Some of the statistics on vehicle crashes are startling. For example, a vehicle crash occurs every five seconds, someone is injured in a vehicle crash every 10 seconds, and someone dies in a car crash every 12 minutes. Since most of these crashes occur on workdays or while a person is commuting to or from work, employers are often impacted by these crashes and also bear a cost as the employee involved in the accident misses work.
In fact, the above vehicle crash statistics are directly from the Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes booklet that was produced by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, OSHA, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The booklet provides employers with a simple driver safety program that can be implemented in the workplace. The program is only 10 steps and is applicable to businesses of all sizes, with or without a fleet of company vehicles, and regardless of whether personal or company vehicles are driven by employees throughout the work day.
The 10 steps of the driver safety program:
- Involve all levels of staff in the initial planning phase of the driver safety program. You need employees to be involved and a commitment from your senior management. Remember, employees that see management disregarding or not abiding by the new program aren’t very likely to value or abide by it either.
- Compose a written policy and procedure with explicit and enforceable rules regarding driver safety. These rules should be centrally posted and periodically distributed to all your employees. Department managers can further discuss these rules during department and in-service meetings.
- You should also have all employees, regardless of whether they are driving their own or a company vehicle, sign a safety contract. By signing the document, the employee is acknowledging that they’ve read and understood your policy and is agreeing to follow it.
- Keep driving records on all employees. You can set up a time to periodically review the records for any drivers with driving violations. Make sure that your policy clearly specifies how many violations will result in an employee having their company-related driving privileges revoked.
- Part of the safety program should be creating a process to report and investigate all crashes, even those that are minor. Your policy should make it mandatory for employees to report any vehicle accident they’re involved in. The process should also establish a method of investigation to determine how and why the crash happened and if it was preventable.
- The selection, maintenance, and inspection of your company fleet should also have a specific set of guidelines. The guidelines might include considering the safety features offered by various models when selecting new fleet vehicles, routine maintenance being performed in accordance with the mileage interval recommended by the manufacturer, and a mechanic performing and documenting an annual inspection of all fleet vehicles.
- You will need to consider what disciplinary actions will be taken in response to preventable accidents and traffic violations. Make sure that your policy clearly establishes the consequences for each type of infraction and for subsequent infractions within a set period of time.
- Establish an incentive program to recognize and reward employees that have avoided accidents and traffic violations.
- Reinforce what you’ve already established by continuing to provide your employees with refresher courses on driver safety.
- Take steps to ensure that all employees are obeying traffic laws and highway safety regulations. Employees that have been driving for an extended period of time often take shortcuts. Enforce consequences so that employees know this isn’t acceptable behavior.
Aside from the above 10-step program, the booklet further provides employers with examples of real life successful safety programs; a worksheet to calculate a businesses’ losses from crashes; information on a multitude of traffic safety issues that could possibly need addressing, such as aggressive, distracted, drowsy, and impaired driving; and a resource listing.