve his attorney, this lets them know that the company’s safety policy was made known to the driver at the point of hire
We have attached 3 of these incident reports
This is why it’s recommended to send the letter when the driver is on the road so that his wife reads it first. Her concern will be more than enough motivation for the driver to take the letter seriously and to reach out for coaching. Also, by mentioning the insurance company’s guidelines, they will realize that terminable decisions are a result of the insurance policy, and thereby out of the company’s hands.
When a driver receives a warning or a letter of instruction, it can be easy for them to think that their hard work is not appreciated. It’s important to let them know that the reason for the letter is not to punish them, but rather an attempt to make sure the driver and the company can continue to work together for many years to come.
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