National Safety Month: Recommit to Driver Safety

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June marks National Safety Month and one safety aspect to consider is refocusing efforts on making sure that your fleet is practicing safe driving.

According to the National Safety Council, every seven seconds someone is injured in a car crash and every 15 minutes someone is killed in one. Workplace policies and employee education can help protect your employees, your organization and your community from unsafe driving.

Because driving is so commonplace, commuting from the office to jobsites can be taken for granted but it is important to give driving your full attention each and every time.

Factors like fatigue, distracted driving and inclement weather all increase workplace driving risks. While as an employer you can’t control everything related to roadway conditions, you can promote safe driving behaviors by setting and enforcing safe driving policies. Following the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) 10 Step Program to Minimize Crash Risk can help employers minimize the risk of vehicle crashes. Below are the steps:

1. Senior Management Commitment & Employee Involvement – Like any other safety policy, it must be enforced from the top down, so assign a key member of the management team the responsibility and authority to set and enforce a comprehensive driver safety policy.

2. Written Policies and Procedures – Having a clear, comprehensive and enforceable set of traffic safety policies is the cornerstone to an effective driver safety program. Policies should include mandatory seat belt usage and the prohibition of consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs during working hours.

3. Driver Agreements – Establish a contract with all employees who drive for work purposes, whether they drive assigned company vehicles or drive their personal vehicles. By signing an agreement, the driver acknowledges awareness and understanding of the organization’s traffic safety policies, procedures, and expectations regarding driver performance, vehicle maintenance and reporting of moving violations.

4. Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks – Take the time to check the driving records of the employees who drive for work purposes. Screen out those with poor driving records as they are more likely to have accidents in the future. Periodically check the MVR to ensure they still have a good driving record. Clearly define the number of violations an employee can have before losing the privilege of driving for work, and provide training where indicated.

5. Crash Reporting and Investigation – When any crash occurs, it should be reported to the employee’s supervisor as soon as possible after the incident, regardless of its severity. All crashes should be reviewed to determine their cause and whether the incident was preventable. Understanding why the crash happened allows for training to prevent it from happening again.

6. Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection – Properly maintaining and routinely inspecting company vehicles is an important part of mitigating crashes and related losses. Provide company vehicles that offer the highest possible levels of occupant protection.

7. Disciplinary Action System – Create a strategy for your course of action after a violation or “preventable” crash. The system should provide for progressive discipline if a driver begins to develop a pattern of repeated traffic violations and/or preventable crashes. The system should describe what specific action(s) will be taken if a driver accumulates a certain number of violations or preventable crashes in any pre-defined period.

8. Reward/Incentive Program – To make safe driving an integral part of your company culture, reward your employees for practicing safe driving. These programs usually include recognition, monetary rewards, or incentives to increase participation in safe driving behaviors.  

9. Driver Training/Communication – Continuous driver training should be provided. Even experienced drivers can benefit from periodic reminders of safe driving practices

10. Regulatory Compliance – Follow all highway safety regulations. Be aware of what local, state or federal regulations govern your vehicles and/or drivers.

Access all the Safety Month training resources.

Jill Odom

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