The Importance of Safe Driving Programs
According to OSHA, somebody is injured every 10 seconds in a motor vehicle crash and every 12 minutes, there is a crash-related death. For employers, it does not matter if your employees commute to and from work, use their own cars in the course of the employment, or drive company cars, these are alarming statistics.
Accidents can be costly for businesses. Not only can it have a financial aspect, but it impacts employees as well. Employees are an important and vital part of your business and Safe Driving Programs help protect them by creating a culture of safety and awareness.
A culture of safety is one where safety is emphasized. By learning how to drive safely and creating a safety reward program, you help your employers learn how to be safer behind the wheel, and be encouraged to do so.
Written Safety Procedures
Start off your Safe Driving Program by creating written safety procedures and policies. It should clearly communicate your company’s intent to reduce motor vehicle accidents. Your Safe Driving Program should include the following policies and procedures:
· Alcohol and Drug Use Policy (Zero-tolerance) – Prohibit the use of illegal drugs and alcohol during duty hours, including when on-call or on break, both on and off the premises.
· Seat Belt Use policy – While most states have seat belt laws, stating that seat belts must be worn at all times is still a vital part of the Safe Driving Program.
· Secure Materials – Unsecured tools, supplies, and equipment are hazards. All equipment and tools must be secured.
· Distracted Driving - Zero tolerance for any accidents or incidents stemming from an employee who was driving while distracted, especially cell phone use.
· Aggressive Driving – Aggressive driving includes tailgating, speeding, running red lights or stop lights, passing on the right, changing lanes without signaling, etc. All of these increase the chances of an accident greatly. Training employers to not engage in this type of driving, as well as being aware of how to be safe when other drivers are driving aggressively are important.
· Fatigued Driving – Driving while tired or fatigued is just as dangerous as driving while fatigued. Falling asleep at the wheel is a concern. Including training and information on how to avoid this.
· Motor Vehicle Records – List what is an acceptable driving record is for employment, requirements for MVR checks prior to being hired and annual driving record checks.
· Accident Reporting/Investigation – All accidents and incidents involving vehicle should be reported as soon as possible and investigated by the company. Include the steps employees should take in the event of an incident as well as the steps that management will take during the investigation. The idea behind the investigation was to determine the cause of the accident and what could have been done to prevent it. This information is helpful for future training.
· Rewards and Incentives – Consider creating a safety reward/incentive program to reward drivers for being safe drivers.
· Disciplinary Action – Clearly list the penalties and actions taken for non-compliance with the policies and procedures of the Safe Driving Program. Penalties usually range from a written notice in the file to termination of employment for repeat violations.
· Safe Driving Program Agreement – The Safe Driving Program is a contract between the employee and the company. Every employee must receive a copy and there needs to be a signature page for them to sign to agree to the term of the Safe Driving Program Contract. If they have not signed, and a copy is not in their employee file, they should not be allowed to drive.
In addition to the above elements for the Safe Driving Program, it is important to have a Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection policy. Routine maintenance of all vehicles should be documented and frequent inspections to spot any potential problems. This not only helps ensure that your fleet is in good working order, but any potential safety issues can be spotted early.