Now, why would you be overly concerned about your employees’ safe driving habits? They work for you, and you pay them wages, what they do outside your company premises, including driving, is their outlook, period.
You have to be bothered because crashes involving employees have far-reaching effects on you and your company. It has been estimated that in vehicle crashes alone, employers dish out a whopping $60 billion annually for medical care, hiring car or motorcycle accident attorney, property damage, if the vehicle belongs to the company, and lost productivity.
Just to give an idea, an employee involved in an on-the-job crash costs the company around $74,000. If death occurs, this cost can exceed $500,000. Off-the-job crashes also prove heavy on the employer’s pocket.
If US states road crash statistics are anything to go by, vehicle crashes take over 37,000 lives and injure or disable 2.35 million people, annually. This cost the US $230.6 billion per year. Most of these accidents involve employees commuting to and from work, so you can well imagine how badly such crashes can hit a company’s bottom line.
Driver safety program…a must
Instituting a driver safety program in the company is important. It will not only reduce accident risks but will also protect your company’s bottom line.
This it does by…
…changing the employees’ attitude towards driving.
…improving their traffic sense and road etiquettes.
…increasing their driving skills to make them safe drivers.
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) provides guidelines for the improvement of traffic safety performance that helps minimize the risk of motor vehicle accidents. This can be easily implemented by employers.
Things an employer needs to do to minimize employees’ motor vehicle accidents
- Check driving history of employees
While recruiting employees, generally their employment history is checked. In a similar fashion, check their driving history too by making them fill an annual report. If anyone of them has a moving violation listed on the report, view it seriously.
Driving above the speed limit is a serious offense for which you must have zero tolerance. Some companies, don’t hire employees with more than three moving violations within two years. For those already employed, refresher training in driving is provided to curb this tendency.
- NETS 10-step program
As mentioned before, this program is a comprehensive motor vehicle safety program, given in the ‘Traffic Safety Primer: A Guidebook for Employers’. Just to give an idea of its efficacy, a major US insurance company was able to bring down preventable crashes by 53 percent and increased the number of driving miles by 19 percent. The company was also able to cut down motor vehicle loss costs by 40 percent.
- Inculcate safe driving habits in employees
As an employer, you need to ensure that employees imbibe safe driving habits. The following are certain tips culled from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) on safe driving:
○ Have adequate rest, before hitting the road.
○ Don’t take medication that makes you drowsy, before taking the wheel.
○ Always use seat belts while traveling, both as a driver and passenger.
○ If commuting long distances, start at a realistic time for reaching the destination. Keep some buffer time to prevent rushing and speeding on the road to reach in time.
○ Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, since it impairs judgment and leads to crashes.
○ Avoid distractions while driving, such as mobile phones, radios, looking away from the road, etc.
○ Remain alert for situations that may crop up suddenly on the road to be able to react quickly.
○ Never race or get provoked to drive aggressively. Always keep your cool.
○ Give way to other traffic and be courteous to other drivers.
○ During interstate travel, take a break every two hours. During this, exit the vehicle, stretch out, walk around and get refreshed.
○ Familiarize yourself with the route map and directions, before setting out for a new location. Use Google maps for directions, wherever possible.
If you inculcate good driving habits in employees, the accident rates are bound to drop drastically. A company in Michigan implemented a corporate seat belt program that showed a 20 percent jump in its use, from 74 percent to 94 percent, in two years, thereby bringing down the instances of injuries and fatalities.