Does your business or organization have a safe driving program? If not, it's certainly worth considering.
Whether your company uses a large number of vehicles or reimburses employees for the use of a private motor vehicle for company business, creating a comprehensive safe driving policy can help:
• save time and money
• lower health and insurance premium rates
• reduce property and vehicle damage
• lessen the number of traffic violations
• minimize risk of injury and employee downtime
Employer safe driving programs make sense for any business — whether or not employees operate motor vehicles for your company. You don't want to ignore an issue that can have serious impacts on your employees and company budget.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity. They drive up the cost of benefits such as workers' compensation, Social Security, and private health and disability insurance. An average crash costs an employer approximately $16,500. When a worker has an on-the-job crash that results in an injury, the average cost to an employer is $74,000. Costs can exceed $500,000 if a fatality is involved. Off-the-job crashes are costly to employers as well.
Here are some tips to help get your workplace safe driving program started:
• Create and design a written policy and make sure it complies with all state and federal laws. Communicate the policy to all employees who drive for your business and ensure it's understood and accepted. Perhaps have employees sign a safe driving agreement, so that your management team and employees know what is expected and required.
• Management needs to lead by example and encourage safe driving at all times. Be a safe driver yourself and set a positive example.
• Run background checks to ensure workers have a valid driver's license, clean driving record and specific license required for the type of vehicle to be driven.
• Develop a drug testing policy that includes random and post-accident testing. Forbid drug and alcohol use at your place of business and while operating a vehicle.
• Provide safe driver training to all employees on a regular and ongoing basis and record all training in company files.
• Keep accurate records for all employees in personnel files, especially those that involve accidents, injuries and safety rule violations.
• Conduct program reviews on a regular basis and recheck the motor vehicle records of the employees that drive for your company.
• Create a safe driving award or incentive program for employees who drive safely.
Your company can assume the costs and be liable for damages whether an accident occurs on company time or not. A safe driving program has many benefits. Some insurance companies even offer a discount if all drivers on a policy complete a state certified driver safety course. When your company implements safe driving practices and policies, it's good for you and your employees.
To learn more on safe driving policies and tips, here are some resources:
Network of Employers for Traffic Safety: www.trafficsafety.org
Occupational Safety and Health Administration: www.osha.gov
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: www.nhtsa.dot.gov
Business Defensive Driving: www.businessdefensivedriving.com