For many businesses, the most dangerous part of the workday is the time the employees spend in their vehicles.
In fact, transportation crashes are the number one cause of on-the-job deaths in the country, according to the Department of Labor. The leading causes of accidents are often distractions.
From eating, drinking and reading to using a navigation system, adjusting the radio or talking on a cell phone, these tasks can be enough to cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles or slow their reaction time so they’re incapable of responding to roadway emergencies.
Safety experts call distracted driving an epidemic on America’s roadways because thousands of people are killed every year. You (and your employees) are at risk anytime you take your eyes off the road, take your hands off the wheel or even when you’re lost in thought and your mind wanders off your driving responsibilities.
Whether you oversee a fleet of vehicles or manage a sales team who are on the road every day, you need to implement a driver safety program at your workplace to help reduce the risks faced by your employees and protect your company’s bottom line. As a business owner, you’re accountable for the cost of injuries that occur on the job. Crashes could cause a loss in productivity, vehicle and property damage, medical expenses and legal and court costs.
Eight steps to help improve driver safety
To help improve driver safety, review these eight steps.
- Establish a driving safety program. Implement policies that meet or exceed OSHA requirements, U.S. Department of Transportation regulations or state laws. Distraction.gov lists the laws for each state. Consider all potential drivers such as full time, part time or those who drive their own car for work.
- Create a cell phone policy. Safety experts say that employees are four times more likely to crash when they use a cell phone while driving. You should institute a policy that outlines that employee drivers are not permitted to use cell phones, either handheld or hands-free, or read or respond to emails and text messages while driving. To help you put a policy together, refer to the cell phone policy kit by National Safety Council or the sample employer policy by distraction.gov.
- Set your safety standards. Some companies check motor vehicle records of both prospective and current employees. This step can help you avoid hiring someone who has a history of reckless driving and help ensure that your drivers are maintaining good habits. Be sure to implement the appropriate practices for obtaining the MVRs.1
- Educate your employees on the importance of the policy. Employees may not realize how tickets or accidents can affect businesses or their personal driving records. As part of your communication plan, use examples, research and employee case studies so employees develop a deeper understanding of the risks.
- Encourage compliance with the safety program. You could reinforce positive behavior by offering rewards or incentives. On the other hand, if an employee does not comply with the safety programs, outline the consequences.1
- Set up a vehicle maintenance and inspection schedule. Routinely inspecting and maintaining vehicles could help keep employees safe and prevent crashes.
- Consider investing in monitoring technology. Some business owners use cameras, tracking devices or other technologies in the company vehicles to monitor drivers remotely. It can help enforce good driving practices.
- Reinforce the program. Use emails, signs, pay stubs or company meetings as opportunities to keep reinforcing the safety messages.
Erie Insurance’s risk control services can help you develop and implement policies and training to help motivate all your drivers to adopt safe driving habits and to inspect and maintain your vehicles properly. Talk to an Erie Insurance agent for more details.
1Seek legal and professional advice before obtaining motor vehicle records or taking action to discipline an employee due to noncompliance with a safety program. Neither Erie Insurance nor its agent representatives give legal advice.