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Reduce work-related vehicle accidents with a driver safety program
BBB offers tips to keep employees safe and accountable when driving for your company
February 11, 2014

No matter what business you’re in, you very likely require your employees to drive on company time. If your business delivers a product or your employees travel to perform a service, it pays to be careful. Travel-related accidents are a frequent source of serious workplace injury.

According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than two out of every five fatal work injuries in 2012 resulted from transportation incidents in 2012. It’s not just a matter of safety. Accidents can have a big impact on the bottom line.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity. The average crash costs an employer $16,500. If a worker has a crash on the job that results in an injury, it can cost the employer $74,000. If there is a fatality, costs can exceed $500,000.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), along with the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) and the NHTSA have produced a set of guidelines for employers to reduce motor vehicle crashes.

One way to reduce the chance of accidents is to implement a safe driving program for your employees. OSHA’s recommended program includes the following steps:

Get senior management commitment and employee involvement. Senior management can provide leadership, set policies and allocate resources to create a safe driving culture. Actively encouraging employee participation will help the effort succeed.

Have a written set of policies and procedures. Create enforceable traffic safety policies and communicate them to all employees. Offer incentives for following the rules and point out consequences of breaking them.

Create driver contracts. Draw up a contract for employees who drive for work purposes to ensure they understand company policies regarding traffic safety, driver performance, vehicle maintenance and reporting moving violations.

Check driving records. Employees who drive for work purposes should have good driving records. Those with poor driving records are more likely to cause problems in the future. Set a definite number of violations an employee can have and still be able to drive for work.

Set up a policy for crash reporting and investigations. An employee should report all crashes, regardless of severity. The policy should clearly define what a driver’s responsibilities are following a crash. Crashes should be reviewed to determine their cause and whether they were preventable.

Select a safe vehicle and maintain it. Consider safety features when selecting a company vehicle. Maintain it properly and inspect it on a routine basis.

Set up a system for disciplinary action. Determine how your company will respond in case of a moving violation or preventable crash. For example, some companies have a system that assigns points for moving violations, with progressive discipline if the driver develops a pattern of violations and/or preventable crashes.  

Set up a reward program. One way to encourage safe driving behaviors is to give employees an incentive or special reward. You could offer monetary rewards, give special privileges or recognize them in a program or event.

Periodically train employees and communicate safe driving reminders. Thesecan benefit even experienced drivers who may have become complacent.

Meet regulatory requirements. Make sure your company follows required local, state and federal highway safety regulations.