Does your organization have a Safe Driving Policy? It’s a good idea. Vehicle-related accidents account for 40% of on-the-job deaths.
Last month, we had a disturbing call from one of our EAP client companies – one that happens all too often. One of the organization’s staff members was killed while driving on business. Co-workers felt devastated about losing a beloved colleague, and our client asked if we could send a counselor in to deal with the trauma of loss.
These calls occur with a frequency that might lead one to think that these accidents are inevitable, a statistical certainty. And I’m betting that most of us doubt that there is much our organizations can do to prevent this sort of tragedy. Unless your organization has a large fleet of drivers, you probably haven’t even considered a safe driving policy.
However, I recently came across a few startling facts that suggest that there is something we can do.
First: Vehicle-related fatalities are the single largest cause of occupational deaths, representing more than 40 percent of all work deaths.
Second: A typical driver has a one in 15 chance of getting in a vehicle collision each year. Even a small organization – one with only ten or twenty people driving for business – has strong likelihood of having an employee injured in an auto accident.
Finally, statistics from OSHA and the National Safety Council demonstrate that organizations that introduce a safe driving program can reduce auto accidents by as much as 45 percent.
The program they suggest starts with a strong policy, and includes a safe driving training component and a review of employee driving performance.
The policy should at least include:
- Mandatory seat belt use.
- Prohibiting hand held cell phone use while driving on company business
- Driving with the headlights on
- A requirement to maintain a safe driving record
There are a number of options regarding the training component. There are thousands of driver training vendors that deliver local programs. And the National Safety Council offers a low cost online training program that is very reasonably priced.
It also makes sense to check whether workers assigned to drive on the job have a valid driver’s license and one that is appropriate for the type of vehicle to be driven. And it’s always is a good idea to do background checks of prospective employees’ driving records.
Safe driving is not just good for you and your employees: it’s good for the employees families, friends, and colleagues, as well as for the public at large. As long as we keep getting sad calls like the one we got last week, this is a drum we’ll keep beating.
Here are some additional safe driving resources:
OSHA – Motor vehicle safety
NIOSH: Work-related Roadway Crashes – Prevention Strategies for Employers
Where the rubber meets the road: Risk management for employees who drive
Network of Employers for Traffic Safety